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10 Tips on Sharing Time With Your Children

  • Separation and divorce means a new living situation and a new set of rules for everyone. Give yourself and your children a fair chance to adjust. Change doesn't happen overnight.
  • Kids need to know what to expect. Where will I be this weekend? Who will pick me up from soccer? Get a calendar, and mark down what the children will be doing each day, and post it in a prominent place in the house.
  • Be flexible. There will be a time when you need a favor, too.
  • Be dependable. Your children count on you following through with your promises to spend time with them.
  • Communicate with your ex-spouse, and allow him or her to be involved in extra-curricular or social activities too. If the child has a birthday invitation during the other parent's time, pass along the invitation to the other spouse promptly.
  • Don't schedule activities during time the child will be with the other parent without discussing and agreeing upon the activity first.
  • Don't make unkind remarks about the other parent in the child's presence. Your children love both of you, and you hurt your child when you speak poorly of the other parent.
  • Don't make the children your messengers. If you have news to deliver, parenting time to schedule, or a check to drop off, do it yourself. Don't put your children in the middle.
  • The children's needs will change over time. Be prepared to change with them, and to take their developmental needs and added maturity into account when reassessing your parenting plans.
  • Remember that the children are your children for the rest of your life, not just until they are 18. There's a lifetime of family activities that you'll want to attend, and your ex will want to attend, too. Cultivate a relationship with your ex—the child's other parent—such that you can be comfortable sitting in the same room for events like class plays, graduations or weddings.
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