Divorce is a big change in your life that might present unique challenges to being a good dad. You may not be able to see your children as often due to custody arrangements. Other events related to divorce such as moving, taking a new job, and remarriage can also bring unexpected challenges.
You can still be a great father – perhaps even a better father – after divorce. The ideas in this article for connecting with your children after divorce can give you a frame of reference for navigating your new life.
How Divorced Dads Can Grow Their Connection with Their Children
Being a good dad is about managing your relationship with your kids. Divorce does not change this fact. All divorce does is change the context for how you do it.
Have Consistent and Meaningful Contact with Your Children
Communication is a major part of your relationship with your kids. Your children need to know that you are still available to support and care for them even though you may not live with or see them as often. This requires creating environments and opportunities for your children to feel secure and want to have open dialogue with you.
Some practices that might help include:
- Keeping to your old routines as best you can (e.g., going out for ice cream every Friday)
- Making room for your kid’s new interests and sharing in those interests (such as attending their sporting events or band concerts)
- Being consistent in your actions and not overpromising
Divorce is a transition that can create feelings of uncertainty for your children. You can alleviate some of this uncertainty by staying consistent in your communication and interaction with them. Consistency will also allow you to observe changes in behavior or other concerns you may need to address.
Maintain the Other Relationships You Share with Your Children
Be mindful that your relationship with your children does not exist in isolation. A positive relationship with your ex-spouse, your other children, and extended family members can go a long way towards fostering a strong relationship with your children after divorce.
Positivity with your former spouse can be difficult and require compartmentalizing some of your feelings to focus on supporting your kids. There are many resources that can help with compromising on child care decisions, creating consistent rules for your kids, and other aspects of the new family dynamic.
Courteous interactions with your children’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents can also help your children know their support system is united in helping them. Additionally, these other relationships may grow to include new spouses, significant others, and their kids. You will want to handle these new relationships with respect and care for the sake of your children.
Above all, be kind and positive when dealing with other family members, especially when doing so in front of your kids.
Building New Relationships
In the course of your divorce, you may start to date or form new romantic relationships. Be cautious in how you approach these relationships with your children. They are already going to be questioning your commitment to them and how much time you will have for them after the divorce. Dating makes you less available and it can appear to a child that they need to compete for your attention. Give thought to how your behavior will be perceived by your child and how it will impact your relationship with them. Always take special time with your child and instill in them a good understanding of your love and devotion. Demonstrate that they are the priority in your life, no matter what other relationships you might develop.
Seeking Professional Help for Your Divorce
Divorce does not necessarily make being a good dad more difficult. In fact, divorce can often be a positive catalyst for strengthening your relationship with your kids when done with a healthy attitude. Our do’s and don’ts list can give you some helpful guidance.
Children and money are the two big concerns most dads face when dealing with a divorce. You may need help understanding your legal rights and those of your children in order to make informed decisions about protecting them and your relationship with them.
Divorce Lawyers for Men is a network of Washington attorneys whose mission is to help you continue to be a good dad by handling your divorce with care and tact. This includes matters of child support and the creation of a thoughtful parenting plan that addresses custody, visitation rights, and other logistics. If your divorce is already finalized, but you have concerns over your current situation, you may also benefit from talking to us.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to explore your options.