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Dads and Divorce

By Edited Apr 28, 2014 14 24

As a divorced dad, you know that your relationship with your children has changed dramatically. It's heartbreaking. You have a father's full time love lived out on a part time basis. Your world may be full of painful nuances such as the children visiting you at your house, yet living with their mom in their home. Birthdays, holidays, and special days are challenging. If you or your ex-wife has a new relationship with someone, a new twist is added. Terms of a divorce decree and custody agreement may set parameters to your involvement with your children. Be sure to work within these parameters. How can you navigate through all of this? There are some specific things you can do in order to stay healthy and to provide a healthy, nurturing environment for your children. These can be challenging but the long term pay off is worth it.

SELF CARE: Attend to your basics: eat right, exercise, and get rest. Connect with a clergyperson, a friend, or a professional counselor who will be honest with you, keep confidences, and not take sides. They can help you deal with the powerful emotions that accompany divorce. Some of these emotions are: depression, anger, rage, bitterness, hatred, and rationalizing behavior that puts you at risk. Unresolved, they will harm your relationship with your children, adversely affect future relationships, and prevent you from working through the divorce experience in a healthy way. When faced with a major decision, talk to someone about it to get another perspective.

BE A MEMORY BULDER: There are basically two ways that you can try to build a relationship with your children. You can be Sugar Daddy, trying to buy their love and out buy their mother's love by giving them every toy and gizmo on the market. It won't work. Instead, be a Memory Builder. Memory Building is simple and consists of doing things with your children that create memories. It may be something as simple as looking at stars at night, or roasting hotdogs around a campfire, going to movies, hiking and biking, or having a picnic. Become involved in their sports events or hobbies. Get to know your children's schools and teachers. Accompany your children on school trips. Be a home room dad. Create new family traditions. Honor your promises to them. Show up when you say you will.

KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF THE MIDDLE. Don't try to build a healthy relationship with your children on the character destruction of their mother. You can't. Don't use them to pry into her life. Be flexible concerning visitation within the guidelines of the custody and visitation agreements to accommodate special unplanned events in your children's life. If you are the custodial parent, don't try to punish their mother by being inflexible and unaccommodating with their schedule. Your children will be hurt by this.

KEEP YOUR CHILDREN HEALTHY. When permitted by the scope of any custody agreement, arrange an appointment with their pediatrician and other doctors to introduce yourself. Be sure you are able to receive all information concerning their healthcare. Know their medications, allergies, medical histories, and status of vaccinations. The welfare and safety of your children are paramount. Don't hesitate to take appropriate action if you see signs of, or have suspicion of any form of abuse, or if they are living in a dangerous environment.

Being a divorced dad is hard and emotionally painful. It is challenging. By taking responsibility for your self care, working on building good memories with your children, and by looking out for the welfare of your children, you will create opportunities for you and your children to navigate the painful experience of divorce and develop a lasting relationship.



Aug 29, 2010 3:05pm
Another excellent article. I've been there and it's tough on everyone.
Aug 29, 2010 3:08pm
It sure is a wild ride for us dads.
Sep 3, 2010 5:36pm
This is an excellent article that I will have my ex-husband read. We have joint custody (the kids were with him last year and with me this year) but he is having a difficult time adjusting to their time with me. The advice is sound and I believe will help him get a handle on the balance of this custody year. Thank you!
Sep 3, 2010 5:53pm
Merwyn, It is challenging for a dad (and mom). I hope it goes well.
Sep 9, 2010 3:58am
Very good article. I like the focus on the dad. It seems that so often fathers are overlooked when divorce is discussed.
Sep 9, 2010 6:53am
Fathers can be overlooked. You are correct. Thanks for commenting.
Nov 17, 2010 12:37am
My Daughter's in Florida and I'm in New England It's been rough to miss her.
Nov 17, 2010 12:37am
Great article buy the way congratulations on your feature spot. Well deserved
Nov 17, 2010 6:51am
Congratulations on front page hit. This is an excellent article, I read it again.
Nov 17, 2010 9:09am
Congrats on your article getting featured, good information for those in this difficult situation.
Nov 17, 2010 9:46am
Thank you so much for this article. I am a divorced Dad and I can relate to everything you have said. I have come to the conclusion that Father's have no rights when it comes to divorce.
Nov 17, 2010 3:51pm
Great article very good advice. Congrats on front page. (^_^)b
Nov 17, 2010 10:26pm
Congrats on getting such a fine article with great advice on the front page.
Nov 18, 2010 4:35am
Wow!!! Was I surprised to learn of this honor. I really appreciate your comments. Thank you all.
Nov 18, 2010 7:54am
Great topic and still so true in this day and age.
Nov 18, 2010 8:41am
Great article. I married a divorced father ... almost 40 years ago. I encouraged him to do all those things, include build memories with his daughters. Today, we have a great relationship with his two grown daughters, and see them regularly. They are also very close to the two daughters he and I had together. When anyone asks me how many daughters I have, I always say FOUR. As far as we are concerned, there are no step-children or half-sisters in our family! :0)
Nov 18, 2010 7:25pm
Great article and very well written! I am a retired Marriage, Family Therapist and worked with many divorced couples. You really nailed the essentials for keeping a good relationship with your children while taking care of yourself. I think the most important piece is not to put the children in the middle of the adult conflict--you represented that very well. Great JOB!!!!
Nov 18, 2010 7:48pm
Great article that pertains to seniors divorcing, too. Especially about keeping the (adult) kids out of it.
Nov 19, 2010 12:47am
Congratulation for well written article and being featured
Dec 6, 2010 5:42am
Really well thought out article. My parents did not divorce until I was an adult but I wish my father had worked on building memories instead of becoming an evil person.
Dec 22, 2010 3:46pm
Very nicely written with very helpful positive information. Thank you for writing on this subject.
Dec 22, 2010 8:39pm
Nice article!
Jun 4, 2013 8:08pm
This is a great article offering therapheutic ideas to divorced dads.Be human,,extend empathy and sympathy to your children and ex-wife.
Jun 4, 2013 8:15pm
I would like to know,if you are
willing,to let me know what factors contibute to the high rate of divorce in us.
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