When you and your ex got divorced, you got full custody of your kids. Your ex is simply not reliable enough. While they still get to come visit on the weekends, most often for supervised visitations, you are essentially raising your children on your own.
It feels overwhelming at times. To help you, here are some key tips:
- Quality time is more important than gifts. Children may get excited about getting a present, but they really get more out of spending time with you. Give them your time and attention, fit them into your schedule and show them that you care.
- Give their lives structure. Create some solid routines and stick to them. Remember, divorce makes it harder for them to feel like their life is predictable. You can give this back to them with routines, which help lower stress.
- Praise them and show them how much you love them. You know that you didn't get divorced because of anything that the kids did, but they often struggle with feeling like it was their fault. You can counter these feelings by being very clear about how much you care.
- Keep a positive mindset, even when things get difficult. Celebrate victories and challenges that you overcome together.
- Look for other types of socialization and support. If you feel like you are all alone, this gets harder -- for both you and the kids. If you find a network of single parents and people in similar situations, it can help you out and open all sorts of doors.
Of course, as you move forward with this new stage in your life, be sure you understand all of your legal custody rights.