You finalized your divorce six months ago, and you cannot help but feel like the whole experience strained your relationship with your child. Sure, the divorce was tough on everyone, and there is still much to figure out as you and your former spouse move forward with a new co-parenting relationship. But your family law attorney told you that kids suffer the most from a divorce. They are the ones stuck in the middle, and it is easy for their young minds to believe that they are at fault for what happened to Mom and Dad’s relationship.
What happened is definitely not your child’s fault, and you know that better than anyone. But the road to helping them realize that while at the same time improving your relationship with them post-divorce can be challenging if you do not know where to start.
Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction with your child:
5 Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your Child After Divorce
Facilitate a meaningful and loving relationship between the other parent and your children
Unless it is unsafe to do so, every child should feel like they have access to both of their parents. Furthermore, it is absolutely critical that you make certain your kids feel like they can be open with you about the relationship they are having with their other parent. Talk positively about the other parent and celebrate the good times they are having. If your child asks you to do something, always say, “Let me discuss that with your mother or father.” Give the appearance of a united front, and never undermine the other parent.
Listen as much as possible
Your child will likely have plenty of questions after a divorce. They may even cry, get angry, and struggle to find the right words to explain their feelings. This is natural. As a parent, it is essential to be there and stay consistent and dedicated. As you listen to them express their feelings, validate what they are saying, respond age-appropriately, and ask open-ended questions in return. This can help them talk more and know you are receptive to it.
Show your child that change is OK
Often, there is an awkward phase before you, your former partner, and your child settle into a new routine after divorce. This is very normal and should be expected. If you can talk about this awkwardness openly — especially with your kids — it may help define what the new routine is more quickly. Regardless, focus on clear and open communication where the children are always top of mind with every decision. Be quick to provide grace, and remember your kids are watching.
It is easy for parents to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially after divorce. As a result, your child can often feel lonely and seek out ways to steer your attention back to them. Recognize these opportunities and embrace them to the fullest. If your child is younger, take them to the park, build a castle out of building blocks, or read them their favorite book at bedtime. If your child is older, attend their football games or dance recitals. Be involved with their activities and create opportunities to spend meaningful time together. Also, pay attention to what interests your child and suggest activities or outings that develop a sense of normalcy. This will strengthen and maintain your relationship while drawing you closer together.
It is important to spend quality time with your kids after divorce, and you cannot do that if you or they are distracted by cell phones, video games, social media, etc. A perfect example is when parents take their kids out to dinner but are too busy answering emails on their phones or returning text messages. Put the devices down and spend quality time together. If you want to improve your relationship with your child after divorce, they need to feel like the center of your universe at all times.
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If divorce is the answer, you need an advisor to guide you through each stage and help you deal with the fears that naturally come with that. We work diligently to achieve a result that ensures you receive what you are entitled to as you move forward onto the next stage of your life. The Nelson Law Group brings two decades of family law experience to every case.
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