So many parents want to win battles or arguments by taking time with a child away from another parent. That doesn’t just hurt the parent, it hurts the child too. You may not see it on their faces, or they may still be too young to understand, but it hurts them in the long run. You are taking away their ability to bond with that other parent, to learn from them, to feel loved by them, and to share memories with them.
We have been so lucky in our lives. We share 50/50 custody arrangements with all outside parents (except my son, who has a different circumstance). We’ve both fought to ensure that this has happened. It wasn’t something that was easy that just landed in front of us. We too had our share of lawyer fees and court dates for our little ones. We made sure not to use our past with the outside parents influence our choices though. We never went out to hurt them, or prove we were better then them. We didn’t try to disgrace or shame the other parents. We set a standard that we would not aim to hurt the other parent, just to ensure our children had equal time with both their parents. In fact, in my own court hearing for custody of my daughter the judge commended her father and I saying, he’s “never heard two parents each say so many good things about each other while on stand.”
It’s hard to give up time with you’r babies. However, you have to remember that you’r children need the time with both parents. It’s very important that they have the ability to bond and connect with both mom and dad. They need to feel that they are important to both parents. It will greatly improve their self esteem and social skills later in life.
It’s ok if they have bonded more with the other parent. Don’t make this a competition. It’s completely natural for a child to bond more with one parent then the other. It doesn’t mean they love you less, or that the other parent is the “better” one. My daughter is a daddy’s girl through and through. She doesn’t like to go fishing with me, but loves to go with her dad. I won’t say that it doesn’t hurt just a little, but I remind myself to be happy for her. I am happy she will have those memories of the two of them when she is older. I am happy that he has found something he can do with her that gives her that “daddy time.” I find my own ways now to bond with her, and I praise her father for the effort he puts into being such a big part of her life.
Be more open to switching and changing holidays. I don’t remember the last time my family celebrated Christmas on Christmas day. I don’t know if I’ve ever celebrated the kids’ birthday on the actual day. We work all three parents to find days that work for everyone on holidays. The truth is your child doesn’t know what day is what, and if you start this process of being open to changing things for them then it won’t affect them when they are older. As an example this was our last Christmas: We spent Christmas even and day alone. We got the little one’s back Christmas day, but not until close to bedtime. We made that our Christmas eve. My 10 year old daughter knows the truth, Santa wasn’t really going to show up again, but she had fun playing along for the boys (4 years old and 2 years old). That next morning we woke up all excited to see what Santa had brought for everyone!! All our children got to have a great Christmas with family on both their mother and father’s sides. That is what is most important.
I’m not going to say that things will always be easy and that you’ll always find a way to make things work. I just want you to remember how important it is for your babes to be able to experience joy with both parents. Nurture that bond and help it grow. Listen to the stories your child tells you about the fun time they had with the other parent. Make them feel safe, let them be open, let them know they are loved by the two people who matter the most. You’r children will be happier in the long run, and that’s all you want anyway.
Thank you for taking the time to read my little blog page. Please contact me if you have any suggestions for blog topics. I’d love to hear what you have to say!!