Welcome back and thank you for joining us again for this discussion on how to maximise your visitation time with your child. In the previous article we talked about the first two very important items on our list, namely how much your attitude affects your time together, and the importance of picking your battles. Moving on we are going to wrap up the remaining two items.
As family law attorneys we meet with a great deal of parents who are unhappy with their custody arrangements, or are hoping to change their parenting time schedule to include more hours. We understand how frustrating the process can be, and how achingly slow it can seem when you just want to be with your son or daughter, and the courts seem to be dragging their feet.
However, while it may not be the arrangement you want, if it’s what you have right now, then the best thing you can do is make the best of it! So here goes…
Familiarizing yourself with your rights as a parent will give you the ability to be a part of your child’s life in as many ways as possible. If you have a right to overnights, use them! If you are allowed to attend your child’s after school sports games and parent teacher meetings, then you should go whenever possible. Are you allowed access to your child’s medical records? Then by all means, get copies and read them thoroughly.
The more you make use of the rights allowed to you, the more you will be participating in your child’s life, even if the participation is indirect in some areas. Don’t allow an opportunity to be involved in your child’s life slip away because you didn’t know it even existed, or because it didn’t seem important at the time. Make every opportunity count.
Your child doesn’t need another friend, or a playmate, they need a parent. Specifically, they need a parent who loves them and cares about their well being, and is invested in their success. They need a parent that sets boundaries, is compassionate when they are struggling, and listens respectfully when they have something to say.
Make a point of being yourself – the real you – when you’re with your child. Kids are very sensitive to insincerity, and if you want the time you spend together to be meaningful and enjoyable, you need to be real. A real parent, who allows them to express their feelings, allows space for fun and for quiet times, and makes a point of finding common ground. They will appreciate your efforts, and your relationship will blossom as a result.
Hopefully this information will help you in making the most of your visitation with your child. Being a parent is both a great responsibility and a great joy – so make the most of what you have, and you will find the time you do have will be that much more enjoyable. However, if you have questions about your custody arrangement, or want to know about changing your visitation times, please call us at 517 866 1000. We are here to help.