A separation or divorce can be a punch to the gut, not just because of the relationship that’s been lost, but because of its impact on the children. If you are going through the divorce process or you are separating, it’s important to remember the following so you can still be a great dad.
Stick to the Legal Stipulations
The custody laws for unmarried couples are different from when you are married. It might be the case that you want to complete custody, but depending on where you are, there can be a range of legal ramifications. Rather than pouring your heart out in the lawyer’s office a la the end of Mrs. Doubtfire, it’s a good idea to have a practical and pragmatic understanding of what you are really entitled to.
Make the Most of Your Custody Arrangement
You will spend time coming up with the right solution that suits both you and your children. If you’ve got a custody arrangement which means you have half the time to yourself, you need to make the most of downtime in the right ways. Rather than using this opportunity to hang out with your friends, you could take advantage of this downtime to be a better version of yourself. This is the perfect opportunity for you to really understand what makes you a better parent.
Don’t Get Even With Your Ex
We can feel hurt, and we can on think that we need to get even in some way, even ideas of revenge mites loom large in our minds. The reality of the situation is that you may feel angry, but rather than getting even, you should only start a new relationship once the separation is completely final. Even if you do become romantically involved with someone, it’s important to be discreet. You have to remember that if you or your ex feels jealous, this can have a detrimental effect on the separation process and even more of a negative impact on the kids. The children need to feel like they’ve got two parents, and this means being mature, no matter how difficult it may be at the time.
You Do You!
It’s important to stick to your Instincts. You need to use this time effectively and specifically use the separation process as an opportunity to uncover what will help you be a better person. At this point, we can feel incredibly guilty, or we can feel like we are not operating at our optimum. It is essential for us to stick to our guns. You need to take this opportunity to take stock of the things that will make you a better person despite what has gone on.
When the separation process is done and dusted, you should feel like you have spent the time learning about yourself. Some fathers don’t necessarily think that they have had so much to learn, but this is quite possibly because they felt wronged. Every difficult part of life should be an amazing learning lesson. And this is why you should learn about who you are, especially in relation to who you were. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to be an even better dad and a bigger person. You may have been hurt by a number of comments, potentially relating to you being immature, and this is the perfect time for us to take stock and re-evaluate who we really are.
Pay Attention to Your Kids
Of the many ways that divorce impacts kids, the big one is that they can retreat into themselves. During the process, you’ve got to be aware of how it can affect your kids in many ways. Rather than feeling like the process will not impact your kids, it will, and if you notice any behavioral changes you need to address them as soon as possible. You may benefit from professional help, for example, a child counselor. But you can use this opportunity to pay attention to your children and to be an amazing dad at this time.
When it comes to changes in their behavior, you may think that it’s just a part of what is going on and that it will even out, but it’s so important for you to talk with your kids, and make sure that you are all communicating properly. Communication is one of those things that doesn’t just cause relationship breakdowns in parents, but between parents and children as well. Make sure that you are all communicating properly, by being open and honest.
Don’t Be Part-Time!
The fact of the matter is that divorce or separation can cause many parents to feel like they are part-time parents. While you can invest in your family in a number of ways, you can use separation as an opportunity to avoid being a part-time parent. You have the perfect opportunity for you to use this downtime effectively, not just in terms of looking after yourself, but about making sure that your time together is special. But this means that you should not think about making every other Saturday an adventure.
The reality is that as parents, we need all of that downtime, even when the children are in tow. If you think that you need to make every moment extra special, you might feel tempted to overcompensate and spend more on a credit card unnecessarily. To be a great dad during any form of separation, it’s important that we recognize that we may not see our children all the time but we can still message them if they have their own phone, and we can be in their lives in a variety of different ways.
As tough as separation can be on kids, you could use this opportunity as a way for you to be a far better version of who you are. Just because you have separated doesn’t mean that you are now an ineffective parent. Some parents are better off when they are apart because it means that they don’t have to work hard to fight for their relationship, but can actually focus on the children.
(Cover Image Source: Pexels)