For separating adults, divorce can bring stress and strong emotions. For children, such a confusing time may leave them quiet and concerned. The most beneficial action divorced parents can take is to provide comfort and open arms to their children.
When custody is decided and visitation rights are established, continuing to build a strong bond with your child may prove to be difficult. Your child may be upset, and many parents do not understand how to build trust and confidence in the relationship between themselves and their child. Every child's reaction to divorce is unique, but your continued support is the most important element to a successful relationship after separation.
Elements to ensure positive relationships
Below are a few tips for developing and maintaing a strong relationship with your child after divorce:
- Listen: Listening to and engaging with your children by asking questions, gauging interest in their favorite hobbies, and talking about their likes and dislikes displays your care about them. When children are young, they are in the process of identifying who they are. When you give your child the floor to discuss their interests, you may learn more about them-and you may find more similarities between you and your child than you thought existed.
- Lower technology use: With the implementation of new technology, finding time to speak with your children between screen contact can prove to be surprisingly difficult. Putting technology distractions away like your phone and computer can allow you to focus on your child when you are together, and it is incredibly beneficial in demonstrating that your child has your undivided attention.
- Do not talk bad about your ex-spouse: Children pick up on everything, so providing the opportunity for your child to say unflattering things regarding your ex-spouse may give way to bad behavior. Maintaining level ground with your former spouse avoids the presence of animosity and may allow your child to assume that only collaboration exists in your split.
- Answer questions: Though you may not wish to share every detail of your separation with your child, try to answer any questions he or she may have. When a child asks a question, he or she is relying on you for information. Take this gesture as an opportunity to maintain open communication lines. Be as honest and open with your child as possible to build continued trust with him or her.
The key to a positive relationship with your child after a divorce is communication. Divorce may prove devastating for you, but your child may be experiencing a similar heartache. Strenuous custody schedules and inconsistency in drop-offs and pick-ups takes a toll on a child's mind clock. By becoming the consistency your child needs, you are able to offer the continuation of a positive relationship.