“Why won’t my parents come to my recitals or games anymore? They live in different houses, but they both have the time to come to see me. Did I do something wrong? Did they decide to work again? Why am I not important to them anymore? They don’t even have to sit together…”
It’s hard to see a child ask these kinds of questions, but you may hear them if you and your ex can’t resolve your issues enough to work together to raise your child. The reality is that children do notice when their parents stop doing the things they used to do for them in the past.
Child custody and divorce are both difficult for parents, but putting your child first should be the priority. If you start hearing your child make comments like, “Don’t you love me?”, “Why didn’t you come to my game?”, “Did I do something wrong?” or other questions, then you and the other parent need to sit down together and talk through what’s going on.
You don’t get a second chance to raise your kids: Prioritize their welfare
Co-parenting is not easy by any means, and there is a chance that you’ll have conflicts and negative feelings about each other even if you’re not arguing or having outright disputes. However, It’s important to try to bury those feelings for your children, so that you can be there for them when you need them.
If you can’t be there for some reason, then it would be a good idea to have a conversation with your child about why not. For example, explain that your new work schedule is something you can’t change and that conflicts with their afterschool activities. Then, work on a solution. For example, asking your ex to record the game so that you can watch it with your child later may be a good option.
It can be hard to navigate parenting in these situations, but you can do it with enough patience and strong communication. That’s the kind of love and support your child deserves after going through a major change in their life, especially because of the psychological effects that a divorce can have. If you need help with your co-parenting relationship or to modify your custody schedule, then look into your legal options to make that happen.