One of the hardest things about divorce is missing your kids when they’re not with you. If you have hardly spent any time away from your kids, this may come as a complete shock to you. Whether you have shared custody or you only get to see your kids one weekend a month, you are likely wondering how to handle the situation “I miss my kids after divorce.”
However, it is important that you work through this issue and do not give up in the face of this challenge. So many studies highlight the importance of having both parents actively involved in their children’s lives. Children with two active parents have stronger social and coping skills, greater academic achievements, lower risks for drug abuse or teen pregnancy, higher self-control and self-esteem, and a greater likelihood of having healthy relationships in the future.
Here are some ways to help ease the feelings of missing your kids after divorce, based on your custody arrangement.
While you will certainly get more time with your kids if you have shared custody, it can still be difficult to share your time with the other parent. Some ways that you can help manage your feelings of loneliness, isolation, or longing include:
- Try to enjoy your alone time – Rather than looking at the other parent’s time as a bad thing, try to enjoy this time. It can be relaxing to know that your child is safely with the other parent. Take this time to go out with a friend, date, take a bath, read, or do any other activity that you enjoy and brings peace to your life.
- Plan your welcome home – Create a plan for what you want to do with your kiddo once they return home.
- Stay in contact – If your child will be gone for more than a day, stay in touch with phone calls, emails, or texts.
- Get busy – Staying busy during your “off” time may help the time to pass more quickly. Consider taking up a side job, hobby, or volunteer activity to help you stay busy. This can also help you develop new skills and interests that help with your overall mental health and feeling of accomplishment.
Missing your child after divorce is particularly poignant when you do not have custody with your child. You may have limited access to your child with visitation or brief parenting time. However, it is important that you keep what is best for your child at the forefront of your mind. It will now be more important than ever for you to establish and maintain a positive relationship with your child. You will have to make the most of your time with your child, even if that time is limited.
If you are wondering how to reconnect with your child after divorce, here are a few tips to help you make the most of this difficult time:
If you only have a limited amount of time with your kids, it is important that you are available for every moment. Being close may mean you can see your kids more often, such as taking them to doctors’ appointments or picking them up from school. You can also minimize the time it takes simply for commuting. Limiting distance between you and your children may mean that you have to move to be closer to your kids, but it will be worth the extra effort. You will also show your ex and the court that you are serious about your relationship with your kids.
Create a Home for Your Kids
Your kids won’t care whether you are living in an apartment or a mansion (at least, not that much). But, you want your kids to feel comfortable in your new residence. Try to make a special place for your kid in your new home. Give them some creative license and let them choose how to decorate it. Have space for your child’s own clothes, books, entertainment, and other personal belongings so they feel like they are at home.
It is critical that your child feel stability after a major disruption in their life like divorce. Try to keep as many things as possible consistent between you and your ex, such as bedtimes, discipline, and routines.
Start New Traditions
Now may be the perfect time to start new traditions. Traditions can help forge new bonds and memories. You can create a new photo album or scrapbook with your kids where you share these memories. You can start celebrating holidays in a unique way.
Try to share an interest or activity with your kid that they’re interested in, such as repairing an old car, go-karting, photography, reading, puzzles, or Japanese comics. The point is to find something together and build a positive connection with it.
Try Different Types of Communication
In between your in-person visits, you can keep in touch with your kids in many different ways, including:
- Phone calls
- Video calls
- Text message
- Social media messages
Take advantage of the various forms of technology to keep in touch with your kids.
Value Your Time
Even if you fought for custody and didn’t get it or you are not happy about the minimal amount of time you are getting with your child, try to make the most of the time you have. Plan out your visits beforehand so that you can make the days special for your kids. Play with your kids. Do some of your kids’ favorite activities. Be sure you remove any distractions so that you can fully enjoy time with your kids.
If you don’t have custody, your ex may have a lot of power in determining any extra time you get to spend with your child, so it is important not to get on their bad side. While this is not an enviable position, at least you can be aware of it and act accordingly. Additionally, you don’t want to badmouth your children’s other parent, which may only serve to alienate you. Show respect toward your ex and realize that your kids still love both of you.
Don’t Give Up
The months following divorce may be filled with conflict. Your ex may be making life difficult. Your kids may have moved to a new community. Your teen may be silent during phone calls. However, it is so crucial to keep trying. Don’t give up. Your kid is going through a tough time. Showing that you will be there even if you’re no longer in the family home will go a long way toward building trust and consistency.