You and your wife simply don’t get along. From year to year, there is more pain than love. You have two beautiful children, and you are not sure what to do. In the end, you decide to get a divorce. Still, you are worried it will ruin your kids’ lives.
We are here to tell you that things don’t have to end with a catastrophe. If you follow our parenting tips for single fathers, your kids and the relationship you have with them should be just fine. Wondering how to be a good dad? Here are 5 tips for divorced dads to help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do.
1. You don’t divorce your children
You will hear this at least a thousand times, but it is worth repeating – you are a husband until the divorce, but you are the father forever. This is the most important lesson that divorced dads must always remember. Even if your ex-spouse gets full custody and even if you like your new found freedom and the fact that your children are not around 24 hours a day, you are still their dad.
Children learn from their parent’s behavior. When I say stay clean, I mean don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t gamble and don’t bring new girlfriends/boyfriends into your home unless it is serious. Being a good father, you must avoid talking mean or ugly things about your ex-spouse in front of your children, or in front of anyone else who can tell your kids about that later.
As divorced dads, they should give their children a proper example. This is an excellent opportunity to show them how they shoulddeal with conflicts and peacefully move towards resolution. As a divorced father, your children should never be the victim of your divorce. I assume it goes without saying, but don’t wreck your anger on them and never abuse them.
3. Don’t manipulate
So, what makes a good dad?
An advice for divorced dads is to know that your children are not your weapon. Don’t turn them against your ex-spouse. Do not tell them stories about how your ex-wife/husband doesn’t love them enough, even if you believe that yourself. Being a good dad, don’t use emotional blackmail. Your children don’t have to be eternally affected by your divorce if you don’t make it so.
You are an adult in that relationship, make sure it stays that way. If you need to tell something to your ex-spouse, do it. Don’t tell the children and ask them to do the job for you. Divorced dads should be the one who take care of kids and provide support. Don’t let them become caregivers.
4. Expect turns and twists
In theprocess of divorce, children often suffer the most. They sometimes have to go to the court, which is particularly stressful. They have to literally or implicitly choose a side, and often their life turns upside down.
You should expect different behaviors. Sometimes they will express love; sometimes they will be angry, at times they wouldn’t talk to you. Don’t be surprised if they regress in their behavior one day. They might ask you to help them with regular activities like dressing or feeding and then push you away when you offer to help the next day.
Be tolerant and show unconditional love. For being a good dad after divorce, even if they are with you only during weekends or once a month, or only on holidays, don’t abandon your role as a father. Call them when you are not together, check in with them, ask if they need anything, show concern. As divorced dads, this way you will successfully maintain a healthy and warm father-child relationship.
If you assess that your children’s behavior has become too distorted, consult a child psychologist. You don’t have to take your kid for the first visit. You can just go alone and seek information on what is expected in a given situation. Specialist’s opinion might calm you down.
5. Don’t buy your children’s love
This happens too often with divorced parents, especially if both sides have enough money to provide everything their kids need. Showing your love for children doesn’t mean divorced dads or moms should buy them toys or give them money. Instead, you shouldspend quality time with them.
Parents might end up in the constant race of who will offer more, financially. But, kids are smart little creatures. They know when someone is buying their love and they will either be insulted or learn how to abuse your weakness. So, be careful.
Life after divorce for dads becomes all the more challenging. From setting routine visits and at the same time, leaving no stones unturned to give their children a good life despite the separation, is difficult.
As divorced dads, your role in the marriage might change but your role as a father doesn’t. In the video below, “Dr. Mark Trahan divulges new research about male confidence in being a parent, discusses challenges fathers face, and suggests steps fathers and mothers can take to create a father friendly family.”
Watch the video to know how to be a good father:
To solve your query of how to be a great father, know that whatever you do, put your children’s well-being and happiness in the first place. Nothing matters more. Lastly, for divorced fathers, a good relationship with your kids will help you heal your wounds faster. Love them, play with them, be kind to them and the pain will eventually go.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.