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Noncustodial parent: can I maintain a relationship with my kids?

In your divorce decree, your former spouse was awarded primary custody of your children. Now that you are the noncustodial parent, you may be wondering how you can maintain and improve your relationship with your kids. Although there are certain challenges that may arise from being a noncustodial parent in New York, working with the other parent can help you to overcome them and create more a harmonious transition for everyone.

Encourage your kids to do their part. Set ground rules so they know that respect is expected at all times. Make sure they know what behaviors and languages are acceptable in your home. You should also work towards making your children feel comfortable while they are visiting you. According to The Huffington Post, you can do this by “showing your kids how supportive you are of their relationship with the other parent by maintaining a positive, friendly, respectful and cordial relationship with your ex.” Practice realistic parenting behaviors. Set an example, be yourself and be a good role model for your children.

You may feel tempted to go the extra mile and act a certain way because you feel guilty or uncomfortable about the situation. You may even want to raise the bar on quality time. However, you should work on reconnecting with your kids first. You should also allow your children to see how you normally function so they can become familiar with your lifestyle and routine. Make extra time to do activities they like to do so you will have more things to talk about.

Being the noncustodial parent has it challenges, but actively working to improve your relationship with your kids and their other parent can help improve your situation tremendously.

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