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Custody concerns: Keeping your healthy parent-child relationship

For many parents, there is a concern that divorce will change the way their relationship is with their children. Of course, there is some amount of change that is going to happen regardless of anything you try to do to stop it, because your family dynamic is changing. However, that doesn't mean your relationship with your child has to deteriorate.

Instead, there are ways to help your relationship grow. Use child custody to your benefit during this time, so you can forge a strong relationship with your child in the future. Here are three things you can do to maintain your relationship.

1. Don't deprecate the other parent

Even if you want to say something negative about the other parent, save it for friends and family, not your child. Children don't want to hear parents speak badly about one another. Remember, your child is half of the other parent, which means that he or she may feel personally hurt if you don't like the other parent and speak negatively about him or her. He or she may feel there is something wrong with him or her as a result of sharing DNA with the parent you dislike.

2. Make time for your child

Working more is something many parents have to do following a divorce, but don't fall into a pattern of wasting time with your child. If you have time together, make it about both of you. You only have limited time with your child, so you should encourage activities together. There will always be times when you're tired or don't want to do anything, but even just watching TV and playing a game together can be enough to create positive memories in your child's mind.

3. Keep to the schedule

Nothing hurts a child more than a parent who doesn't show up for his or her visitation time. Don't make the mistake of passing on a visitation date unless you have no other choice. If you promise to make it up, follow through on that promise. The last thing any child wants to feel is as if he or she doesn't matter to a parent. Not showing up during scheduled visitation and breaking promises will enforce the idea that you don't care.

These are three tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with your child following a divorce. With patience and time, it's possible to have a good relationship moving forward.

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