A Divorced Dad's Guide to Strong Parent-Child Relationships

Your marriage or domestic partnership may be over, but you’ll always be your child’s father. Your top priorities should be ensuring the health and welfare of your child, and building a strong relationship with him or her. If your ex attempts to deny your visitation rights, or to emotionally alienate your child from you, talk to your child custody lawyer right away. Your attorney can help you enforce your parental rights, so that you can focus on your child’s needs.

Normalize your time with your child.

Divorce is incredibly stressful on kids. Many dads are tempted to make every visit exciting by planning trips to the movies or amusement parks, or by taking the kids on shopping sprees. But if you didn’t do these things every weekend during the marriage, don’t start now. Make special occasions exactly that—special. Right now, your child craves normalcy and attention.

Let your child open up.

A heart-to-heart conversation with your child will do far more for the relationship than weekend excursions to the toy store. Don’t pressure your child to talk, but do invite him or her to open up. Let your child know that he or she can always be honest with you about feelings regarding the divorce, or about any other problems in life. Then, follow through by listening attentively and asking non-judgmental, open-ended questions. Don’t rush to offer solutions—some problems, like the failed marriage, can’t be “fixed.” Instead, validate your child’s feelings. Say something like, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I appreciate that you’re willing to talk to me about it.” Never discuss the legal dispute with your child; it will only cause unnecessary anxiety and possibly cause the child to align with one parent over the other.

Have your child take ownership of the second bedroom.

Your child may feel a little awkward visiting you at a new home. Spend some time helping your child decorate his or her new room. Paint the walls together, hang up some posters, and stock the dresser with clothes so that your child doesn’t have to take a suitcase back and forth.

Fathers in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas aren’t always given equal consideration as parents. The child custody lawyers at Singer & Associates know that children need balanced time with both parents to encourage their healthy development. Call our law firm at (916) 922-5985, and we’ll get to work protecting your parental rights.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Singer & Associate Law Office, or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Categories: Tips for Fathers

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