By Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed
Divorce or separation can be challenging, especially when children are involved. As a non-residential parent, it’s natural to worry about the influence your child receives from the other parent, particularly if they exhibit negative behaviors. However, the summer timeshare presents a unique opportunity for you to be a positive example to your child, demonstrating how to treat others with respect and kindness. In this blog post, we will explore how you can make the most of this time to foster a healthy relationship with your child and counteract any negative influences.
- Maintain Open Communication: Communication is key when it comes to building a positive relationship with your child. Take the time to talk and actively listen to their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Encourage them to express themselves openly without judgment. By providing a safe space for communication, you can demonstrate the importance of open and honest dialogue, setting a positive example for your child.
- Promote Cooperation and Conflict Resolution: In situations where the other parent may be showing a negative example of how to treat the other parent, it’s crucial to model healthy conflict resolution and cooperation. Avoid engaging in negative discussions or speaking ill of the other parent in front of your child. Instead, emphasize the importance of respectful communication and finding common ground to resolve conflicts. Show your child that disagreements can be resolved in a calm and respectful manner.
- Foster a Positive Environment: Create a nurturing and positive environment for your child during their summer timeshare with you. Encourage activities that promote personal growth, such as engaging in hobbies, pursuing new interests, or participating in community events. By creating an atmosphere of positivity and support, you can counterbalance any negativity your child may experience elsewhere.
- Teach Empathy and Understanding: One of the most valuable lessons you can impart to your child is empathy. Help them understand that everyone has different perspectives and experiences. Encourage them to put themselves in others’ shoes, including the other parent. By fostering empathy and understanding, you equip your child with essential emotional intelligence skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.
- Encourage Healthy Boundaries: Children benefit from having healthy boundaries in their relationships. Teach your child about setting boundaries, both for themselves and respecting others’ boundaries. Explain that boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships and personal well-being. Model this behavior by establishing clear expectations and limits in your interactions with your child and others.
- Focus on Quality Time: During the summer timeshare, make an effort to spend quality time with your child. Engage in activities you both enjoy and create lasting memories. Show genuine interest in their lives, including their interests, friends, and concerns. By being present and attentive, you demonstrate your love and dedication, serving as a positive role model for your child.
In conclusion, while the other parent’s negative behavior may be concerning, the summer timeshare can provide a valuable opportunity for you to be a positive influence in your child’s life. By maintaining open communication, promoting cooperation and conflict resolution, fostering a positive environment, teaching empathy and understanding, encouraging healthy boundaries, and focusing on quality time, you can guide your child towards healthy relationships and positive behaviors. Remember, your actions and words matter, and by setting a positive example, you can help shape your child’s character and provide them with the tools to navigate challenging situations with grace and compassion.
Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the Hope4Families.net platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families.