Depending on your situation and the custody agreement you work out in court, you may be seeing less of your kids after you divorce than you used to. That doesn’t mean you can’t stay involved in your kids’ lives and continue to be an important parent figure to them. These tips will help you continue to influence your kids for the better, whether it is months or years after your divorce.
Love is Spelled T-I-M-E
Your kids don’t want expensive gifts or fancy vacations. They want you. They want to know that you care about them, about who they are, and that you are willing to spend your time on them. You can spend time with your kids in many ways. One simple yet profound way to support your children is to attend all of their extracurricular activities, including sporting events such as games and meets, plays or other performances, and other school or church related events they take part in. Seeing your face in the crowd speaks volumes of love and support to your child. It may be necessary now and then to leave work early to make it to these types of events. This may prove difficult, but your children will remember, for years to come, that you loved and supported them.
Be Emotionally Available
It is important that you are available to your children, emotionally, physically, and financially. Emotional availability could come in the form of group counseling, or in some less formal way. Your kids will probably have the emotions they need to talk about. You should try your best to listen and be there for them when they are ready to talk.
Be Physically Available
Being available physically includes not moving away. When divorced parents move, they often see much less of their children, which makes sense. If you’re out of the state, how can you expect to see your kids during the week? This also means giving your kids hugs and other reassuring physical touch that can help in the healing process.
Be Financially Available
Being financially available may sound odd, but it is also important. If you have been assigned by the court to pay child support or alimony, pay it. Pay it every month, on time. You may feel that the judgment was unfair or not in your favor. You may feel that you can stick it to your ex by not paying, or by being late every month. If you do this, not only are you breaking the law, but you are inadvertently making your children suffer. Many divorced parents, especially women, find themselves worse off financially after a divorce. Withholding court-ordered payments could put financial stress on your ex, which will trickle down directly to your children.
No matter how things ended with your spouse, it’s important to remember that your children will always be your children, no matter what. You’ll be glad you took the time to be there for them.
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