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3 ways to use your parenting time to be a better parent

Newly divorced parents face struggles that can't always be anticipated -- one of those is how you may feel about having your time with your children regulated.

"Parenting time" sounds strangely artificial when you're newly divorced. Suddenly, the days where you had unrestricted access to the kids are gone and you may become exceptionally conscious of the fact that your time with your children is limited.

While no parents ever really gets used to being with their children on a part-time basis, divorce can actually improve your parenting skills if you approach the situation with a specific plan.

Here's how you do it:

1. Approach your parenting time as if it were an opportunity to cultivate a stronger relationship with your children. Give your kids your undivided and conscious attention when they are with you. You can develop deep personal bonds with them through the experiences that you share together by being conscious of the time you do have.

2. Spend time catching up on all the day-to-day events in their world. Make time to reconnect each week by asking your kids questions about what's going on in their lives. Actively engage them in conversation about their friends, school, homework, hobbies and sports. You may find out things about how your children think or feel that might otherwise have gone hidden.

3. Remember that you have to be both parents when it's your parenting time. That may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone as you fulfill the necessary parenting tasks that you might otherwise have left up to your spouse. That includes things like fathers learning to braid hair and mothers learning how to set up the Xbox. Consider your parenting time an opportunity to become a more well-rounded parent.

Don't forget that you also need to connect with your kids between your allotted parenting time as well. Regular interaction on the phone, over the internet on Skype, on social media or through email can help you keep communication lines open and the connection between you and your children strong.

For help with legal issues surrounding parenting time, including requests for increased access to the children or modification in the parenting schedule, contact a family law attorney for advice.

Source: www.omaha.com, "Omaha mom: How a divorce can lead to improved parenting," Angela Dunne, May 08, 2017

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