Your ex is certainly your ex for a reason, but one thing he will never be is an ex-parent. Even if you now have full custody of your children, it is important and beneficial in most situations for your children to maintain and foster a relationship with their noncustodial parent.
Depending on the circumstances of your separation, it may not be easy for you to put your personal feelings aside and encourage your children to maintain a relationship with the other parent. But for the sake of your kids, consider making these efforts:
- Encourage communication between your children and the other parent, whether through email, phone or other avenues. Part of encouraging this type of communication means not using these calls or communications to pick fights, talk finances or touch upon anything else that might be a bone of contention.
- Maintain a united front, even if only in front of your children. Try to include your children's other parent when parent-teacher conferences and similar situations arise. Seeing that you, too, make the effort to engage with and include the other parent improves the chances that your children will do the same.
- Share art projects, school photos and other such items with your ex, and encourage your children to do so as well. This also shows your children that the other parent is still of value in their lives.
- Keep your personal feelings for the other parent just that - personal. Do your children the courtesy of not badmouthing the other parent when the kids are around, or your children may think it is acceptable to do the same.
It can prove difficult for your children to maintain a relationship with a parent they do not live with, especially if there is a significant geographical distance between them. Your actions, however, can make a considerable difference. For more about navigating divorce or separation and helping your kids do the same, consider getting in touch with an attorney.