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Sharon Easley
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5 ways to strengthen relationships with your children as the non-custodial parent

Divorce is hard on the parents, but children often struggle the most when parents decide to call it quits. They deal with confusion, anger, sadness and many other emotions that are hard to reconcile when they are not quite old enough to understand what has happened. If they are used to living with both parents, maintaining a relationship with the non-custodial parent is particularly challenging but is made easier when the parent makes the effort to connect. Regardless of your feelings toward your ex or the tensions that run between the two of you, your children should benefit from interactions with both parents as often as possible.

1. Make your home their home

If you are the parent who moved out and got a new home, your kids may feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. When you are choosing furniture and decorating, do as much as you can to make them feel wanted and welcome. Give them their own bedroom if possible and decorate it together.

2. Find a common interest

Now is the time to take up an interest that your child can understand. Whether it is a sport, a video game or a love of art, take the time to learn about what they like and give yourself something in common to share with your child. Discuss the interest regularly to build a positive connection.

3. Respect your ex

Too often when parents are divorced, they use the time they have with their kids to badmouth their ex and get out their frustrations. Remember that your kids are the innocent party in the divorce, and you should only say positive things about your ex in front of them. Children become confused when they love both parents but hear negative things about the custodial parent constantly when they are with you.

4. Maximize your time

If you only have a few days a month with your children, make the most of it. Plan special activities, play with them and do their favorite things. Allow them to set the pace and choose what they want to do. Even though you may feel as if you must entertain them the entire day, they can also benefit from relaxing and doing normal things while they are with you.

5. Never give up

As the non-custodial parent, it can be difficult to pursue a relationship with your children when you are both busy and living in different places. However, it is more important than ever to never stop pursuing the relationship.

A successful parenting plan can be a huge asset for helping your children through divorce. W e encourage you to contact a mediator if you are considering divorce and want to do what is best for your children.

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