“Children After Divorce: Your Presence vs. Presents”

Father giving daughter gift

It’s well documented through various studies that 80% of children show no maladjustment to divorce regarding their grades, social skills and overall mental health. Although this may be true statistically, it is only true when certain conditions are met. it’s imperative that both parents be involved in their children’s lives.  Co-parenting after divorce is critical to your children’s development and happiness—as well as their relationships later in life.

Many parents show their love with not only attention but physical gifts as well.  However,  it’s a parent’s presence that makes all the difference in their child’s healthy development.  Nothing can take the place of face-to-face bonding and spending quality time with your children. 

It’s easy as a single-parent—whether the children live with or you have weekly visitation—to be concerned that they’re getting proper nutrition, enough sleep and a good education.  But just as important, is the quality of personal time you spend with them. If you’re the parent who doesn’t have primary custody or can’t spend as much time with your children as you’d like, showing your affection through presents and gifts is fine but it can’t replace the quality one-on-one time you share with them.  

This personal time with your children is good for several reasons:

1.  You can develop a deeper bond with your child.  Sometimes a child simply wants to spend time with a parent for no other reason than attention from that parent.  When parents divorce, a child most likely spends less time with one parent than the other. This time from the lesser-seen parent can be very special and important to a child so you need to make and keep these “dates” consistent.  

2.  You can see where your child’s strengths lie as well as what needs to be worked on.  To be an involved parent regardless of divorce means to be responsible for your child’s development in all areas of his/her life. 

3.  You’re able to act as a role model for your child. Like the song from the band The Police says, “Every move you make and every step you take, I’ll be watching you” was never more true than these times with your child. Especially in their younger years, your children are very impressionable and much of their learning comes from the behavior, language and attitudes that they see in adults.  As a parent your child is paying close attention to what you say and how you act