5 Ways to Bond with your Kids after Divorce
As mentioned in my previous articles, I always encourage parents to adopt a cooperative approach in raising their kids especially after divorce to provide healthy and secure environment at home, so they can live normally. Therefore, I will be explaining all the factors that can help parents to lower negative effects of divorce on their kids Having worked as a marriage educator for many years, I have trained many couples on managing communication. As part of effective parenting practices, it is essential to establish an open communication in which parents listen respectfully, acknowledge their children’s feelings and stay connected. Family routines such as meals, work and play practices strengthen the structure that provides stability, fosters communication and reinforces expectations and strengthen the bonds between parents and children. The quality of parent child relationships is an important protective factor that predicts the long –term impact of divorce on children. There are many ways that parents can strengthen their relationships with their children. Among these are quality parenting practices including:
- Committing to one-on one time with each child, affirming their strengths
- Reinforcing positive behaviors,
- Listening without judgement,
- Accepting ambivalent feelings, reflecting understanding, connecting words to feelings
- Allowing silence and giving children space to not talk. All of these help children and parents alike to understand each other and deepen their communication.
It is vital for parents to establish new family rituals and routines which is another way to strengthen the bonds between parents and children. However, parents should avoid rushing into new relationships. While it is understandable that divorcing parents long to have a loving new partner, entering such relationships too quickly can come at great cost to their children. The issues are compounded when the new partner also has children. Many children express an enormous sense of loss, and they may fear being replaced when their parent is suddenly focused on a new love. It is also paramount that parents understand their children’s emotions by helping them learn to identify and name their feelings. Parents are better able to understand their children’s emotions when they make time for one to one interaction, listen empathetically, notice children’s non-verbal signals and reflect their own understanding of what their children are feeling. Children need time to share their hidden feelings, and they are most likely to do so if they believe their parents will listen to them openly and without judgement. Among these are;
- Re-framing their relationship into a respectful, business- like partnership for parenting.
- Set clear boundaries and ground rules for interaction that include respecting the child’s right to a healthy relationship with both parents (when it is safe to do so).
- Establishing and abiding by an agenda for all meetings to discuss children and other matters relating to the divorce, not using the children as messengers or informants, and keep children’s transition between parents safe and respectful.
- Follow a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a child custody plan included in a marital separation agreement or final decree of divorce. ... Depending upon the jurisdiction, separated parents may also voluntarily agree upon a parenting plan without ever going to court.
Finally, I want to conclude that parents are the steering wheel of the divorce process and there are many techniques that parents can use to protect their children from the toxic of intense conflict. And, Co-parenting protects children and will benefit them and ultimately the parenting style they inherit and shape them as adults’ parents.