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Reuniting With Children After A Divorce
It is of course in the
best interest of a family to avoid losing contact with children after a
divorce, but it inevitably does happen. So if you find yourself in this
situation, and want to re-establish that relationship with your child,
where do you turn and what should you do?
There are a number of things
to consider at this point. The emotional cost of doing something like
this is obviously immense and both you and your child will be put under
a lot of mental strain during this time if you decide to move forward
with the meeting. Many people believe that the younger a child is, the
easier it is to re-establish a relationship but this is often not the
case. When a child is living with a custodial parent, the task of
reuniting can be made all the more difficult by a child's feeling of
'betrayal' toward the custodial parent. Many children believe that by
going back to visit the non-custodial parent they are sending signals
out of not being happy or content with their primary care-giver and
worry about hurting their feelings. Because of this, many reunions
happen when the child has grown older and moved out of their custodial
parent's house. Many parents reunite with their children after they
have moved to college or university, begin talking by email and then
meet properly finding that the child, who is now legally adult is much
more emotionally responsive and willing to take that step.
Ultimately, the maturity of
your child will play a major part in deciding how and when to reunite
with your child. For example, a young female is likely to want to
reunite with her father due to her attachment to him at that young age
and the desire to be a 'daddy's girl'. It is normal for young girls to
be closer to their fathers than their mothers. However, as the girl
reaches puberty she is more likely to shift the other way, turning to
her mother for help and advice and favouring her mother more than her
father. Past aggression or hostility towards her mother is much more
likely to be either forgotten or forgiven at this age and likewise the
desire to reunite with a father during this stage is much less. As
mentioned before, the next best suitable time in this scenario to
attempt to reunite would be after the child has grown older and moved
out or gone to college.
Family events, either tragic
or happy can be a suitable way to rekindle a relationship with lost
children. As sad as it seems, close family deaths are normally the
times when families truly unite and turn to each other for support and
help, and this can be an excellent time to re-establish a relationship.
Events that specifically relate to the child can also be used; a
significant birthday or a time of celebration for example.
Ultimately this guide can not
answer all questions about when is the right time to try and make
contact with your children again. Sometimes it happens organically; as
humans our moods and feelings change on a daily basis and as amazing as
it may sound, sometimes the best reunions are the ones that happened
when nobody planned them. A young girl may notice a boy she likes at
school and decide to call the mother she hasn't spoken to for years
because she doesn't know anybody else to turn to for advice. Likewise a
boy may call his father at the start of his new football season to ask
him to come and watch him play. You as a parent may read an article,
watch a TV program or talk to somebody at the bus stop and decide to
stop wondering and take action.
Understand these main points before considering a reunion with your child;
Understand that the person you knew a long time ago may not be the
person you are trying to re-establish contact with today. People change
enormously, and you must make yourself as emotionally aware of this
fact as possible.
Try to start fresh wherever possible. If you walk into a reunion
talking about how much you messed up and all the things you did wrong
in the past, that is how you will be starting the new relationship. Yes
it's important to seek forgiveness for things that you did, and it's
also important to offer apologies for things that you did, but
ultimately this is your chance to leave the past in the past. Start
positive and aim to continue to be positive.
Keep the first visits short, sweet and simple. Don't over-plan and
don't try to do anything too flashy, impressive or grand. A simple walk
in the park, a trip to the mall or a coffee at a relaxing spot is a
great way to start. Allow your child to bring somebody with them if
they feel they need to but encourage them to bring a friend rather than
somebody who may otherwise jeopardise the visit. Try to keep other
family members away at this point and concentrate on your and your
Grow, and learn from anything you've previously done where you messed
up. Returning to old mistakes will only destruct the new relationship.
Take things slowly, for your sake and the child's sake. This is going
to be one of the most emotionally charged meetings you will ever have;
don't make it any harder for yourself than it already is.