Divorce can be very painful for everyone involved, especially the children. Even in the best of circumstances, a divorce is going to change the dynamic of the relationship between kids and parents, and that can be very hard to get used to. As a father, it is important to do everything you can to co-parent in a healthy way that will allow your kids to grow up well-adjusted and ready for whatever comes their way. The following are several proven ways that dads can help foster a healthy co-parenting environment.
Keep the Peace
Divorce and conflict really go hand in hand, and that can add a lot of stress and tension to any household. Children are able to pick up on this type of thing far too easily and it can have a very negative impact on their emotional wellbeing. Whenever possible, avoid conflict with your ex by following the parenting agreement. If the conflict can’t be avoided, make sure that it is not done with the kids present or even where they can hear it.
Plan for Quality Time with the Kids
No matter how much custody time you have with your children, do everything you can to really make it count. This can include planning fun outings to enjoy with your kids or even just spending time together at home. Try to find things that everyone enjoys, but even more importantly, find things that will help present opportunities for you to give advice and guidance to your children.
Be a Father First – Not a Friend
For many dads, it can be too easy to fall into the trap of just becoming your child’s friend rather than their father. While there is certainly nothing wrong with having a great relationship with your kids and enjoying fun activities together, being a parent should always come first. This means helping your children grow up and mature well by offering them advice guidance, and when necessary, discipline. This is especially important immediately after a divorce when your children will need stability the most.
Stay in Touch When Kids are with Mom
In almost all divorce cases, the mother is going to have the children at least some of the time. Whether in your case that means one night a month or most of the time, it is your responsibility to keep in touch with them. Try to set up a tradition where you call, facetime, text, or otherwise communicate with them at some point every day that they aren’t with you. This can go a long way toward helping maintain a strong fatherly bond.
Ease into Dating
If you decide to get back into dating at some point, make sure to take it slow. There is no need to introduce your children to every new woman that you go out with, or even those that become “semi-serious.” Having a parent dating again can cause a wide range of emotions in children, so make sure to keep that in mind when making any type of dating decisions.
In general, putting your kids first in all that you do is the best course of action. Of course, this can be more difficult than it sounds in many cases. With the right effort, however, all divorced parents can build and maintain a great relationship with their children.