In every Oklahoma divorce involving children, the parties will have to come to an arrangement regarding child custody. In some cases, the parties will be able to reach an agreement on their own. In others, the court will review the evidence in the case to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the couple’s children.
Either way, Oklahoma child custody cases can be very contentious. After all, both parents love their children dearly, and both want to maximize the time they spend with their kids. However, the reality of divorce is that one parent will often leave the child custody process disappointed and frustrated with the outcome.
If you have recently gone through a divorce and are finding yourself in this situation, don’t despair. Even though you may not have gotten the child custody arrangement you wanted, there are still a lot of things you can do to foster meaningful relationships with your children in the limited amount of time you have together.
The most important thing is to keep your children out of whatever conflicts you might have with your ex-spouse.Divorce is stressful for kids – often much more so than they let on – and you don’t want to do anything to magnify the problems they are already facing. Instead, find ways to make the best of the time you have together and to stay connected even when you are apart. Try starting with these helpful tips:
- Don’t move if you don’t have to: It can be tempting try and start over in a new town after your divorce is finalized. However, the closer you are to your children geographically, the easier it will be for you stay involved in their lives.
- Focus on “real life”: Of course, every visit with your kids is special. But, visits shouldn’t feel like vacations. Instead of making every visit a weekend of fun, also find time for more “everyday” activities like picking the kids up from school, supervising homework or doing projects around the house. In addition, be sure to enforce the rules that you and your spouse have agreed on. Children need boundaries, and you want them to see you as a parent, not as a friend.
- Stay in close contact: Divorce is hard on children, but a lot of them don’t talk about it out of fear they might upset their parents. Make a point to talk with your kids about their emotions. On days when you can’t see your kids in person, try to stay in touch over the phone or via email or social media.
- Be interested in their interests: More than anything, your kids want you to back them up. Go to every sports game, play, recital and scouting event that you can make it to. When your children take an interest in something, find a way to incorporate it into the time you spend together.
Of course, these are just a few of the ways to foster a healthy relationship with your children after a divorce. No matter what the outcome of your child custody case, if you focus on letting your children know how much you love them and enjoying the time you have together, you will be well on the way to a fulfilling parent-child relationship.