If you find yourself without custody of your kids at the end of your divorce, you may deal with a constant struggle to build and keep relationships with them. When you only see them a few times a week or on the weekends, it is difficult to stay up to date on their everyday activities.
As the non-custodial parent, your job is to make the effort to strengthen these relationships no matter where your kids live. This may be even harder if you are dealing with a difficult ex, but it is possible if you are committed to the idea.
Keep the frustration out of the relationship
Despite your best attempts to get along with the custodial parent, the fact that you are divorced shows that there will almost always be tension in your relationship. No matter how frustrated you feel, do not let this factor in to your relationship with your kids. Never talk bad about the other parent when your children are with you, as this often makes them feel uncomfortable with you. Save those discussions for your friends or your therapist.
Open additional lines of communication
Just because they do not live with you, it does not mean they stop being your children. You have the right to open lines of communication with your kids whenever possible. Call them regularly, send them texts to let them know you are thinking of them and show up for their games, practices and conferences.
Do not be the “Disneyland parent”
When you do not see your kids as much, it is easy to want to spoil them, but what they really need from you is time being normal. Keep their regular schedule and allow them to just be bored when they are with you to keep the relationship as strong as possible.
Be prepared from the beginning
If you are getting divorced and are concerned about being the non-custodial parent, you may want to meet with an attorney to ensure that all your requests are included in your divorce decree, and that your relationships with your kids do not suffer.