It is important to keep bonded with your children even when they are in foster care. InPart One, we focused on the big picture strategy for reunification. In Part Two, I offered you some tips to keep parenting time going in the right direction. These tips came from my 20 plus years of experience helping families get through this challenging and stressful time. Keeping families together is the goal of Cronkright Law and I am proud of our track record.
That got me thinking more about parents with just one supervised hour a week. That is tough. Your attorney should actively be working to get you more and less restrictive parenting time. That can only happen if the parenting time is going well. So, making sure the parenting time is going well becomes a primary goal. Here are more of my thoughts on building or maintaining a strong bond when you have limited time each week.
- First of all, you are not there to “visit” your child. It is called “parenting time” for a reason. That needs to be your mindset – you are there to parent. Babies need to be held, toddlers need you to give hugs or get down on the floor and play, elementary ages need you to be interested in their interests, and teens often just need to talk. Be present in the moment. Be a parent.
- Second, be aware that with supervised parenting time, even if no one else is in the room with you and your child, you are being watched. Everything you do and say is being recorded or written down. You go into this situation with the odds stacked against you. Be careful not to give CPS any more ammunition to use against you.
- Third, come prepared. I touched on this in Part Two but here are some further thoughts. Is your child an infant or toddler? Bring diapers, wipes, a favorite toy from home, even a snack. If your baby is still using a bottle, find out what kind of formula and come prepared. You cannot assume these things will be provided and it will be held against you if your child cries the whole time because of a dirty diaper or hunger.
I have more to say about older children and teens, dealing with “acting out”, and how to go forward from here. You will find that in Part Four. It is important to know that with Cronkright Law, you will find attorneys who are on your side; helping you fight to keep your family together. Contact us today.