The statistics are grim. Nearly half of American marriages will end in divorce and it is estimated that close to 60% of those divorces will involve children. It’s easy to find all kinds of articles or TV shows that will tell horror stories about divorce and the effects on the kids.
So,what are some of the most important (positive) things divorced dads need to know? At Family Matters Law Group, we’ve been helping dads navigate divorce for many years. Here’s some of our best tips for divorced dads as you get set to rebuild your life and your family.
You didn’t divorce the kids -- you divorced their mom. While you may feel some distance from your kids due to the divorce, keep in mind that this is an opportunity to really reconnect with your children. You get a clean slate of sorts, and can establish a relationship with your children independent of your former spouse.
Likewise, your children need to experience unconditional love from you. They need to know that your love is steadfast and that the conflict of the divorce didn’t change that. Do your best to leave the conflict with your ex separate from your new home life.
Many divorced dads think they need to overdo how much time they spend with their children, as if they are going to be judged on how good a dad they are by a time criteria. If you are consistently and responsibly spending time with your kids, they will see you as a good father. Whether your job requires 12 hour workdays or you are living a military schedule, it’s not about quantity of time as it is consistent quality
Don’t make the mistake of feeling like you need to buy the affection of your children just because of the divorce. They are excited to spend time with you because you are their father in the same way you are excited to spend time with them. There is no need to go overboard with gifts and expensive vacations in an attempt to keep them entertained and happy.
Kids are resilient, much more than we give them credit for. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be a martyr and suffer because of the divorce, or the children are going to need to see a therapist due to their traumatized emotional state. This situation calls for a lot of open communication and expression on everyone’s part.
Find things that both you and the kids like doing so that they can see you enjoying yourself and moving forward. Encourage open and honest communication and make sure the children know that honestly expressing themselves is welcome. Trust your “inner dad” -- that voice that tells you when to be strict and when to be a little loose.
Above all, make sure the children know that when they are at your house, you have certain rules and standards you expect them to meet. If they can compartmentalize home and school, they can do the same for mom’s house and dad’s house. “But Mom lets us do it” is never an appropriate thing to say at your house.
If you are experiencing issues post-divorce, don’t hesitate to contact Family Matters Law Group. We made an investment in you and your family when we took you on as a client. Just because your case is over in court doesn’t mean we are no longer providing service.
If you have questions about things divorced dads need to know, contact our office today and let us guide you to some helpful resources. A successful transition to post-divorce life is within reach -- it may require a little work to get there, however. For all our clients in the metro Atlanta area, we look forward to hearing from you and assisting you as you rebuild your family life.