Newly divorced dad
7 Rules All Divorced Dads Need to Follow, According to Experts
No matter how hard parents may try to resolve the problems that occur between them, and no matter what lengths they go to make things work, separation or divorce is often the only option.
With 36% of all marriages ending in with that outcome, the United States has the third-highest divorce rate in the world. Perhaps a more heart-breaking statistic is that 50% of all American children will witness the end of their parents’ marriage. The impact can be life-changing.
As a father, the way you manage the process of divorce, to get the best from a bad situation while ensuring your actions have little if any harmful impact upon your children, is vital. But what should you keep in mind? To offer some advice and hard-fought wisdom on the subject, we spoke to a variety of fathers-who’ve-been-there as well as divorce experts. Here is the divorce advice for men all dads should keep in mind.1. Don’t Go It Alone
“Do not attempt to manage a divorce without professional legal help,” insists Roy Smith, not his real name, a divorced father of two from Pennsylvania. “Although you might be tempted to ‘work things out’ you can soon find that co-parenting issues emerge, or something else like money gets in the way. It is best to consult with professionals and to use a mediator if possible.”
Even if the initial separation runs relatively smoothly, be prepared for complications further down the line. “People tend to come to us when things have gone wrong – and our data shows that’s around three years after separation,” explains Adam Colthorpe, Chair of Trustees for Dadsunlimited.org, a UK-based advice and support service for parents, grandparents, and guardians.
What tends to happen, per Colthorpe, is this: Things go fine for a while. But sooner or later one of the parents gets a new partner, or something else emerges that renews conflict. “These can be geographic changes – one parent moving home – or the children progressing from one age group to another, or a health issue occurring in a child,’ he says.
2. Avoid Dishing Dirt
It’s crucial for both parties to either not discuss their ex or only mention them to the kids in a positive light, suggests Mediator Dori sSwirtz of DivorceHarmony. “It can only hurt the children if you speak negatively to them about their other parent,” she says. “ It’s best for Dads to focus on their own relationship with the kids and really tune in to their wants and needs.”
In Shwirtz’s experience many dads actually grow closer to their kids with divorce. “Since they may have limited time together, they use that time to connect and appreciate their special relationship.”
Roy Smith concurs. He advises dads to keep a level head and remember that your children need both parents. It’s important, he adds, to not disparage the other parent in front of the children and not be passive-aggressive either — your kids can pick up on it.
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about children is that on some level they understand that they are a split of their parents and when you disparage one, you are disparaging your child,” says Smith.
3. Consider Mediation
“Mediation is a crucial piece of the puzzle for the majority of divorcing couples,” insists Shwirtz. Mediation empowers both parties to make the decisions for themselves. “When it comes to their mutual priority — the children — nobody knows what to do better than the parents.”
In most cases, Shwirtz adds, it’s in the best interest of the children if mom and dad are making the decisions via mediation and not a judge who knows nothing about them. “They are also more likely to carry out their agreement since it was made by them,” she says.
Addressing and agreeing on issues via mediation at the earliest stage is vital, according to Roy Smith, who insists that it’s important to avoid seeing divorce as a ‘closure’.
“Certainly, there was a part of me that believed once we were divorced that parenting would be easier but this is not usually the case,” he says, “I found that whatever issues are causing you to get divorced in the first place will most likely be present during the remainder of your co-parenting.”
4. Please Don’t Use Your Kids As Pawns
Children can easily become weapons in a battle between parents, witnessing raw emotions, and often being manipulated by one or both parents if things turn toxic.
“I always tell both parties you can only control your own behavior when it comes to interactions with your children,” warns Shwirtz. “It can be frustrating sometimes if you don’t like what your ex is doing with the kids but as long as they’re not putting them in danger, you really don’t have a say anymore.”
Abide by any agreements, disentangle your children from arguments where possible, and don’t attempt to distort the reality of what they’re witnessing.
“I was the victim of that in my situation,” explains Jonathan, not his real name, a separated father of two from New Jersey. “My ex would say things about me to our children whenever they were staying with her during our separation. Just lies in order to make me sound like it was all my fault. I tried to just stay the course, to make everything as stable as I could for them. I’d say things like ‘Mom’s just saying stuff because she’s not dealing with this very well. But inside I was angry and upset.”
Instead, have faith in their resilience and ability to see reality, Jonathan suggests. “Over time the kids just realized what she was doing. They’d repeat back to me what she’d told them and then say ‘We know mom’s lying.’ It hurt because I didn’t want them to not have a good relationship with their mother, but they could tell what the truth was. As my daughter especially gets older, she sees right through the lies.”
5. Don’t Take A Step Back
“I see some dads disengage at the outset and not speak up with what they really want,” warns Shwirtz. “Sometimes this is out of guilt or they think it will be best for the kids if mom makes most of the decisions.”
Shwirtz cites the example of a couple she mediated for. “They had a child with possible special needs. The dad conceded everything having to do with the child’s care to the mother and now about a year after the divorce he wishes he could go back and have shared parental responsibility.”
It’s a view echoed by Smith. “I think we often let our society norms dictate the separation/divorce process and so many dads end up with a shorter time of custody,” he insists.
“So often fathers will default to less than 50 percent custody or to some arrangement that isn’t equal. If you are planning on splitting the co-parenting responsibilities than you should make sure the divorce process sets the stage for a true 50-50 split.”6. Get Advice From Supporters, Not Cheerleaders
“Be aware of the impact separation and divorce may have on your new partner and try not to use them as a sound board,” suggests Colthorpe. “The damage from your previous relationship can impact upon your new one if you’re constantly airing your grievances around your new partner.” Instead find a third-party confidant.
If not a close friend, then talk to a therapist or a counsellor, he adds. At the very least make sure you have a good balance of people around you; not just yes-men who provide you with an echo chamber for your own thoughts which can just amplify problems. “You also need friends who stand up to you and challenge your train of thought,” he says.7. Listen to the Children
It seems obvious, but in the crossfire of adult conflict it’s often the kids voices that aren’t being heard. “I always recommend both parents engage the services of a family therapist at least in the short term,” advises Shwirtz.
“Kids may say they’re fine but it’s important to give them attention and make sure any thoughts or feelings they are having don’t get lost in the shuffle,” says Shwirtz. Age-appropriate talks with dad are also important. “The kids are stakeholders in the divorce as part of the family and are entitled to know certain things,” adds Shwirtz. “They will feel important and valued if both parents share some details and sharing with them can encourage them to share what they are feeling as well.”
Colthorpe agrees and poignantly cites some of the statements taken from children who have witnessed the breakdown of their parents’ relationship. “These are the best evidence for the need to give your children the time and space to speak. ”
Collated by the UK Family Justice Young People’s Board these are requests, voiced and written by children, during their parents’ divorce.
They include; ‘Remember I have the right to see both of my parents, as long as it is safe for me.’ Also; ‘Don’t make permanent decisions about my life based on how you feel at the moment,’ And ‘Please keep my other parent updated about my needs and what is happening for me. I might need their help, too.’
As is so often the case, the wisest words do come out of the mouths of babes.
This article was originally published on
Becoming A Single Dad After DivorceSkip to content
Valerie Keene, J.D.2021-10-06T15:50:54+00:00
One of the hardest parts of the divorce process for men is being a single dad after divorce. If your own father was not an active part in your life, you may feel like you disappointed your kids. Becoming a single dad after divorce is no easy feat, but if you confront your fears and embrace your new role as a divorced single dad, you may surprise your kids and yourself at your ability to be a good parent, with or without a partner by your side.
Healing & Self Care
As a man, you likely sacrificed a lot for your spouse and children. You might be approaching divorce with the same mindset, that you need to put your kids’ needs above yours at all time. However, this can quickly become a recipe for disaster if you neglect your own self-care.
Self-care is what you do to take care of yourself physically and mentally. How to be a good father after divorce often depends on your ability to recognize and prioritize your own needs. You will not be able to do a good job of taking care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.
Sometimes, self-care is just taking care of the basics in life, such as:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a balanced diet
- Seeking medical treatment when you need it
After divorce, self-care may mean taking some extra time to heal from the loss of your marriage and your thoughts of the future. Accept the love and support your friends and family are offering you. Try to avoid alienating yourself. Reach out to your other divorced single dad friends for advice. Know that it is perfectly fine to reach out to others for help and to ask for a break while you recharge your batteries. Do the things that have brought you joy in the past.
Also, don’t be afraid to try out new things that can help you better cope. Relaxation and mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, and visual imagery can help calm and center you.
Taking these proactive steps will help you be the healthiest form of yourself, give you energy to devote to your kids, and help you handle new stressors in your life.
See also: Becoming A Single Mom After Divorce
Parenting as a newly single dad can be tough. Being a divorced dad often means that you have to do all the work yourself. If you were more hands-off during your marriage, you might not know how to handle certain situations. Your children might be missing their other parent or the way they approached things.
As a single dad after divorce, you may also struggle with difficult emotions. You may feel guilty that you weren’t able to keep the marriage together. This may influence you to over-indulge your children or try to buy material things to make up for the emotional loss they are dealing with. You might also be too soft with discipline because you are afraid of alienating your children or making them not want to visit with you.
Double The Work: Taking On Both Roles
Newly single dads often have to take on both parenting roles. Many men find the nurturing aspect difficult, especially if their spouse largely covered this role in the past.
Additionally, newly single dads might have to take on all of the household duties, too, like cooking and cleaning. Meanwhile, they must still continue their typical job and fulfill work obligations. These many competing obligations can strain the best of fathers.
Disruptive Behavior From The Kids
It is not uncommon for children of divorce to start acting out. Divorce can have a major effect on children. They may blame themselves for the divorce. They may feel abandoned because one of their parents is no longer in the home. They might suffer from social or cognitive harm, including:
- Delinquent and aggressive behavior
- Antisocial behavior
Divorce can completely change a child’s life, which helps explain why children often have trouble adapting to this change, start performing badly in school, and act out. Sometimes, the behavior is intentional and a cry for attention. Other times, children simply lack the skills to communicate how they are feeling.
Read below for some tips to help mitigate these negative behaviors and how to deal with them.
Tips on How to Be a Good Father After Divorce
Some ways to be a good single dad after divorce include:
Your children may not know the rules in your new place. Sit down with them and discuss them. Set rules and consequences and stick to them. You might worry that your kids will love you less if you’re “hard” on them, but providing a roadmap for what is and is not acceptable behavior is showing you love them.
Maintain Routine & Structure
Divorce can be disorienting. It’s easy to slip into a different lifestyle when you don’t have to take into consideration a partner’s preferences and opinions. However, children thrive on routine, structure, and consistency, so it is important to maintain as much of your children’s “normal” as possible.
Be consistent with discipline. Your kids should know that you can be trusted to maintain a stable and structured life for them.
Spend Quality Time Together
More than anything, your kid just wants to know you still love them. The best way to do this is to make time for them and to spend it in a loving way. You don’t have to be elaborate here. Playing a board game together or working on a project can be a great way to (re)connect with your child.
Maintain a Civil Relationship with Your Ex
Even if your relationship with your ex ended badly, remember that your ex is still your child’s other parent. Criticizing them can make your child defensive and seem like they are the ones being criticized. Never speak badly about your ex in front of your kids. If you can’t manage a positive co-parenting relationship in the beginning, aim for a civil or professional one. Over time, you may get better at the co-parenting thing as your emotions die down.
Look for Available Resources
There are plenty of resources for divorced dads, both locally and online; you just have to look for them. Don’t be afraid to look for advice for “dads divorce” or “how to be a good single father.” Millions of other fathers have walked the same path you are on, and you can learn from them.
One of the main ways that you can support your children through the divorce process is to consistently pay child support. Divorce can strain a family’s finances since two households must now be supported with the same amount of income. Child support helps ensure that your child has what they need, regardless of where they are living.
As part of your divorce, be sure that you understand your child support obligation, including how often it is paid, the method of payment, and the amount. If you suffer a financial setback like a disability or job loss, be sure you communicate this to your ex so that they are prepared. If the child support obligation becomes too much to handle, you may be able to seek a modification of your child support order.
Joint custody can be legal, in which you and your ex make decisions about your child together, physical, in which you share parenting time with the other parent, or both. With joint physical custody, you may have substantially more time with your child than when there is sole custody. Your child will live with you some of the time and with your ex the other part of the time. You will want to set up your home to reflect your joint custody situation, such as giving your child their own room, if possible.
When you have joint custody, you will need to co-parent with your ex in a positive manner. You will need to be prepared to discuss important things concerning your child and work as a team. You will want to be flexible where you can, such as if a work obligation affects parenting time.
At some point, you might want to get back into the dating pool. Dating as a single dad is a little different than when you were single. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
1. Consider What You’re Looking For
If you have just gotten out of a marriage, you might not be looking for anything serious. That’s okay! It can be fun to get back into the swing of things and just look for something physical to start with.
If you are looking for something more serious and considering finding a new partner, the process will be much different. You don’t only need to look for someone you are compatible with, but also someone who will get along well with your kids.
2. Start Slow
One of the biggest mistakes that men make after divorce is jumping into a serious relationship right away. This can prevent them from really grieving their marriage and also make them enter a new relationship with old baggage.
Try to ease into the dating scene. Take it slow. There is no rush. You will appreciate taking the time to get to know someone.
3. Tell Your Interest About Your Kids
You will want to tell any romantic interest you may become serious with about your kids. Do not wait too long, or your interest may feel you lied to them or misrepresented yourself. Some men might be scared this information will scare off new partners, but if your new interest runs away because you have kids, they weren’t right for you anyway. It’s better to know sooner rather than later so you don’t waste your time.
4. Be Selfish with Your Time
It is important that you are careful with your time with your new partner. You don’t want to alienate your kids or make them feel like you care more about your dating life than you do about them. If possible, try to schedule your dates when your kids are not around. Avoid having a revolving door of partners that your kids know about.
5. Wait to Introduce Your Kids
Wait to introduce your kids to your new partner until you become more serious. Schedule a brief introduction between them in a safe location. You can give your kids a brief opportunity to see your new interest and for your partner to get to know your kids a little bit.
Life as a single dad isn’t easy, but focusing on your kids and taking care of yourself can help you make the best of your new normal.
Valerie Keene graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law, was a finalist in the 2014 National Moot Court Competition, and participated in the Arkansas Law Review. She is a licensed attorney who primarily practices family law and estate planning. She is a regular contributor to several legal sites and her prolific writing career has focused on law, finance and business.
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5 mistakes of fathers who have recently gone through a divorce
- Expert advice
- 0-1 year
- 1-3 years
- 3-7 years
- 7-12 years
- children in the family
- family relationships
The breakup of a family becomes a serious test for all its members. First of all, the former spouses are concerned about how to mitigate the consequences of divorce for the child, it is also important to find ground under the feet of the mother - as a rule, it is with her that the children remain. However, not only the mother is in a difficult situation, but also the father of the child, because blood ties are not terminated by a court decision, and the father will need to develop a new scheme for communicating with his own child. Let's figure out what common mistakes in this difficult situation can be avoided.
1) Do not communicate with the child because of a bad relationship with his mother
Perhaps you want to minimize your contact with your ex-wife, wanting to leave everything that connected you with her, including the child, in the past. However, the child is not an “attachment” to the mother, but an independent person, and your relationship with him is a story removed from the conflict with his wife. For a child, you will forever remain a very important person. Yes, there will be other men in his environment: grandfathers, teachers, family friends, but you will forever remain your own father.
The importance of parents cannot be overestimated. Children, even if they do not outwardly show it, are hard pressed by the lack of communication with one of the parents. At school, I witnessed a conversation between two boys, when one said with sincere sadness that his dad did not come to him at all, and was amazed at how happy his friend was that he could communicate with both parents.
According to statistics, more than half of children grow up in single-parent families, but the risk of psychological trauma is significantly reduced if the child receives the attention of both parents, even if the father is "Sunday". The need of the child to be accepted by his father is so great that even in adulthood he retains the desire to restore this connection if it has been lost. It is truly impressive and touching how much a child is willing to forgive for the attention and love of his parents. In addition, it often happens that fathers themselves, over time, repent that, under the influence of emotions, they destroyed good, close relationships with their children.
2) Speak badly about your ex-wife and turn the child against the mother
Yes, you have your own grievances against your ex-wife and you may be very angry with her. But do not rush to make the child an ally in your enmity! For him, both mom and dad are two very significant people, so when he hears something bad about one of them, his world is ready to collapse. Thoughtlessly thrown: "You are as worthless as your mother!" - it sounds monstrous for a child, as if his mother is the worst person on earth.
There is no need to undermine the mother's authority by blaming her for all the sins and discussing with the child her supposedly “wrong behavior”. This will only lead to neurosis: the child will believe that he must choose which of the parents he loves more. Such a situation is traumatic, the child may begin to “play on two fronts” so as not to offend anyone, thereby becoming even more confused and learning to lie.
More severe consequences are possible. In practice, there was a case when, after a divorce, the father actively set the child against the mother, insulting her and telling her what an unworthy woman she was. But fate turned out so that after some time the couple got back together, but the child remained negative towards his mother. In the future, this may prevent him from building healthy relationships in his own family.
There is no need to drag the child into an adult conflict, telling the details of dissatisfaction with each other, and also look for support and empathy from the child - he cannot bear such a burden. This is your business with your ex-wife, which does not concern children. The child should know one thing - you love him, as before, and the divorce will not affect your attitude towards him in any way.
3) Introduce your child to your new girlfriend, if you are not going to connect your life with her
Do not rush to introduce your child to your new girlfriend, and, moreover, you should not position her as a substitute for mother. Your new companion is not the child's mother. He has only one mother, just like his father. Introduce your child to your beloved only when you have decided to unite life with her. In addition, it is desirable to coordinate this meeting with the former spouse. Acquaintance with frequently changing girlfriends will undermine the child's sense of stability, cause a feeling of helplessness and anger towards the father.
4) Giving gifts to a child or, conversely, not fulfilling his obligations
It happens that after a divorce, a father begins to shower a child with gifts, acting as a “good magician”. Often such a desire is caused either by guilt or by the desire to compete with the former spouse.
For example, a father feels guilty that the family broke up and tries to compensate for this with countless gifts and money so that the child does not feel disadvantaged. The danger of this approach is that it teaches the wrong attitude to money and brings up a consumer position in the child. The child will not be happy from this, and you are unlikely to enjoy the feeling that he loves you for gifts and skillfully manipulates your guilt. No matter how trite it may sound, but the time spent with the child is the most valuable gift for him. Especially if it's quality time. It happens that dad, having taken the child for the weekend, allows him to sit at home all day, eating sweets and playing on the tablet. Of course, in this situation, it is easy for the father, who allows everything, to become “good” in the mind of the child, and for the mother, who reminds her to do homework and monitors proper nutrition, “bad”. However, is such “authority” valuable and is such a pastime useful for your child if it turns from a one-time, fun “day of idleness” into a system?
The reverse position will also be unproductive: “if the child does not live with me, then I don't owe him anything” or “I want to give, but I don't want to”. The maintenance and upbringing of a child up to the age of 18 is the duty of both parents under the law, and compliance with this law is a sign of a responsible and mature person.
5) Pretend that nothing happened and try to “play family”
Many modern dads continue to “play family” even after a divorce: go on vacation with their ex-wife and children, arrange joint events, spend a lot of time on the territory mother of the child. Everything seems to look very nice from the outside, but this disrupts the logical course of life and confuses the child very much: “Why is dad not with us if we are having such a great time together?”. All this prepares fertile ground for the development of neuroses. The “unfinished story” appears because of the fear of hurting the child, but if the final decision was made to disperse, then it is necessary to dot the “i” and accept the fact that the divorce will hurt the child anyway.
To inform a child about a divorce, a family psychologist Marina Nakhalova recommends that the conversation be structured with the child in the following way: “Once upon a time we weren't parents, we were just a man and a woman who loved each other. As a result of this love, you appeared! And we were very happy to have you. After some time, we realized that as a man and a woman we can no longer be together, so we decided to leave, and we will always be your parents. Mom and dad will always be with you just like the right and left hand. You don't have to choose who to love, you can love both mom and dad equally. Our decision has nothing to do with you! We can no longer be together, but we still love you very much.0064 .
What kind of dad are you?
With the help of this test, the portal I am a parent offers to determine what kind of father you are. But the results of any test are not a dogma, but only an occasion for reflection, and better - a joint one. Trust yourself, because you know your family situation better than anyone.
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Communication with the baby after divorce
After the divorce, the father has the right to visit the child. The question of whether he needs to communicate with his parents, even if they are divorced, should be resolved positively. It is impossible to break blood ties, you can only weaken them. Men and women will remain mothers and fathers, whether they live with their children or not. As a rule, the mother is appointed as the guardian. It is up to fathers to argue about the right to see their children.
Another thing is how to organize communication between the baby and dad after the official divorce. Not all spouses break up on good terms. It is not uncommon for ex-husbands and wives to no longer want to see each other, to maintain any kind of contact. The Court is not interested in the opinion of preschool children as to which parent they would like to live with after a divorce. This question is automatically decided in favor of the mother.
But a baby cannot love or dislike, miss or forget his loved ones, guided by the court's executive decision. He often tells his mother: “I miss my dad!” Neither at two, nor at three, nor at five years old is it possible for him to understand why his life has changed dramatically, why he is in one place, and the person close to him, dad, is completely different. The degree of independence of preschoolers is not so great that they can visit their parent of their own free will whenever they want.
This means that divorced couples, despite mutual insults and mutual hostility, must agree in advance on the organization of communication, meetings with children after the entry into force of the court decision. You can’t share a daughter, a son, like a sofa or a TV, a garage, an apartment or a summer house. A child needs the love and support of both parents. The kid doesn’t care that mom doesn’t love dad now or dad met another woman.
It is unlikely that any specific recipes will be suitable for everyone, they will seem acceptable to all married couples without exception. For example, taking turns picking up a child from kindergarten, allowing dad to see each other at least twice a week, getting together on birthdays, and the like. This issue is decided individually in each case.
But I would like to give you a piece of advice – when you start discussing it, think least of all about your own ambitions and vanity, and more about the interests of your children. Even if you didn’t have a life together, but to deprive the baby of the joy of communicating with a loved one and a person close to him - neither you nor anyone else has such a right.
Some offended mothers do their best to limit such meetings, justifying this by saying that after them the children feel unhappy, or during such visits the children are not taken care of properly, or the visits take place in inappropriate places, and there they overwork and pick up all sorts of infections . Fathers are accused of indulging their children during dates and showing them excessive indulgence, not paying any attention to them, setting them against their mothers, never coming for them when it was agreed, and never returning them on time .
There is often some truth in such accusations. If the father has not remarried and has no real home, it may be difficult for him to find a suitable joint occupation for himself and the child for the few days that he spends with him. Nevertheless, mothers, in search of a suitable reason for accusation, easily exaggerate the dangers to which the child is allegedly exposed and which they learn about from the meager information literally pulled from the baby after the date.
If moms often show their dislike for ex-spouses by creating unnecessary complications during dates with children, many dads respond consciously or subconsciously to revenge on them by withholding cash payments. As a result, Mom becomes even more difficult to communicate, according to which Dad's heart hardens even more.
If there is at least some perverted logic in the relationship of parents after a divorce, then what is happening to the child is a monstrous injustice. He needs the company and attention of his father, regardless of whether he is solvent or not. And of course, situations when a mother tells her son or daughter to beg money from her father or when the father sends angry messages to mother through them become the height of indecency.
In my practice, there were different cases. For example, I will give excerpts from conversations with divorced mothers. Opinions are different.
“My husband and I have recently separated. For a while, I sent the children to another city, to my grandmother. The ex-husband is extremely unhappy with this. He insists on meeting regularly with the children, wants to take them to his place for the weekend. And I'm afraid he will turn the guys against me. And why tease the kids? They will still live with me.”
“Tell me how best to organize communication between the son and the father. Both I and he now have new families. But I believe that native blood should not be forgotten.
Very young children should see their father often enough so that their mutual feelings do not fade away, that is, once a week or, if it is more convenient, once every two weeks. At the age of one or two, such meetings may consist of a walk together, a car trip, or a visit to the nearest playground. The duration of the meetings should gradually increase. When he is three or four years old, it is good for him to spend one of the weekend nights at his father's house, at least every other week. If there is such an opportunity, at four or five years old the baby should be given the opportunity to spend part of the summer time with his father, relaxing with him, or at some other period.
A few words about fears. It is unlikely that a reasonable adult will turn a child against a father or mother. And this is usually feared by those who themselves sin with such things. Another thing is the unconscious desire to pull the baby to his side. And this is done under the guise of the best intentions. Parents deprived of guardianship explain their actions in approximately the same way: if we see each other so rarely, it’s not a sin to buy a more expensive gift for the baby, to coincide with the time of the date with more entertainment, to let him play pranks and indulge, there is nothing terrible and reprehensible. But such actions cause inevitable reproaches from the guardians in an effort to spoil the baby, set him up negatively.
Listening to adults and observing their behavior, four- and five-year-olds draw their own conclusions about who is good and who is bad. And the next meeting with dad ends with tears of resentment and disappointment in the wisdom and insight of the closest person.
If feeding a child with chocolate and ice cream, long trips to a cafe, a stadium, a cultural park or a zoo is not the best pastime, then what to do when meeting with a child?
Let the answer to this question not seem provocative. Preschool children are better suited for ways of organizing that do not break their usual rhythm of life. If a child spends most of his time at home with his mother, then it is better to meet with his father at home. If the baby is used to long walks, loves to play with peers, then it is better to spend these hours in the yard. Of course, dads will have to sacrifice their self-esteem, maybe for some time to become the object of general attention and discussion of others, but this is for the sake of the happiness and well-being of children, and gossip subsides quickly enough.
What if a child is separated not only from his father, but also from his brothers, sisters, grandparents? No legal references will help here. You have to rely only on the wisdom of adults. We must not forget about his attachment to other relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) from the former spouse. No matter how jarring you are, you should provide for the possibility of communication between the baby and them. Mothers act very wisely, consciously maintaining these connections and accustoming children to the idea that nothing has changed and cannot change in the relationship between the child and the father, his relatives. Difficulties in meeting with the father often arise in cases where both parents treat them with all possible responsibility. If common sense does not prevail in an effort to somehow compensate for his constant absence, the father may not be able to resist the temptation to rely on such forms of relationship with the child as gifts, excursions and entertainment. And the point is not at all that children, as a result, can become more attached to their fathers, as mothers are afraid of.
Of course, every child likes such events, and he can tell his mother about them with exaggerated enthusiasm in the hope of corresponding manifestations of love from her side. Nevertheless, deep down, he understands that parental devotion and a kind guiding hand are much more important to him.
My experience shows that children despise those parents who, not feeling true love for them, try to pay off with expensive gifts and other pleasant things.
If I were a estranged father who sees his son or daughter once a week or once every two weeks, I would feel like I'm apologizing to them for something, giving gifts or arranging some unusual entertainment every time I see them. All this should be reserved for special occasions, and in the course of ordinary dates, behave as if it was in them (dating) that the main pleasure lies for both.
It is important to consider that visits used for excursions provide too few opportunities to maintain and strengthen the close relationship between the child and the father. (After all, in order to renew contact and mutual understanding, time and a certain tact are required even after a week's separation.)
I suggest during the meeting to do some housework together, play interesting games, both verbal, educational and mobile, read an interesting book.
However, there are no such people, even of the same age, who could communicate with each other with unflagging interest for an indefinitely long time, so meetings should be planned so that at some point everyone has the opportunity to do some of their own business : to read or tinker with something interesting for him alone, while remaining together at the same time.
It is very good if, where the father lives, the child has his own toys, collections and friends, to whom he can return during the visit. However, you should not bring the matter to the point of absurdity and, having put the baby in your office or in the car, switch to current work affairs, unless the case found for the child captures him completely and completely. In the same way as in complete families, a child of any age will enjoy the opportunity, in the same team with dad, to compete in something with another dad and child or even with another family during an excursion, picnic, short trip.
If the father lives in another area or city, the meeting schedule depends on distance and finances. Distance does not reduce children's need for a dad, but it is a plausible explanation for why dating has become less frequent if that explanation is not used too often.
In such situations, you should make the most of summer time, when dad can have a vacation and there is an opportunity to spend it together. It is important, however, that at other times dad reminds of himself at least once a week - by letter, postcard, phone call - showing that the baby occupies the same important place in his heart as before. Special attention is required for such events as birthday, New Year, Christmas.
The regularity of meetings for a child is of great importance, since his faith in his father always suffers if he does not appear when he is expected. Of course, some dads whose job duties include the possibility of unscheduled weekend work can count on partial understanding. However, in these cases, dads, who clearly understand how the baby is waiting for such meetings, are obliged to do everything in their power not to be late and not cancel visits. (Young children can't help but wait, even if they know there's nothing to look forward to today.)
More often, however, it happens that long-standing hostility towards the ex-wife and a feeling of guilt towards her and the child prevent dating. The father avoids meetings with his ex-wife, as they make him remember all the bitterness of the experience again, once again feel his unenviable position as a “Sunday dad”, and also, perhaps, remember the last delay in alimony. It happens that a woman does not miss the opportunity to express her contempt to her ex-husband.
It seems to me that if such cancellations of appointments happen too often, the mother should find a way to explain to the father how much their child is suffering. But if the father refuses to recognize the importance of dating and, continuing to avoid them, disappears for whole months, the mother will have to explain to the baby that the reason is not that the father does not love him, but that he probably continues to be angry with his mother and very suffers because he never managed to learn how to live with her, and tries to forget everything that made him suffer so much.
A boy who identifies with his father to a large extent needs to see and communicate with him as often as possible in order to have a good role model in front of him. In a girl, communication with her father forms other qualities than in a boy. But for her, these meetings are no less important. Her future relationship with males, with whom she will have to deal with for the rest of her life and with one of whom (I hope so) she will live all her adult years, will be critically influenced by her experience with her father, as well as his image. formed on the basis of what she knows about him. If a girl is disappointed in her father, or if what she hears makes her think badly of him, this will first of all affect her ability to find a good husband for herself and trust him in the most detrimental way.
From all this it does not follow that the children of divorced parents are not destined to grow up peacefully and happily, and as adults, to be happy in marriage. For many, this is exactly what happens. However, it is in your power, dear parents, even if you are divorced, to raise children as self-sufficient individuals, for whom everything will turn out well in life.
I want to once again draw your attention to how it is necessary for a child to communicate with his father after the divorce of his parents, especially for boys. Between the ages of two and three, the boy realizes more or less clearly that he is destined to become a man.
From this time until the age of six, he begins to imitate his father in all seriousness, first of all, older brothers, if he has any, other men, to whom he is friendly. The child inquisitively observes what and how they like to do, how, in their opinion, they should and should not behave, how they treat each other and women, how they talk, what are the characteristic features of their behavior, what feelings they experience in certain circumstances which of these feelings are expressed openly, and which ones they try to hide, what they are afraid of.
All day long the boy plays men's activities - rolling on the floor of a car, building houses, shooting with a pistol, sitting behind the wheel of a car or at the controls of an airplane, pretending to be dad, playing "daughters-mothers".
Until the age of three, in boys, love for the mother has a tinge of dependence; between the ages of three and four, it becomes more and more distinctly romantic. By the age of four, a son may announce that he is going to marry his mother. By five or six, in connection with the increased worldly wisdom, the child denies the former desire that the mother belonged only to him.
After that, he ceases purposefully copying his father, because he feels that he is already a fairly close copy of him. Now he wants to be like the older boys - in appearance, mannerisms and interests.
I believe that tender attachment to mother between the ages of three and six is crucial to the formation of a boy's idealistic, romantic feelings in later adult life, through which he forms the image of a beautiful woman who will become the mother of his children.
Obviously, if there is no father in the family, it is much more difficult for a mother to make her relationship with her son as natural as it happens in complete families. She often feels lonely. No matter how healthy and mentally stable such a mother is, she will feel a desire to make her close friend out of her son (especially if she has no other children) and turn all her unspent tenderness on him.
The boy will try to remember or imagine the image of his father. A reasonable mother emphasizes her fidelity to the memory of her husband, her respect for him, as for the father of her child. For the good of her son, she will not belittle his image, no matter what she really thinks of him. She will support in her son respect for the collective image of the father, created on the basis of the qualities of his own father and the men he encounters in life: relatives, neighbors, mother's friends.
And now let's dwell on the relationship between mother and daughter in families without a father and the need for a girl to communicate with her father who left the family.
Mothers are less likely to worry about their ability to properly raise their daughter, because they learned everything they need to know about raising girls back in that distant time when they themselves were girls. This in itself is a big plus, as self-confident parents are able to raise a child with more ease than parents who constantly doubt their abilities. Yes, and the girl from the first days of her life will always have a role model before her eyes.
Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that a girl needs a father no less than a boy. Even in infancy and early childhood, she needs to get used to the fact that men are different from women, being at the same time the same creatures, only with their own external and internal distinctive features. Mom should not inspire her with a negative attitude towards men in general, despite her past grievances, the humiliation that she had to experience from her husband.
Between the ages of three and six, a girl needs a dad in the flesh, or at least a mental image of him, in order to form a sense of romantic attachment. This is where her mother should help her, that is, to create a positive image of her father.
If a daughter has few surviving memories of her father, she, like a boy, will create it based on the perception of the men she sees around, her mother's memories and her own dreams.
The image of this man, as well as the image of her mother's relationship with him, will probably have a strong influence on the formation of her ideal of her own married life in the future. That is why it is so important that mom helps to see her father in the best possible light.
Equally important is how the mother interacts with other men with whom the family comes into contact, whether on business or socially, and how she treats them. If a mother shows that, based on her life experience, she came to the conclusion that most men are selfish, unreliable and rude, the daughter can adopt this attitude and, as an adult, see only their worst qualities in men.
It is very wise for a mother to maintain as close relationships as possible with families of relatives or neighbors where there are fathers, so that the girl can gain experience by communicating with them during all kinds of parties, visiting, etc.