Parenting after a divorce can be a challenge for both mothers and fathers, but fathers can especially struggle with the transition.
A divorce can throw a wrench in the routines that may have existed since the child was born. Fathers may also worry about getting to spend enough time with their child, and making the most out of the time they do have together.
A family law attorney who specializes in father’s rights authored the book How to Be a Good Divorced Dad and recently provided several tips to Yahoo! Parenting for fathers who have recently gone through divorce.
Here are a few of the points that were made:
Consistency is key. The author said that the No. 1 thing a good dad does is to be there for his child. That means showing up when he says he’s going to, being emotionally present, and attending conferences and extra-curricular activities.
Take time to plan ahead. The author suggested to plan something more with your child than just watching TV. Making the time special with a trip to a museum or the movies can go a long way.
Respect your ex, especially in front of your child. When parents fight in front of their children, the children can get caught up in the middle and end up feeling like the split was their fault, the author said. Prevent this by not arguing with your ex in front of your child.
Keep lines of communication open. The author said fathers should listen more than they talk to encourage their child to open up. The focus on conversations should be on their needs, not yours, the author advised.
Keep up on child support. Not paying child support hurts the child the most, the author said. That’s why if you can’t afford the child support order in place, meet with a family law attorney who may be able to help you lower it.