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Photo of Keith Friley and Fritz H Dugas

4 ways to preserve your parental relationship

Maintaining a strong and healthy bond with your child during a contested divorce is important.

The turbulent times of divorce can strain the parent-child relationship, but with mindful strategies, you can protect and nurture this connection.

1. Open and honest communication

Clear and transparent communication is necessary in any relationship. During a contested divorce, it becomes even more important. Engage in age-appropriate conversations with your child, explaining the situation in a way they can comprehend. Avoid hiding the truth, as it can erode trust. Encourage them to express their thoughts and emotions, and actively listen to what they have to say.

2. Consistency in routine

Amidst the turmoil of divorce, maintaining a consistent daily routine can provide stability and a sense of security for your child. Ensure that they continue to have a structured schedule, including meals, bedtime and school activities. Consistency helps create a safe and predictable environment.

3. Co-parenting collaboration

Collaborative co-parenting shields your child from unnecessary stress. Even in the face of disputes, strive to work together with your ex-partner for the well-being of your child. Coordinate parenting strategies, rules and expectations to create a seamless transition between households. When your child observes you both working harmoniously, it fosters a positive atmosphere for them.

4. Emotional support

Divorce is emotionally taxing for both parents and children. Be the emotional anchor for your child. Show empathy and offer emotional support. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are there to help them navigate through this challenging period.

Approximately 690,000 divorces happen in the U.S. every year, and many of them do not go as smoothly as one would like. When a difficult divorce involves children, being proactive may help ensure you maintain a solid relationship with them.