Fatherhood–Still Critical, Even after Divorce
Here’s to the Dads!!
Father’s Day celebrates the critical role dads play. Children with actively-involved fathers are:
- less likely to be aggressive when angered
- less likely to engage in alcohol or drug usage
- less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior
- more likely to finish high school
- more likely to go to college
- more likely to succeed in their jobs
- more likely to engage well with peers
In short–active fathers lead to happier, more secure, more successful adults.
Staying active can be hard after divorce. Between school, sports and other activities–parents living together find it hard to find time with their children. From separate homes, the challenge only gets bigger. A few habits help dads stay engaged:
Habit 1–Make time to be with your children.
Carve out time to focus on your children. This can be harder than it sounds. Often, failure to make time for family was a key reason the marriage failed. The challenge grows if every interaction with their mom becomes a battle. But, the effort is worth it.
Schedule time to be with your children every week. Statistics say only one-sixth of children see their dad at least once a week after divorce. (Half never see their dad.) Relationships are created by spending time together, so building this habit into your schedule proves key. Even if you didn’t do this before, you can begin now.
If past interactions have been difficult, start small. Make dinner together. Fix a bike together. Throw a ball or read a book. The goal is to spend time together.
In person is best, but for dads that travel extensively or work long hours–Skype, phone calls, and letters can bridge the gap. The goal is regular interaction with your kiddos. Interaction focused on listening to their struggles, guiding their choices, and forming their character–not just on entertainment.
Habit 2–Participate in their interests
People love to be valued–children included. When you go to their games, listen to their piano practice, or help plan their 4-H project–you communicate, “Your interests matter to me.” Which translates, “You matter.” Kids who matter to their dads thrive.
Habit 3–Honor their mom.
Parents divorce each other, but children don’t. Children generally want to relate to both parents. Easily. Without guilt.
When you speak respectfully of mom (both when in front of children and with others), you free your children to move seamlessly between their parents. To build relationships with both. To enjoy both without ever feeling caught in the middle.
Dads–enjoy your day! You deserve it. You play a critical role in your children’s lives.
If figuring all this out proves overwhelming, The Resolution Center can help. Our Child and Family Advocacy services offer ongoing coaching for how to build healthy relationships between parent and child. Call 317-344-9740 or email info@TheResolutionCenterIndy.com for a free consultation.