Being a parent is often difficult, and it is even harder after divorce. Many divorced dads want to stay actively involved in their children’s lives, which is complicated when the custody and visitation agreement is unbalanced.
This leaves frustrated dads wondering: How can I best be there for my kids? How can I help them heal from the divorce and build a strong relationship with them with the limited time I have? Although it isn’t easy, it can be done; and that’s what we’ll discuss in today’s post.
These tips were first shared by a man named Patrick Sallee, who is the divorced father of two girls. Much of his advice is similar to co-parenting tips we have written about in the past. They include:
- Never insulting or speaking ill of your child’s other parent or step-parent
- Look for opportunities to speak positively about your child’s other parent or step-parent
- Work with your co-parent to maintain consistent schedules, routines and house rules for your children
Sallee’s other tips are related to communication and availability. Being available whenever your kids want or need to talk can be an incredible source of comfort and reassurance to them. This means answering the phone as much as possible when they call. It could also mean letting them call their other parent when they are with you. Not every custody situation allows this type of open access. But if you can make it work, it could give your children priceless peace of mind.
Finally, Sallee says, you should just listen to your kids. And if they need to express anger or grief about the divorce, it is important to listen without trying to fix or dismissing their feelings.
Divorce is hard on the whole family. And children typically need to see for themselves that their parents are still there and still invested in them. Even if the custody situation isn’t ideal, these are some of the ways in which you can show your kids that their dad is going to be there always.
Source: The Huffington Post, “The Hardest Part Of Being A Divorced Dad,” Patrick Sallee, Sept. 22, 2015