In some situations, parents unfortunately have to be away from their children for a significant amount of time. Perhaps the parents were never married, for instance, and paternity had to be established. Maybe one parent struggled with issues such as drug abuse, but they’ve now gone through treatment and they’re seeking to reconnect with their child.
This reconnection process can be a very beautiful thing for all involved. It is often great for children to have a relationship with both of their parents. But it can also be difficult and complicated. Below are a few tips that can help as you work through this process.
Build up exposure over time
A child doesn’t immediately have to begin spending extensive amounts of time with their other parent. You can start small and build up time together. For instance, maybe the parent who has been away can spend time with their child at their co-parent’s home while the other parent is also there. This can make the setting more comfortable. Eventually, time-sharing could be split more evenly between both parents, but that doesn’t have to happen right away.
Consider other ways to connect
Additionally, the parent who has been away may want to connect with the child in different ways that aren’t necessarily face-to-face. Maybe they want to start exchanging text messages or talking on social media. Maybe that parent just wants to write them letters or show them pictures of what they’ve been doing. They can build a relationship up slowly, while keeping some distance so that the child doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
Focus on what the child already likes
Finally, it is wise for the parent who is trying to reconnect to take an interest in their child’s life. What TV shows do they like? What hobbies do they have? What music do they listen to? These may not be things that the parent cares about themselves, but talking about them or experiencing them together can go a long way toward creating the closer relationship that both parties are likely looking for.
Parental rights are quite important. Parents need to be sure they are aware of all their legal options as they reconnect with their children. Anyone who has questions about this sensitive process may benefit from seeking legal guidance.