You have a panel of experts. Sure, they may not be able to help you with the timing problems on your Gran Torino. They are probably not to be relied upon for workday fashion advice. Yet your children are a panel of experts about divorce. And they’d like a few words with you. Too many times, though, Dads are too busy trying to say the right thing to really listen. So, listen to what your kids are saying — things you should know about divorce for dads. Our panel of experts has convened.

Kids Shouldn’t Have to Choose Sides

Dad, please do not talk down about my Mom. I know you two had problems, but she is my Mom, and I love you both. So, when you feel angry, or upset, or annoyed by something, say what you want, but say it where I can’t hear you. I should not have to choose sides when I still have both my Mom and Dad.

Big Decisions Are for Big People

You are big, Dad, and I am little. I cannot make decisions for you, and I have a hard enough time deciding stuff for myself. So do not make me choose which parent I want to spend Christmas or my birthday with — work that out with Mom. I can deal with whatever you two decide (but I reserve the right to grumble), but leave the big decisions to the big people.

The Psychiatrist is Out

I am not Lucy Van Pelt. I am not your psychiatrist, and to prove it, I had to use a dictionary to write that word. I am not your counselor and I’m not your best friend. If you need advice on dealing with Mom, talk to someone who can really help you. I need a strong Dad who guides me, not a Dad who needs to lean on me. Me, I just want a hug, maybe $5, and some ice cream.

Don’t Deliberately Put Space Between Mom & Me

I didn’t say “no wedgies.” I know wedgies are part of being a kid with an older brother — I get that. I said no wedges. Do not put a wedge between Mom and me. When you try to stop me from seeing her, or find reasons to keep my time with her short, I get upset with you. Do it often enough, and I will resent the heck out of you.

You Passed Go

Every time you pass “Go” you are supposed to collect $200, and some of that is supposed to “Go” to supporting me. If I’m going to live with Mom, be fair to me, and fair to Mom, too. Pay what the courts say you should. When you keep that money for yourself, I don’t get all the food, clothes, school supplies, and hamster food I (and li’l Biscuit) need and deserve.

Be There, Always

Dad, you really are my hero. I need you to protect me, to love me, to keep a roof over my head, food on my table and warm covers on my bed. I need you to be there for me, since you and Mom decided you couldn’t be there together. Do not keep shaking up my here-and-now with any talk of not being around in the future. Keep being my hero. Be my Dad.

My Room, My Rules

Okay, it is your house when I visit, I know. But you have to give me space. I may want to come over and scream in a pillow because I am mad because you and Mom are never getting back together again. I am entitled to feel that way, so give me space to feel, and vent, and be upset, and cry when I need to. You can’t keep telling me “It’s going to be okay,” when I need time to find that out myself.

Packing Sucks

I’m not going on vacation or a faraway trip, but every time I have to go from one house to another, you make me pack a bag. I hate it. Other kids don’t pack up every weekend, don’t worry about forgetting their homework in your car, and don’t have to keep two of everything like toothbrushes and extra underpants.

You Are Not a Loser

You and Mom are still the best in my eyes. Neither of you is a loser. You may have made mistakes, but you always tell us that’s part of growing up. Maybe you both have some growing up to do — and well, so do I — but your divorce does not make you a loser.

Get Advice from The Divorce Lawyers for Dads!

Dad, I am not your best friend or psychiatrist. I sure am not your lawyer. If you need expert legal advice, try calling 757-383-9184 and ask for a consultation with a divorce lawyer for dads. The Firm for Men can help you through divorce, child support, and visitation problems. Me, I want ice cream. And maybe $5?

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