Every parent that is going through a divorce is aware that – no matter what you do – the relationship between you and your children is going to change. Their whole world is going to be turned upside down and while you feel bad for that, you cannot be obligated to stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of the children. Instead, you have to work to ensure that you and your children come through this breakdown of a marriage with as little scarring as possible.
For this, you need to work on yourself. Dads always get a bad rep when it comes to a relationship breakdown – even when it’s not entirely their fault.
Usually, this comes down to the fact that dads are the main carer that moves into a new property, leaving the children in their home with their mother.
While this isn’t a bad thing because it ensures that the children have their home secured, it can mean that people don’t appreciate how important Dad is to the foundation of the family. So, you need to work on ensuring that you are the best Dad you can be once the relationship is over. Below, you will find five ways to do just that.
- Keep Your Emotions In Check. You are in an impossible situation. Moving out of the daily lives of your children is not simple, not when you’ve been there for every dinner and every bedtime story. However, this is your new normal and you have to keep your emotions in check so that you don’t take it out on your ex and the children. Develop a new circle of support in new friends. Go and exercise. Discover ways to get out the emotional tension that won’t have collateral damage in your ex and the kids.
- Give Your Children Room. If you think you have a lot to get used to, think of the kids. You’ve sat in rooms for many hours with child custody attorneys, hashing out arrangements for visitation and contact and they are the ones dealing with that. They need a little room to feel the big feelings and you are one of their safest spaces to do that. Let them tantrum and cry – just be there for them as they get used to this change.
- Stay A Parent. The guilt of leaving them is going to eat you up and that is something to deal with. However, you do not need to morph into an “anything, any time” Dad. Respect the rules and boundaries you and your ex have always had in place and live by them. You cannot buy your children or their affections and trying to do it only upsets the status quo. You don’t need to live under the same roof to maintain a solid family unit.
- Do More Than The Minimum. Were you granted access every other weekend? Force yourself to remain on good terms with your ex when your children are concerned, and make yourself available for your children when you can. Pick them up after school, jump in and help when your ex needs it. Let the kids know you will drop your life for theirs at any moment.
Grit Your Teeth And Stay Friends. You may not like your ex very much right now, but there needs to be mutual respect. You both made these children, and your children are half of her.
This means that you need to remain solid and positive in your interaction. Your children are watching your actions and will learn from you – remember that.