Bonding with your children is something that every parent needs to do. This is not new information. But now you must learn to bond with them on your own, without mom being there. This may seem a little awkward especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time alone with your children. This is a whole new experience for all of you. A single parent plays the roles of both mother and father to the children and this takes some getting used to for them as well. They need to see that you are comfortable in this situation. Taking them on ordinary outings gives them the feeling that things are okay. Grocery shopping, for instance is an ordinary outing. It allows them to see you in a normal, everyday activity. It also allows you to get to know what they like and don’t like if you don’t already know. For younger kids this can be a fun adventure. Let them pick out dinner and dessert and if they are old enough, let them help prepare it.
Taking a walk is a great way to bond with your children. If they are too young to walk you can pull them in a wagon or push them in a stroller; either way, walk with them and talk about the things around you. Ask them questions about things they like and answer any questions that they may have for you. It is important to let them know that you enjoy spending time with them. They need to know that you love them and are there for them when they need you. So make yourself not only physically available but emotionally available as well. This emotional support is vital to their stability.
Not only is bonding important for the stability of a child/parent relationship but it will also become an important factor in the court room. The judge may order psychological evaluations for both you and your ex. This is something that you need to prepare yourself for. This evaluation will require your meeting a psychologist with the children. The psychologist will evaluate your playing together, how you handle situations with each other and whether or not you are bonded with each other. This bond will be one of the most important factors in his/her recommendation to the court regarding custody. If there is no bond between you and your children the psychologist will see it and report these findings to the court. You need to create this bond if you haven’t already done so. Creating this bond doesn’t begin the day before you go see the psychologist either. It takes months and even years to build this bond but once it is established it creates a bridge of trust between you and your children that will last a lifetime.
This excerpt from “A Father’s Journey To Custody” by Douglas C. McKee is re-printed in DivorceMag.com with permission. Douglas C. McKee, a father of five beautiful children; two of whom he was awarded primary physical custody from a previous marriage, knows first-hand, the heartache of a divorce that involves children and the benefits of maintaining ongoing contact with them during this rough time. The book is available at the author’s website, www.fathersseekingcustody.com.