In Illinois, when the judge allocates parenting time, one thing he or she will take into account is how willing you are to make sure your child is able to develop and maintain a relationship with the other parent. Following a divorce, emotions can be very strained. You might be wondering how you can facilitate a relationship between your child and the other parent when you are grieving and angry, and the other parent does not act appropriately. It may be difficult, but there are strategies for success.
How can you encourage your child to have a relationship with the other parent?
- Do not disparage the other parent in front of the child.
- Keep conflict away from the child.
- Do not use the child to send messages.
- Encourage communication between the child and the other parent.
- Make sure the other parent knows about school events, sports and doctor’s appointments. Share a calendar to give the other parent the opportunity to attend.
- Remember that shared parenting is not about equal 50/50 time. Do what is best for the child when it comes to sharing time.
- Reassure your child that you and the other parent will always love him or her. You may have to repeat that many times to give the child security.
- Keep to the parenting agreement. Pay child support on time. Do not miss visits. Be consistent.
- Do not try to one-up the other parent. You do not always have to be the “Disneyland” parent who does exciting things all the time. Be boring and enjoy your child’s company.
If you are having custody issues, discuss this with an experienced divorce lawyer to make sure you are managing the situation correctly. There are many aspects to determining a parenting schedule, and you do not want to put your own time with your child in jeopardy. Expert advice can be very helpful to keep you on track for your goals of doing what is best for your child.