There are a lot of fears and worries that can surface when going through a divorce. For parents, the top concerns usually focus on the children - and how the noncustodial parent is going to connect post-divorce. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, 83 percent of noncustodial parents are dads, but active involvement in the child's life correlated to better performance in schools, healthier behavior and reduced disciplinary problems.
The good news is that whether you live across town or have to be halfway around the world for a job, it is possible to stay in contact . Here are six tips to help:
- Use technology such as Skype, text or social media to show your child your world and show you are staying interested in theirs. Additionally, try to send messages at different times throughout the week. This lets your child know you are thinking about him or her all the time.
- Have a regular time to talk, but be flexible around school and other activities. Children are often unwilling to tell their parents that something is not working, so it's important that you check in to see if the time still works, or if adjustments need to be made.
- Send letters or postcards each week with positive messages. These handwritten cards give your child something to hold on to when you are not around.
- Know your child's interests. Research a topic and connect with your child through a hobby or passion.
- Spend quality time with your child when you do see them. Have fun things to do, but also give your child a chance to slow down with you. Kids need to see you be boring.
- Ask your child what he or she likes. What are the preferences when it comes to staying in touch? As children get older, these things might change, so do a regular check. Discuss your expectations. For example, you might say that you do not expect an immediate reply when you text. You are simply checking in.
Do what you can to keep in contact
When you are with your child, focus on quality time. Put your guilt or self-blame aside when you are together. Keep in mind, though, that you may run into issues - regardless of the effort you are putting in. If you are running into issues connecting with your child, due to your ex - or if you need a modification to an existing arrangement - know that help is often available by speaking with a family law attorney.