If you have not seen your child in some time, or do not get to visit as often as you would like, it can be difficult to resume an active role in his or her life, especially if the other parent has not been supportive. Despite the obstacles ahead, doing so is undoubtedly a worthwhile pursuit, but it is important to be prepared for potential difficulties.
The following are three of the issues you may encounter as well as how to best address them.
Passage of time
As time has passed, things have changed. Your child’s favorite color may be different, and he or she might be interested in entirely new things. Do not approach your child as though you are picking up where you left off. Instead, take a start-over approach and acknowledge the passage of time that has lapsed. According to Mental Health America, this includes making room for new behaviors your child has developed, too.
Unfamiliarity with routine
Stepping back into a child’s life is not easy. In addition to adapting to general changes, you will need to adapt to his or her life’s events and routine. Do not force changes to an already set routine to accommodate you—this could lead to resistance or even hostility. Learn what to expect and put forth the effort to become integrated into your child’s regular schedule.
Passage of time and general distance will naturally lead to a gap between a parent and a child. When you come back into your child’s life, you may find it is difficult to relate to and communicate with him or her in the way you had expected. Rather than getting frustrated, though, you should accept this as a normal part of the process. Your bond will become stronger and these obstacles will fade with time.