Even the most equitable child custody agreements mean that, at least from time to time, you’ll have to be without your child. As such, you might feel that it’s more difficult to maintain a relationship than it would be if you were with him or her full time. If you’re concerned about your relationship with your child in this shared custody arrangement, check out the four tips below.
Tips on Parenting in a Shared Custody Situation
First and foremost, it’s important to make the most of the time that you have with your child. Be as present as possible when your child is around. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your job or act unrealistically when your child is present, but it does mean he or she should be your primary focus when you do have custody. This can involve taking the time to talk to him or her about his or her day, or setting time aside to spend time with each other.
Don’t Put the Child in the Middle
Always make sure that you keep your child out of the middle of any problems you have with his or her parent. Don’t make your child feel burdened by custody issues or financial problems. These are issues for you to work out with your child’s other parent, and if problems arise, with an alimony lawyer or counselor. Even if your child is the reason for the dispute, try to create a loving and safe environment that is as conflict-free as possible for his or her sake.
Try to make sure that you are consistent with your child. It can be attractive to be the ‘fun’ parent who doesn’t enforce rules or good behavior, but your child will eventually realize that you’re not engaging in meaningful parenting. Instead, try to make sure that you’re there to pick your child up on time and always available when you say that you will be. This goes much further than any one-off adventure in the long run.
Stay in Communication
Finally, try to keep the lines of communication open at all time. Let your child know that he or she can call you whenever it’s necessary, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to him or her when it’s appropriate. Don’t overstep your bounds, but make sure that your child knows that you always care and are always there.
Keeping a good relationship with your child when you have shared custody can be hard, but it’s entirely possible. Be present, be available, and make sure that you’re treating your time with your child as part of your relationship and not as a power move in your divorce. If you can put in the effort to connect, you’ll have a much easier time maintaining a strong relationship with your child no matter where he or she is located that day.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan