It is hard to be a part time parent. If you don't have custody of your kids, it is not always easy to decide how to treat them when they are with you. This is especially challenging if you have remarried and have children or step children with your new partner. The following tips may help you understand the situation better so that you can balance everybody's interests.
1 Recognize that your kids may be jealous of your "new" family. You can't include them in your daily activities if you don't have custody. Nevertheless, they miss seeing you on a daily basis, and are likely to resent the people who get to see you all of the time.
Kids tend to idealize the life of the missing parent. To you and your new partner, it may seem like you are living in a Hubble with 5 kids who hate you, and a partner who is indifferent to your needs. To your kids, it will seem that their step-siblings' world is one of constant happiness and joy. Even if you weren't the easiest person to live with when you made your home with their other parent, your kids will believe that they don't live up to your standards, so you had to go out and find a new family to replace them. To add insult to injury, you have the time and resources to be lavish with your new kids, and don't have anything but left overs for your first family. Remember, your kids get a very small snap shot of your current situation, and it will be easy for them to leap to conclusions, no matter how unfounded their assumptions may be.
2 Don't forget your kids' birthdays, Easter and other important occasions. This isn't to say that you have to spend mountains of money to acknowledge the important dates in your child's life. This is not a competition to earn your kids' love with presents. Just take him out for an ice cream cone, or take her to a concert in the park. Don't invite anyone else along, and you will give your child the gift of your undivided attention, which is something every child will enjoy a lot more than any toy or game you could buy.
3 Don't work when your child is visiting. No one ever lay on their death bed wishing they had spent more time earning a living. Occasionally, you may not be able to avoid the demands of your employer. However, it is way too important to let your kids know that you value the time you have to spend with them, and, unless it is a matter of keeping your job or being fired, you should keep their visitation clear, even if it means giving up overtime.