The upcoming Father’s Day celebrations provides an opportunity to discuss some of the tools we, as parents, can use to proactively build our relationship with our children. Divorce changes our roles as parents, but we can take steps to better ensure the change is positive.
- Communication. It is important to keep an open line of dialogue with your children. Let them know they can discuss anything with you and when they begin to talk, listen. This may include letting them know it is okay to feel sad that their family structure has changed and sharing that you, too, are feeling sad or frustrated. It is generally best to spare them the details, but showing some vulnerability can help build trust and encourage them to do the same.
- Authority. Although it may be tempting to stand out as the “fun” parent in the relationship, it is wise to remain a parental figure. Have boundaries, do not let the children get away with inappropriate or disrespectful behavior.
- Quality. Even if the quantity of time together is less than you would like, focus on the quality of time. The act of simply putting down your phone and focusing on your children while playing at a local park or going for a walk can do far more for your relationship then having the bulk of time with the children or an extravagant trip.
Arguably, the most important step towards a healthy and positive relationship with our children is a favorable child custody agreement. Parents can work to achieve this goal, but it is wise to have legal counsel on your side. An attorney experienced in these matters can better ensure a fair agreement.