There’s nothing easy about going through a divorce: the emotional stress, meetings with your attorney, going to court, signing documents, and being a father all at once. Everything becomes a little tougher during divorce proceedings, but being a dad shouldn’t be something you ever sacrifice despite the split with your wife. No matter what happens and how everything shakes out, you still have an obligation to your children and a responsibility to lead them throughout their lives. Just because your relationship with their mother has ended (at least partially) doesn’t mean you or your children deserve any less.
Here are some ways you can be a kick ass dad, even after your divorce:
1. Priority #1: Kids First … Always
This may seem obvious, but it is too often overlooked by parents going through a divorce and during the adjustment period after the divorce is finalized.
Your kids are first. Whether or not your estranged spouse and you agreed (or tried) to “stay together for the kids,” they come first and foremost in your life. The end of your divorce proceedings begins life anew as a “single” parent, making becoming the best father possible an even bigger priority. Never compromise the relationship you have with your kids in favor of work, friends, personal ambitions, or anything else. You are their father, and it is your responsibility to maintain that status in their lives even if it means laying down the things in your world that you hold steadfast to. Take time to “turn everything off” and spend quality time with your kids.
2. Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Your Ex-Wife
This is, without fail, the hardest thing you’ll have to do for your children, but keep in mind: it’s not about you anymore, it’s about your kids. Whether the end of your relationship with your children’s mother was amiable or downright nasty, you still owe it to your children to conduct yourself in a professional manner and act cordially around your former wife.
Prepare your heart now; the day is coming where the two of you will interact and you’re going to have to take the high road, if only for your children! Acting childishly towards your ex will only foster confusion, distention, polarization, and can perhaps be the biggest thing that can cause trouble for your children in the future. Knock-down drag-out arguments with your former wife certainly won’t show the kids how to conduct themselves in their own relationships or around their peers. Keep it simple, keep it civil.
3. Get Involved
Whether you’re already heavily involved in your kid’s life (lives) or it becomes a necessity out of circumstance, get involved and stay involved. In all likelihood, your children are active in school, sports, extracurricular activities, and with their friends. Take time to get involved in their interests and help guide those passions towards productive life skills and behaviors. All too often we see children with great promise in academics or athletics stumble and underachieve when their household environment collapses around them. Divorces are especially tough on adolescent young adults, but you can intervene, get involved, and guide them throughout this tough time by being there for them in their activities and lifestyles.
4. Set Goals and Standards with Your Kids
Being a dad after a divorce is not for pessimists. Much like being involved in your children’s lives, being a positive influence will teach them the right way to do things. Once the divorce dust settles, it’s time to do some soul searching of your own.
What ideals and values do you hold dearest and which of those are worth passing on and sharing with your kiddos? Establish in your mind what those things are and talk to your children about them in a positive way. The standards and morals you hold closest are the same things your kids will be brought up in for the rest of their years under your guidance and fatherhood. Additionally, set goals with your kids. They can be any goals (academic, athletic, extracurricular, etc.) but make sure they are something you both can work towards. This will help them adjust to life with separate parents and get their minds focused on positive things ahead.
Pro Tip: Make the Right Choice First
The #1 choice you can make for your kids is to choose to be their father following your divorce. Sometimes, this is as simple as learning how to best interact with your kids without their mom around or it may be an entirely new adventure. In either case, make the best choice for your kids to stand by them during one of the most challenging and emotional times of their lives. If you’re not being given equal parenting rights, getting the right attorney is critical. Call The Firm for Men today at 757-383-9184 for a consultation and make sure you get the custody you’re entitled to.