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How fathers can foster close relationships with their children

Father’s day is coming soon, so we thought we’d share some thoughts on fatherhood after a divorce. Before the divorce, dad was just dad with all the usual roles it involves. Now, the process of divorce will likely impact a father’s relationship with his children. Regardless of how amicable the divorce may be, it is a fact that mom and dad are no longer together living under the same roof.

Steps for maintaining the bonds

It can take a lot of work trying to help the children process what is happening. Generally speaking, patience and understanding will be essential for dad, especially when kids are acting out. Also strive to listen with open ears and do not rush to judge. Other more specific tips family experts recommend include:

  1. Make the children your priority: It can be tempting to focus on oneself after a divorce, but the priority should be on the children both in your thoughts and actions.
  2. Do not speak badly of your ex: Even if the children are mad at mom, resist the urge to pile it on, and certainly do not air your grievances in front of the children, valid though they may be.
  3. Do not use kids as intermediaries: Keep the kids out of the dialogue you have with the coparent. Good coparenting means communicating, so do it with the other parent, even if through an on-line portal if verbal interactions tend to deteriorate into hostile words.
  4. Stay in contact: Depending on schedules and parenting plans, try to skype or speak on the phone (or text) every day to stay involved in their daily activities. Now, dad will have to work a bit harder to hear the day-to-day triumphs and setbacks.
  5. Be reliable: Follow through on plans and be prompt – this shows children that they are your priority. Try to be available if someone needs a ride or help with homework.
  6. Attend extracurricular activities: Go to most or all of their games, dance performances or even school-related field trips. Do not rely on your ex to keep you informed about the activities. Establish your own direct contacts with coaches, teachers, schools, teams, and churches and encourage them all to copy you on all scheduling of activities for your children.
  7. Let them invite friends: Father/son or father/daughter time is precious, but bringing friends to an event or weekend trip will make them happy and shows self-assurance on the part of dad. Doing this will also help the children become more comfortable with this new post-divorce dynamic. Be sure to verify any such plans directly with the parents of those friends and take all necessary precautions to avoid inappropriate situations.

Divorce is not the end

Divorces can be particularly hard on the family, so it is vital to keep the stress under control and away from the children while still fighting for your own parental rights. An experienced Board-certified family law expert attorney in Collin County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas can work with clients to create equitable parenting plans and effectively resolve disputes so dads can continue to make their children priority number one.

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