10 Steps to Being a Great Divorced Father to your Children

After the divorce, it is more essential than ever that you be a good father for your kids. They’ll need you to be a stable, caring dad who they can rely upon to care for them and make their best interests a priority.

No matter how much of challenge child visitation rights, custody issues, or child support is wearing you down, it’s not the fault of your children and they should not be drawn into it. In this Divorced Fathers Rights answers guide, we want to share 10 steps to being a great divorced father to your children.

1. Keep Life as Normal As Possible

It will seem to your kids like their life has been turned upside down. And while they’ve been given a tough dose of reality to deal with, the more their life can remain the same, the faster their healing will begin. When in your care, make sure they attend their sports practices and games, music or dance lessons and concerts, their religious activities and other things which demonstrate normalcy for them. They may feel that everything has changed, but this will help they realize that continuity remains part of their lives.

2. Put them First, No Matter What!

This doesn’t mean you should spoil your kids, that’s not being a great dad to your kids after a divorce. But it does mean that you consistently put their needs above your own. If they’ve got a game Thursday night, but that’s your pool night with the buddies, or anything of this nature, your kids need to come first. Be at the game, stay home to help them with tough homework, take a vacation day if they are sick and need to be cared for. In short, put their needs first. These kinds of things go a long way toward helping a child feel secure and loved.

3. Give them Healthy Structure

When you’ve got custody or visitation with the kids, maintain healthy schedules that include bedtimes, a balance of chores and free time, time set aside in which they’re expected to do their homework, etc. Some dads abandon rules and discipline after a divorce, and it leads to poor results. In fact, lack of discipline only leads to spoiled children according to TodaysModernFamily.com, stating that, “parents should demand the same positive behavior from the children as they did prior to the divorce, or it can lead to an adult child who uses their childhood divorce as an excuse for negative behavior.”

Eat regular, healthy meals and expect them to be involved in age-appropriate food preparation and cleanup. Make sure they feel like a member of the household and not like a guest.

4. Spend Time with Your Kids

Time equals love. And keep this in mind: Quality time might be the key, but quality time can’t be quickly manufactured when you’ve got a half-hour to spare. It is most often the result of an investment of quantity time.

5. Be Civil to their Mother

Being a jerk is never a winning strategy. You may lose your kids respect, cause them to feel threatened, or worse, if it is consistent, may have your custody or visitation rights curtailed. Show the kids the proper way for adults to behave toward others who they have or have had significant problems with. Always treat mom nicely, you may need the same respect in return and make the divorce that much easier.

6. Move if Needed, to be Close to Them

If the mother is planning to move to a distance that makes it tough for you to see the kids, you may be able to fight it in the courts. But if unsuccessful, and your ex insists on moving away, be willing to move yourself closer to the kids. That will speak volumes to them and produce a wonderful return on investment in your relationship.

7. Build up Childrens Self-Esteem

Their self-image has taken a big hit. Go to work building it back up. Give them positive encouragement; set attainable goals for them and celebrate success. Tell them you love them and then back it up with actions.

8. Listen Attentively, But Don’t Make them Talk about the Divorce

Be all ears when they want to talk about what happened. If you sense they want to talk but are having trouble getting started, ask some lead-in questions. On the flip side, don’t force the conversation if they’re not ready. And if you’re not the person for them to talk with, arrange for them to see a counselor.

9. Date Privately

If or when you begin dating again, do it quietly. Most divorce experts suggest the kids should not meet any woman you’re dating until you and she are very serious about getting married. Oh, and if you can wait at least a year to start dating at all, you and the kids will benefit from the time to heal.  Don’t make one of the biggest mistakes as a divorced father by dating too early or bringing someone new into your childrens life too soon.

10. Have Thick Skin

If you’re not the custodial parent, there will be times when the kids don’t want to have their weekend with you because they’ll miss something they’d rather do. Be flexible without being a wimp, but don’t take it personally. If they’re mother starts dating a guy and they seem to get along with him well, don’t be jealous. Be glad that they’re not having to deal with a new person in their life that is a source of pain to them.

No doubt you want to be the best father you can be. Don’t expect to be perfect, but if you follow these steps to being a great divorced father to your kids, they’ll be winners and so will you.