Divorce affects the relationship built up over time, from family to mutual friends. A divorcing couple is splitting up not just their marriage, but also the relationships they formed during the union. The most significant disruption, however, is the relationship between parent and child.
Divorce lawyers and mediators always stress the importance of maintaining the relationship between parent and child during and after the divorce process in Singapore. The quality of the relationship protects the child from the negative long-term impacts of the divorce. Unfortunately, most high conflict divorces fail to preserve the relationship between parents and children, resulting in deep scars for the children of divorce.
What can you do, as a parent, to renew the bonds with your children after divorce? Here are some tips you can consider.
1. Commit your time
There are a million and one things that you need to do as a single parent, even if your child does not stay with you after divorce. Nonetheless, place the time spent with your child as the top priority. Your child may have doubts, questions, and anger towards you, so the time spent with them talking through all these helps them to cope with the changes. It also allows you to create positive and fun memories with your children.
2. Listen and accept their feelings
Your children are going to have ambivalent feelings towards you and your ex-spouse. It is natural. Listen to your children without judgement when they speak to you about their feelings. Accept that they may not want to talk to you but keep on showing them through your actions that you love and respect them. If your children refuse to speak with you, send them text messages, hand-written cards or voice messages to remind them that you love them.
3. Establish new family rituals and routines
Children strive for routines and love family rituals. The divorce disrupts the regular family rituals and habits, and in your children’s eyes, things are never quite the same after that. As a parent, it is vital to establish new family rituals and routines so that your children find new excitement and pleasure in them. It also gives them a sense of belonging in the new family unit.
4. Take charge of your time with your children
Stay firm when you are scheduling activities and visiting times with your children. In Singapore, it is common for parents to have co-parenting rights, but the children will stay with one parent, usually the mother. If you are the mum, ensure that your ex-spouse brings the children back on time. If you are the dad, ensure that your visitation time is protected.
5. Do not badmouth your ex-spouse
It is tempting to badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children, especially if the divorce proceedings were highly conflicted. When you badmouth your ex-spouse, you are telling your children that you do not respect their other parent. In the long run, they may resent you or your ex-spouse, leading to undesirable behaviours.