Does Sharing Time Make You DIZZY?!

I often have clients argue about the amount of time their child will spend in each parent’s home. Instead of fighting over hours and days, I try to get them to focus on what type of relationship they want with their child. When they do this, they begin to talk about wanting to help their child with school work, to be involved in their extracurricular activities, to do what we all know parents do – BE A PARENT.

I know it is difficult to have your child spend time away from you. Whether you were the full-time stay-at-home parent or work outside of the home, this is the usually the hardest transition for everyone – parents and child.

You miss waking up in the morning with your child, putting your child to bed, being there when she comes home from school, and cuddling up with a good book. This is a loss you all share. If you are able to connect with your shared experience, you will find ways to support each other so you can both continue to play a meaningful and engaged role in your child’s life.

To help you do this, you can focus on the quality of time you have with your child, rather than getting stuck in counting days and hours. Over the course of your child’s lifetime, memories are made by moments, interactions, and experiences, and not by hours or days. It is more important to children to be truly present and involved in their lives in a meaningful way than to be there for an extra hour or two.

I hope you and your former are able to be gracious and spacious in these situations and do the best you can to support both of your involvement in your child’s life because there is nothing kids want more than engaged, loving, supportive parents. Having that will help ensure that they not only survive your divorce but thrive.

Here are some examples of how to be more engaged and present with your child, even when they are at the other parent’s house.

  1. Participate in your child’s events and activities
  2. Volunteer at your child’s school
  3. Join the PTA
  4. Talk to your child daily and ask about his/her day (not about how things are at the other parent’s house!)
  5. Listen to your child rather than talking at your child

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, please share them below!

In service and support ~

Cat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Divorced and Divorcing Parents. As a divorced mother of 2, she deeply understands the challenges, trauma and opportunities divorce provides. She has been practicing Nonviolent Communication, Mediation and Collaborative Law for 7 years. She has conducted workshops and trainings in Nonviolent Communication for hundreds of parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. She has taught at universities in Western Washington on diverse topics such as Women and the Law, Constitutional Law, and Communication. Her combination of personal experience and professional expertise give Cat a unique perspective and ability to help clients learn to communicate effectively and powerfully to transform their relationships and interactions with their former partner or spouse so they and their children can thrive.

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