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Tips for successful visits with noncustodial children

As a noncustodial parent who only gets to spend time with your children here and there, you probably want to do everything you can to ensure your time together, though limited, is positive, fulfilling and worthwhile. You child may not live with you the majority of the time, but that does not mean the two of you cannot have a close relationship, and the time you do spend together presents a great opportunity to strengthen it.

So, what can you do to make your visits with your noncustodial child go smoothly?

Keep expectations in check

First and foremost, avoid falling into the trap that many noncustodial parents find themselves in. Often, parents who do not see their children frequently find themselves trying to fill every possible minute they have with their kids with games, fun and special events, but doing so can actually be detrimental. Ultimately, what your child truly needs is quality time with you, and that can come in the form of making dinner, taking a walk or any number of other similar efforts.

Keep household rules and discipline consistent

If you have a noncustodial child coming for a visit and you have other children who live in your home fulltime, make sure you hold all your children to the same standard when it comes to responsibilities, rules and so on. If you have a new spouse or significant other living with you in the home, set boundaries with this person ahead of your child’s visit to ensure that you and you alone handle all disciplinary actions.

Make nice with your child’s other parent

Even if your relationship with your child’s other parent is shaky at best, make sure to avoid bad mouthing him or her, and especially in your child’s presence. Your son or daughter may feel guilty already leaving that parent and coming to stay with you, so make things easier on everyone by maintaining, at the very least, a cordial relationship with your ex.

Time and distance are inevitable hurdles many modern families face, but utilizing these tips can help minimize conflict and ensure a positive visit and experience for all.

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