You can stop being a spouse, but you can never stop being a parent.
Anyone who is separated or divorced, or knows someone who is (everybody knows someone who is), soon realizes that through divorce – people tend to end up with half the available time and even less than half the money than they started with.
The difference between the two is that money can always be made back. Time lost cannot be recovered.
Time IS money. It is the ultimate currency – a vessel that if used properly, can pay enormous dividends, long into the future. If time is neglected or wasted, it can cause damage, even emotional bankruptcy – for you and those around you. That’s why having a clear plan on how to manage child visitation is so important. The time lost caused by bad planning or even apathy, could leave a major impact on your legacy – long, long after you have passed on.
By raising your children, you and your spouse both made explicit and implicit promises to the children. Now that divorce or separation is in play, it is time that rubber met the road.
People must plan for their child’s visitation. Beyond what any stipulation document may say, having a ‘visitation roadmap’ is key. Planning your visitation schedule should be a constant process and possess a consistent approach.
Consistent Scheduling is Critical
Studies show that children thrive on consistent routine. Showing up consistently and punctually for child-visitation creates an environment and schedule that children can rely on. Inconsistent visitation behavior can breed distrust and emotional alienation with your children.
Neglecting a child visitation agreement not only could cause legal problems for you and health problems for your children, but it could badly damage your child’s belief system. Breaking promises such as neglecting to keep a planned visitation, or often missing important scheduled events – such as a school play, teaches kids that promises simply aren’t worth much.
If a child can’t trust promises coming from their parents – who can they trust? Who will they trust?
Consistent Behavior is Important Too
Were you active with your children, before the divorce? What are you expecting from them during visitation? What are they expecting from you? Are you planning trips to the amusement park every other weekend? Or, will it be quiet time spent watching television together?
According to a child-product of divorce, consistently feeling loved is more important that what you do together at visitation:
‘To be honest it really doesn’t matter, as long as you spend quality time talking with them and sharing how you are feeling about them. Children want everything to come out right, but that isn’t always the case.’
The child-product continues…
‘What you can do more than anything is to let them know that no matter the situation between you and your ex-spouse that they aren’t at fault for the two of you breaking up and that you love them unconditionally. Child visitation should be a happy time for both you and your kids.’
Karma is Hell.
If you are separated or divorced and have children – don’t miss out on visitation time. They will need you then more than ever – and they don’t easily forget. Here is an eye-opening excerpt from the same child of divorce on the topic:
‘When I was a child, my dad didn’t commit much to his visitation schedule. He made a lot of promises he didn’t keep, and I haven’t forgotten.’
‘Nowadays, my father is not well. He is constantly in and out of the hospital with a number of ailments. I do go and visit and take care of him during his times of need, but I do it reluctantly. The love and admiration for him that should be there, isn’t there. I still remember waiting for him to pick us up and him not showing up for his scheduled child visitation.’
‘That was over 30 years ago.’
Establish your child visitation schedule early on. Outline the times you plan to spend with the children. Include pickup and drop off times and locations. In this manner, you have defined the expectations of each parent and you provide the children with something to plan their life around.
Remember, breaking promises will likely affect your kids more than you or you ex-spouse may realize.
Communication, commitment, consistency are the keys.
If you would like to comment on the above article, feel free to send an anonymous note at the bottom of this page. If you want to learn more about how Moiety can help simplify co-parenting routines, just drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-The Moiety Team.
Simplify Complicated Schedules. Awesome for everyone, essential for co-parents.