Divorce may end the relationship between the couple, but it should not adversely affect kids. The mother is usually granted custody, and Dads would have a limited visitation schedule.
If you are an active and hands-on dad, you may feel unwarranted anger, resentment, and frustration. Though it can be a devastating experience, it is also an opportunity to make the best of the time and become a better dad after a divorce.
Here are some ways how to be a better dad after a divorce:
Help the children deal with the situation
When children witness the breakdown of their parent’s marriage, they can be profoundly destabilized and impact their life’s social, psychological, and behavioral aspects. They may experience difficulty in resolving conflict or arguments with others and may experience increased feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness, and low self-worth. They may also engage in risky behaviors such as truancy, smoking, substance use, or early sexual activity.
However, when children have supportive parents, they develop resilience and grow well mentally and emotionally. As a father, it is crucial to help the children cope with the divorce by working through the child’s emotions. Listen to them, acknowledge and validate their feelings, and assure them of your love.
In a study, fathers who maintain communication or contact with their kids have a good relationship. It also assessed that education is negatively affected by the odds of having no contact with the father.
That is why maintaining communication using technology is critical in maintaining a healthy relationship with children. Be a better dad after a divorce by dedicating a time of the day to call in and check on the children. Let them feel they can contact you whenever they need you.
Spend quality time together
With a limited visitation schedule, make sure to spend quality time together. Play with them, talk to them, and do stuff they love doing. Even if you are not living in the same house, you can still create memories by spending time together and engaging fully when you are with them.
Be a present dad
As the founder of the Dad Coach, Craig Wilkinson, says, “You can be present in your children’s lives even if you are not physically present, by making them know that they are the highest priority in your life and by always being available for them to call on.”
Being a present dad does not necessarily mean physical presence, and it makes the children feel that they can count on you, call you, and always be there for them, even if it means listening to their stories repeatedly.
Pay the Child Support
One way to become a thoughtful and better dad after a divorce is by paying child support diligently. Though it can be taxing, however, it would be best if you made sure not to talk about child support in a negative light, especially in front of the children.
Be friends with their Mom
Being friends with the children’s Mom may be difficult, but the best thing you can do is keep things amicable and respectful with her. Children watching their parents’ quarrelling may bring up negative emotions.
As a father, become a role model by teaching the children respect and manners. In the long run, children will also feel safe and loved, eventually leading to a much greater chance of building a healthy and happy family.
Be mindful that starting a new family can trigger emotions
Coping with a divorce may be challenging, but putting kids first is something a parent must prioritize. Parents must see that kids still feel loved and valued despite the divorce.
The situation should never affect the relationship between parents and kids, even when starting a new family. Always be mindful of decisions in starting a new family, as it may trigger emotions.
Nevertheless, helping the children accept the possible reality of having another family in a positive light by keeping them involved and not making them feel lost and abandoned.
Divorce and parents’ separation may be too much to bear for the kids. The transition may not go smoothly, and there may be negative emotions along the way. However, putting the children as your priority may help them avoid the adverse effect of divorce.
Trying to become a better dad after the divorce is always worth it. With some planning, communication, and respect for their Mom, you can still find ways to lessen the effect of divorce on children, maintain a healthy relationship with them, and become a better Dad after a divorce.