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Contacting Your Child on the Ex's Time

Contacting Your Child on the Ex's TimeYour divorce may be just beginning, mid-way completed, or finalized, and you’re sitting at home, all alone one night. You’re unnerved by the silence, and you suddenly feel a sharp pang in your heart. It’s not a heart attack, you’re just missing your child, who is visiting your ex. Ignoring how selfish or lonely you feel, you should feel proud for allowing your child to have a healthy relationship with their other parent.

Ditching the Security Blankets

It’s not just the word “divorce” that creates panic and uncertainty in children’s hearts. The part of divorce that is most worrisome to children is the question of loyalty. Allowing your child to visit with you ex might make your conscience feel better, but it won’t make you miss you child less. So here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your child while they’re in enemy territory, while also being supportive of their relationship with your ex.

Snail Mail will never be outdated to a child! This form of communication should probably be saved for visits that will last at least a week, just to be sure they actually get your letter. Just remember how excited you were when you received mail as a kid. And I rest my case.

Easy Email can also be a good option, if the child is old enough to use the internet. For an older child this option is like graduating from birthday cards with animals on them to cards with sentences that don’t rhyme. But remember to keep the content positive, though.

Call Them Maybe… This option is best for toddlers and young children, who have yet to master the pen and pencil, let alone the crayon. But there is phone etiquette to follow, especially now that your ex has their own phone line.

Don’t Be a Phone-y

Everyone is afraid to call their crush the first time, but picking up the phone to call you ex is even worse. But if you’re desperate enough to hear your child’s voice you’re prepared to do just about anything.  If you want these phone calls to go well and be continued, there are a few rules of etiquette to observe though.

  • Don’t call at disruptive times, like at mealtimes or nap times. It’s recommended to confer with your ex about the best times for a little chat time so you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes, or schedule.
  • Short and sweet is the best way to make these calls. Keeping the calls short leaves no time for the child to ponder if they should feel guilty for leaving you, and keeping the calls happy (even if you’re miserable) lets the child know it’s okay to have fun with their other parent. One phone call no-no is to stress how much you miss them, which will cause your child to feel torn between their parents.
  • Don’t shoot the messenger, and don’t make your child the messenger. If you have something to say to your ex, ask to speak with them directly. After all, you’re a grown up, so don’t hide behind your child.

Children are afraid of hurting one parent’s feelings by showing affection to the other. With this information in mind, make it your priority to encourage and ensure that your child knows it is okay to love both parents equally, even if your ex is a dirty, rotten cheater.

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