Board Certified Counselor
Father's Day is a wonderful way to recognize the dedication and love that so many fathers give unconditionally to their children each day.
Parenthood is by far the most important role that one may experience in a lifetime.
Here are some divorce tips for men to stay connected and help foster a good relationship with your children even if you are not the custodial parent.
It would be impossible for me to not think of my own dad on Father's Day who died when I was just a little girl.
I have pondered on many occasions how different my life would have been if he had been in my life for the last three decades to provide guidance, encouragement, love and support in the times when I needed it most.
Perhaps I would have been a better softball player if he was there to coach me or maybe I would have chosen to follow in his footsteps and pursued a career in law enforcement as opposed to becoming a therapist.
Would I have made the same mistakes? Perhaps some of the pain that I experienced when I was younger could have been prevented with the presence of my father?
The "what ifs" that I think of are endless. However, I know that dwelling on it will not change things but it is hard to not wonder.
The questions that I ask myself are not questions that you want your children to ask themselves when they grow to be adults, if you can at all prevent it.
Although death and divorce are very different they still emulate the feeling of “loss” for children. I cannot emphasize enough how vital your role is as a father for your children’s optimal development. You have the opportunity to have a tremendous influence on your children’s lives.
My top 3 divorce tips for men working through a divorce:
Children come first: Although things did not work in your marriage, remember that the children are the innocent bystanders. The differences you have with each other should be kept as such and the children should not feel that they are put in the middle.
The littlest things make a lasting impression: They will never forget the nightly phone calls you make, the birthday cards, you being present at their activities, or the time that you spend with them. You do not need to shower them with expensive gifts to show your love. Your time with them is priceless.
Talk to them and listen: Depending on the age, children may have a hard time expressing or verbalizing their feelings. Often, they don’t know what they are feeling and may resort to acting out as a result. Try to talk with them and ensure them that they are secure in knowing that they are loved. Of course, patience is necessary while working through the transition of divorce.
I know how challenging parenting can be and certainly a divorce thrown in the mix of it all makes life shall we say “interesting” at times, but please remember that there is no substitute for you as a father.
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Lisa Brown, MA, LPC, NCC, is a practicing therapist who helps people overcome life transitions specifically related to loss. For more information, visit her website www.counseling-helps.org.