Parents get estranged from their children all the time and it is common in divorces. Whether the estrangement was caused by a parent working too much, serving in the military, alienation by the other parent, living in separate states, or other reasons, the best way to repairing this relationship is to start now. You may be scared of possible rejection by the child, but the hardest step to take is the first one. But, the first step is also the most important step and one you need to take now.
Do not wait on the child, you need to take the first step
Lets be honest, as parents, we are all making it up as we are going along. We don’t have a rule book for being a parent. If you don’t have a relationship with your child, then no matter what you accomplish in life, the child will always see you as the parent that wasn’t there. So, the worst thing to do is wait for the child to realize you are there.
Remember at the end of the day your child is a child and you are supposed to be the adult in the situation. You must take the first step, set the good example of how to have a relationship. If you reach out to your child to let them know that you want to spend time with them, and that you care. Chances are this will be the first step in repairing that relationship.
Do not focus on the past, focus on what is going on right now
It is easy to do, you feel like there is lost time and a lot of things you missed, but you can’t undo the past. Focus on your child as they are now and where you would like for them to be in the future, rather than trying to recapture lost time. Ask the child about their current school and teachers. Who is their best friend now, or what activities do they enjoy? Don’t just focus on the good stuff either, ask your child where they are struggling in life or where they need help.
The point is you are focusing on your child. You are asking questions and you are showing interest in their life. Your child will remember that you are taking an interest in them and who they are.
Once you have a schedule, do not vary from that schedule.
Once you have a schedule with your child, it is important that you stick to that schedule. That is your first priority in repairing the relationship. Children often spell love “T-I-M-E”, so if you say that you are going to be there next weekend, you need to be there next weekend and not cancel that time. Chances are, what ever came up for you can wait, your child cannot.
Do what you need to rebuild that relationship with your children. Chances are you and your child will be better for it and both benefit from the increase in the amount of time that you spend together.