February 25, 2010

Restore Connections with Your Kids after Divorce

Posted in Divorce tagged at 6:25 pm by demetriagraves

By definition, divorce is a time for disconnect. Many people may feel alone, rejected and insecure in the months following a divorce. Often parents are concerned that their children may also be experiencing similar feelings. Thus most parents feel that it’s important to strengthen the bond with their kids during this transitional time, regardless of whether they are living apart, or not.

Kids want to know they are still loved, valued and cared about. Show them, tell them and keep in close communication with them – during the happy times and the sad ones. They need to know they have a safe place to turn, a shoulder to cry on and a non-judgmental ear when they need it. If divorce has been tough on you – remember it may have been even tougher on them – whether they confide that to you or not.

Here are five important ways to reinforce your connection with the children you love.

1. Connect through notes:

If you’re living together, slip a note in your child’s lunch box or notebook every few days. A quick joke, cartoon, reminder about a special event ahead or just a warm “I Love You!” will let them know they’re on your mind and in your heart. If you’re not spending time together, send an email note or a quick text message to convey that you’re thinking about them.

2. Connect through idle chats:

Take advantage of idle moments here and there when you’re together with your child. Driving in the car is a great time to ask questions, share your feelings, and be empathic about their comments. When you’re helping them with homework, cooking meals together or doing other chores you can strike up a conversation as well. Just be careful not to turn these communications into lectures. You’re there to listen, understand and acknowledge. If you judge or condemn, you’ll close the door to hearing any more.

3. Connect through bedtime routine:

It’s always wise to create a before bedtime routine with your children that integrates warm connection. Spend time reading books on changing themes, talk about your own childhood memories and challenges. Find out about their day, get them to tell you what happened, describing the events of their day in detail. Bedtime routines help you both unwind and appreciate one another.

4. Connect through a new project:

After divorce many things change in a child’s life. It’s a good opportunity to create connection through new projects that take on special meaning. Whether it’s a multi-day puzzle, a plastic model you complete together, new shelves or other decorating project in their bedroom, this shared time is a wonderful time to talk, listen to music and make a stress-free connection.

5. Connect through special dates:

Every now and then create a special outing alone with just one of your children. Take them to lunch, the zoo, a big-city shopping trip, a sports game or a wonderful movie. Children cherish alone time with you and the opportunity to catch up with one another without competition from siblings. Prepare this “date” in advance so you both have something to look forward to. End the date with a token gift as a keepsake “reminder” of your time together.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to reinforce your connection with your children, especially as you all transition through and after a divorce. It’s the sincerity of your effort, not the money you spend, that impacts their lives and helps them to feel safe, loved and secure despite the changes and challenges that may be created by a divorce.

Connection time will also heighten your awareness about your children’s attitudes, moods and feelings so you can address potential problems early-on. More communication, not less is always the answer. Create the time to keep connected with your kids. You won’t regret it!

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