Undoubtedly, divorce transforms the family and changes the lives of parents and their children. The relationship that can be most affected in this process is that of the father and his children; after all, he is the one who, after the separation, generally shares less time and experiences with them on a day-to-day basis.
To stay close to the children, you should aim to see them often, talk with them every day, be present in their lives and maintain an emotional connection.
Separation means the beginning of a new stage as a parent, in which you must adapt to the changes and take advantage of the time you have to share with your children.
Dedicate more time
When parents separate, they establish a schedule, according to which each one will live with the children, taking into account the specific state of affairs of the family and the needs of the children.
Establishing and fulfilling these agreements allows children to feel safe, schedule their activities and prepare for the new house. It is about creating a clear but flexible structure that responds to the needs of all and allows the parents to build a friendly and cooperative relationship around their children.
Tell them when they are going to be with their dad, help them face the fear of losing him. Talk to them and explain how routines will allow them to have realistic expectations of what life will be like at dad’s house.
Creating special rituals to perform when you are together, such as cooking, watching a movie, throwing around the football, etc., helps them feel safe, strengthens your emotional ties and maintains a family identity.
Keep improving the role of father
According to this source, after the separation, many men forget the responsibility they have as parents. It is common to hear them say: “I share so little time with my kid, so I want our meetings to be pleasant and fun. I’m not going to dedicate myself to correcting and disciplining them; I want them to want to be with me.”
This position can destabilize the children and generate difficulties with the mother, who feels that she has to do all the educating herself, and finds herself in competition for the kids’ attention.
It is essential to keep in mind that the routines, rules, and discipline that parents give their children, in addition to being their responsibility, transmit a message of security, guidance, and love; it shows them that even though their parents do not live together, the kid and father are still together. Furthermore, an organized house can also be fun.
Establish norms and limits
The children have to learn how to live in the new house of the father, respecting the rules that he establishes. Remember that this is also their home and they need to feel that they have a special place in it.
When everyone does what they want, it can generate chaos, causing insecurity and confusion in the children. The child will feel that the father is not able to play his role, and may try to become the “adult of the house”.
Building a home that creates security and belonging in children helps them know what to do when they are at home. It does not matter if the demands are different from those in his mother’s house.
What is intended is that little by little, children feel part of a stable family group where parents are the support; they still have a family, but now they live in two houses.
When children help with household chores and help form a team with their parents, they feel their importance and develop their autonomy.
Respect is not negotiable
Teaching children to respect their father from an early age will help them recognize themselves and others. Dad’s handling of the difficulties and conflicts during the divorce will teach them the best way to deal with difficult situations.
Keep calm, listen and allow respectful dialogue between your ex-partner and the children; this is the best example you can give them. Daily interaction, small exchanges. Children internalize the way parents act in their roles as a couple, and the model they observe will affect how they conduct themselves as adults.
Do not over-compensate with money
In accordance with this weblink, many men feel guilty about their divorce, about losing their place in the family and being a part-time father to their children. Even when money can become a tool to alleviate this guilt, it can generate tension between the father and his children.
For some separated parents it is difficult to say NO to the economic requests of the children. They feel that giving them pleasure is an excellent way to show love and compensate for their absence.
However, children need parents who do not provide them with everything they ask, as this encourages them to strive for what they want and accept that they cannot do or have everything they want.
Avoid conflict with the ex-partner
When the parents maintain or ratchet up conflicts post-divorce, the relationship between the father and his children tends to deteriorate. In these cases, children can get caught in the middle of the battle and a game of loyalties.
They feel that they should support the father whom they see as being in the weaker position; he is suffering more and may be assuming financial responsibilities. When mom and dad are respectful, cooperative and valued as parents, they allow the children to build a close and healthy relationship with both of them.
The economic difficulties of the parents
Agreements and money issues must be resolved in the absence of children. When they are assigned the role of financial counselors or intermediaries with their dad, they may blame him for the difficulties they are facing, and emotionally distance themselves. They may also feel responsible for the discussions between their parents and think that they are a burden for them.
Do not abandon your children
Some research has shown that when the relationship with the father deteriorates, the child feels a great sadness, which over time is replaced by feelings of anger towards him. An absent father has a negative impact on children; the immense pain they feel can lead them to eliminate this important figure in their lives. When children do not see their father again, they understand how small they are, feel and think that parents do not love them, and question their value and their right to be loved.
The challenge of the divorced father is to accompany the children in the transformation of the family. The father can help them develop affection and belonging in their new home, to make them feel that they are the most important people in their lives. Children can look forward to each new encounter with the father and always count on him.