CHILD CUSTODY - ACCESS TO CHILDREN
Quantity vs Quality: Making the most of access times
Divorce can be a painful and messy time, and this pain can be magnified when you lose care and control of your children to the other party. It is natural to feel short-changed and cheated, as well as fearful that you will grow distant from your children now that you are no longer the resident parent.
However, recent longitudinal studies conducted in North America and the United Kingdom have shown that it is actually the quality and not the quantity of time spent with your children that makes the difference both in their developmental wellbeing and your long-term relationship with them.
It is easy to overestimate the amount of time that is actually spent with children, even when parent and children are residing together: Children get busy with homework, enrichment classes and their comforts at home, while parents come home from work tired and get caught up in the running of the home. Furthermore, the older children get, the more time they spend outside the home because of extracurricular activities and friends. Having specific access times with your children may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as it is time set aside to be with them and an opportunity for you to be intentional in your relationship with them.
So how do you go about creating quality time with your children? The results from these studies show that it is important to build a strong emotional bond with your children. Such bonds are actively built by talking with your children and listening to them, reading to them, or otherwise engaging them one-on-one.
Particularly in the age of smartphones, it is easy to let children while away their timewith you by playing on their favourite apps. However, the lesson to be learned from these studies is to make the most of your times together with your children, like mealtimes. Ask open-ended questions (i.e. questions that cannot be answered by a yes/no answer) and actively listen to their responses. You might be surprised how much your relationship with them can deepen, even as the non-resident parent.
ABOUT PKWA LAW
At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore divorce lawyers by respected independent legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle's Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers.
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