Sometimes “I do” turns into “I can’t”.
What began as a loving partnership, becomes toxic, hurting you, and your kids. Have you recently gone through, or are about to go through a divorce?
You’re not alone, one out of every 2 marriages in America, turns into a divorce. As one chapter of your life is ending, another is ready to begin.
Free from your ex, you’re ready to be the dad you always wanted to. Yet, what do you do when the judge only grants you partial custody?
Being given “visitation” rights might feel like a slap in the face. After all, they’re your children too, don’t you deserve to be in their lives as well?
Instead of becoming filled with dread, it’s time for you to make the most of the situation. Your kids need you to be there for them now more than ever. Read on to learn about how to be a good dad with part-time custody.
How to Be a Good Dad
Being a father and being a good dad are two separate things. Almost any guy can father a child, but not everyone learns how to be a good dad. The road to being a successful parent has steep learning curves, twists, and bend.
Be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new role as a single father. Your presence still means the world to your children. No matter what’s happened, kids want to have a close relationship with their dad.
So remember, your ex may think less of you now, but your kids still feel the same. They see you as the awesome person you are and want your loving guidance.
Good dads will:
- Protect their children
- Create quality time
- Help with all aspects of childcare
- Be kind to Mom
Like with any other job, you’re bound to have off days. What matters is your ability to focus on the people who matter the most, your kids.
The children should always come first, no matter what upset you’re currently dealing with. Let’s look at a few ways you can prepare to be a single parent.
When Dad Moves Out
Will you be moving out of the house? Your new home should be close to where your kids live.
Living nearby isn’t only convenient, it helps you respond when you’re kids need you. Imagine, one of your kids gets hurt, and you’re a 2-hour drive away.
Don’t let distance, keep you from being a good dad. Stay within 30 minutes or less of wherever your kid’s primary home is.
Also, your new house or apartment has to be affordable. Late payments and unpaid bills will look bad to any custody judge.
Prepare Your Finances
Another piece of divorce advice for fathers is to find ways to increase their income.
When a divorce is in your near future, start saving. Legal proceedings, court costs, and lawyer fees will add up.
If you’ve already finalized your divorce, you’re well aware of the toll it takes on your finances. Once the divorce is over, you’ll need extra funds to begin planning your new life.
Here are a few ways you can prepare:
- Save when shopping
- Create a budget
- Stop impulse spending
- Work more hours
Since you only have part-time custody, you can work extra hours in your free time. Picking up a few extra shifts at work will help lessen your financial load.
Yet, make sure you don’t overwork yourself. There’s nothing worse than working a 60 hour work week and then trying to fill the role of super dad on the weekend.
Make Room in Your Life
You only see your kids for a part of the week, that doesn’t mean you disappear when you’re not there.
There are ways you can be there for your kids without having to actually be there. Arrange time between visits for communicating with your children. Phone calls, face time, and social media are all effective ways to stay in touch.
You can also speak with the other parent to arrange extra time together. For example, if you’re child is having a special athletic event or school play, ask to attend. Being there for the small things, will mean a lot to your kids and look great to the judge.
Holidays can be a great opportunity for squeezing in extra visits. You might not be getting the one on one time you want, but you’ll still be present in their lives.
Help Your Kids Shine
Having a healthy home environment is one of the first ways to help your kids feel safe. Divorced dads have to stay up to date on all the dos and don’ts of parenting.
Establish rules and boundaries in your new home right away. Your kids might not seem thrilled to hear the new rules, but they’ll be thankful you put them in place. Children feel the safest when they know you’ve got everything under control.
You can even involve your children in the rulemaking process. Kids of all ages, like helping to contribute, and having their thoughts heard.
Create rules for chores, school work, and family time. If you have teenagers, set up a curfew, and discuss why it’s important. For younger children, set bedtime, and discuss with them why you made your decision.
After establishing the rules, it’s time to have some fun!
Depending on the age of your kids, plan fun, in-house activities. Arts and crafts, family meals, and movie nights are all simple things you can do as a team.
Take Care of Yourself
Knowing how to be a good dad, means knowing how to care for yourself. Major life changes can be scary, but also exciting. Find a good way to express the myriad of feelings you’ll be experiencing after the divorce.
You could consider going to therapy, counseling, or joining a divorce support group. Recreational outlets, also stop stress from bottling up inside of yourself.
Actwitty loves providing our readers with thought-provoking articles. We understand that when your heads are in a good place, life is a whole lot easier.
Being a dad is hard work, and it’s normal if you’re feeling exhausted. Eating right is one of the fastest ways to refuel your mind and body. Check out our article to learn everything you don’t know, but need to, about junk food.