Although many Illinois parents get divorced because they dislike their spouse, the unfortunate truth is if you share minor children, your relationship with your spouse does not end after divorce. Parenting is a never-ending job and once you are divorced, your parenting obligations are codified in a court-ordered parenting agreement which you must then abide by in cooperation with your ex.
But focusing on the stress that you feel when you have to deal with your ex during childcare exchanges is a surefire way to lose out on the special moments you can share with your kids during parenting time. Kids need the love and support of both parents, and if you can maintain your focus on your children, you are likely to benefit as well. Here are four tips for making the most of your parenting time after your Illinois divorce.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Kids are very sensitive to their parents’ moods and attitudes. If they feel like you are angry or upset every time they come to visit, they may believe it is their fault - even if your feelings have nothing to do with them. If your relationship with your spouse tends to degenerate quickly into conflict, limit interaction as much as possible so you can focus on showing your kids how excited and happy you are to be with them.
Arrive on Time
Just as kids are sensitive about whether you seem happy to see them, they may also infer that you are eager to spend time with them if you arrive on time. Making them wait around may not only make them feel disrespected or upset, but it also opens up the opportunity for your ex to point out that you are late and perhaps do not want to see them. Treat picking up your kids as any other appointment you value and be on time.
Stay Off Your Phone
It can be tempting to tune out on your phone, especially when kids are around. Kids can be noisy, messy, needy - all the things that can make it hard to stay present and focused. But they need to feel they are important to you, and your attention shows where your priorities lie more than your words. If you tell your kids that you have been waiting all week to see them, and then speed the weekend scrolling through the news or social media, they might suspect that your interest lies elsewhere.
Grant Them Their Individuality
During the chaos of divorce and the recovery period that follows, it can be tempting to either give children all the freedom in the world or clamp down with firm rules that can never be broken. But neither of these two extremes is productive or easy to live with for you or your children. Try to find ways to allow your children to express their uniqueness while still maintaining healthy boundaries and support.
Speak with a DuPage County Parenting Time Attorney
The experienced Wheaton, IL parenting time attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group know how important it is to put your child first. If you need help creating a parenting agreement or with any other part of your divorce, schedule a free, confidential consultation today by calling us at 630-871-1002.