Parents may feel guilty after a divorce and be tempted to only have fun activities with the children, but quality time and structure are more important.
Spending quality time with children can be difficult for any parent, especially after school has started again and time with the kids is limited. For single parents in Texas, finding enough time to spend with children can be especially difficult when the parenting time is split. This can present a particular challenge if parents don’t share equal time with their children.
When one parent has significantly less time to enjoy with his or her children, it can be easy to fall into the trap of becoming the “fun” parent. It may be tempting to try to make up for less time with the children by taking them out on fun outings during every visitation period, or by showering them with toys and presents. The Huffington Post says that while this method of parenting may seem fun at first, and can even make the “fun” parent the favorite over the more practical parent, it is ultimately harmful to a child’s emotional and social well-being. It can also create problems with the children’s relationship with that parent over the years.
Avoiding the trap of frivolous parenting time
While a fun vacation or the occasional expensive gift can be nice and build memories, the best memories are created by the small, meaningful moments that parents spend during their time with the children, says Parents magazine. These moments don’t need to be elaborate and they don’t have to cost a dime. Better still, quality time will improve the parent/child relationship when consistent routines and traditions are established after a divorce.
For single parents, the following ideas are simple, low-cost everyday ways to create memories and keep relationships strong:
- Do homework and housework together.
- Set aside a special time for reading, television, video games, or board games.
- Involve the children with planning, preparing, and serving meals.
- After school or on weekends, take a walk around the neighborhood or to a park.
- Immediately after a divorce, establish new traditions that will comfort and reassure children.
It’s important for single parents to remember that rules and consequences must still be enforced after a divorce. One of the common traps a single parent can fall into is feeling guilty for the divorce and relaxing the rules. Children feel more secure when there is structure in their lives.
When to involve an attorney
The period of time during and after a divorce can be a tremendous strain on parents. Children are also profoundly affected by their parents’ split. It is important to ensure that children’s needs are met by having a parenting plan that works in their best interests. In many cases, an experienced family law attorney is needed to help this difficult process go as smoothly as possible.