Your children can better cope with a divorce or separation if you work hard to improve your relationship with your children's father. It takes sacrifice to set aside your hurt and feelings towards him, but that's required when you put your children first. Children are smart and they pick up on animosity between their parents, which can cause them to withdraw or suffer emotionally. To prevent that, try the following:
Step #1: Meet with the Father Alone
It's sometimes difficult to meet with your children's father alone, because he may have an awkward work schedule, live in a different state or you may not have any options for babysitting. If meeting with him alone means sitting in the car outside while your kids are sleeping, then do it. You need to have a heart to heart talk with him, expressing the need to put the children first and to at the very least show common courtesy towards one another in front of them. You should also agree to not trash each other to the kids or in front of them at any time. You'll improve your relationship with him as a result.
Step # 2: Engage in Small Talk
Whether it's when he calls, or comes to visit, it's important to engage in small talk. At first it may be very small talk, but do your best to improve that overtime. For example, find things to talk about that are shallow and comfortable for you both. It may be a news story, the weather or a funny event that happened to you recently. You both will be more comfortable and relaxed as a result, your relationship will improve and your children will appreciate it.
Step # 3: Plan Family Activities
Your children's father will want to spend time alone with the children, but it may be appropriate and welcomed to plan and attend a few activities. It will be difficult for the both of you not to interact at some point, and if your goal is to improve your relationship with him, then you'll be able to do that during the activity. For example, you can plan a picnic at a park, and while your children play, the two of you can talk about the children as well as your personal lives, if appropriate. A public setting is often best when you're first starting out, so that you're comfortable with him talking with you for an extensive period, and you can leave if you have to.
Step #4: Invite Him over for Birthdays and Special Occasions
You'll avoid resentment and bitterness if you invite your children's father over for your children's birthday and other special occasions. It's easy to destroy the relationship if he's not invited. Doing so can be difficult if either of you are in a new relationship, but depending on the circumstances, you both may be able to agree not to invite non-spouses to those events. Only you and he can determine whether that is appropriate, and the effects on the children from that decision.
When you improve your relationship with your children's father, you can look forward to a smoother transition for your children to a live without him. That's worth every effort on your part.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.