In the past, if a couple with children split up, the children almost always stayed with their mother. Fathers seldom saw their children and were often not very active or involved. Today, families exist in countless different arrangements and forms. Children splitting their time between two houses is now a new norm. How can a parent who shares their child with an ex make the most of the time he or she has? There is no magic way to be the perfect part-time parent but there are some things you can do to help you be the best mom or dad possible.
Think Quality Over Quantity
Many couples stay in an unhappy marriage because they are concerned about their children. It is extremely difficult for mothers and fathers who have been in their children’s’ lives since the beginning to imagine going a weekend without them. Some parents worry that their child will become distant or feel unloved. Co-parenting does not have to be a negative situation for anyone. One step you can take is to change your thinking. While it is true that you will see your child for a lesser amount of time, this does not mean your relationship with him or her needs to suffer. Use the time you have with your child to do something special and meaningful. Take this one-on-one time with your child to get to know them better. You may find that having less time with your child makes it easier to prioritize what really matters.
Embrace Structure and Predictability
After a divorce, many things change for children. They may be living in a new house, going to a new school, and seeing their parents separately for the first time in their lives. This change is difficult on children but there are things you can do to make the transition smoother. Create a schedule with your ex and stick to it. This will help children adapt to living in two different homes. If possible, sync your routine with your ex’s routine. For example, if one household expects homework to be done before dinner the same rule should apply in the other house. Try to send children to bed at the same time every night and wake them at the same time each morning.
There are numerous forms of communication that parents can use to stay in touch with their children. If the children are older and their own phone, parents can call or text to keep in touch with children. Younger children can be put on the phone with help from an adult. Social media can be an avenue for parents to communicate with their children while they are with the other parent. Through the internet and some gaming systems, a parent can even play a game with their child while they are in two different houses.
If you are going through a divorce and you have concerns about your rights as a co-parent, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 for a confidential consultation today.