The quality of the relationships you have is largely a reflection of what you invest. The more time you spend with people and the more you connect with them during that time, the deeper the bond between you.
Given that shared custody immediately results in a reduction in how much time you spend with your kids, you probably think it’s inevitable that joint custody will reduce your bond or connection with the kids.
Less time with your children can make it a little more difficult to maintain a connection, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When going through a divorce, parents can strengthen the relationship that they have with their children.
Quality is more important than quantity
Although you may not get to spend every weeknight with your children anymore, you can still be there when it matters the most. Showing up to special events, holidays and birthdays can let children know how much you prioritize their happiness.
Additionally, you can make sure to spend more time interacting with your children than you might if you were constantly together. You don’t have to plan special events for every weekend that you have with the kids, but you should make a point of doing things together with them, whether it’s taking a short road trip or playing board games together after dinner.
Parenting on your own will require more mental investment
Children often develop a strong connection with the parent who serves as the primary caregiver. Knowing their needs and preferences and pursuing open communication with the children is often a big part of being a primary caregiver.
After a divorce, you no longer get to depend on your ex to do that emotional work for you. You will have to involve yourself more directly in the daily experiences your children have, which can make you a more emotionally connected and accessible parent.
You can ask for help if you need support
Adjusting to more responsibility and less time with the children often requires changes in how you approach parenting. Support groups, counselors and even parental education courses are all valuable resources that can help divorcing parents learn the skills necessary to navigate this new parenting system.
Your approach to shared custody and to the divorce itself will influence the relationship that you have with your children in the immediate future and as they continue to grow. The right attitude and focus can benefit everyone in your family.