From the moment that you first lay eyes on your child, they become your world and who you are. You and your co-parent become responsible for that little one, regardless of your marital status.
From their perspective, you and your co-parent become their world too. They need you both to love, nurture, and provide for them, and on Father’s Day, it is important to understand what these dads are providing, especially those who have gone through a divorce and have to fight for their place in their child’s life.
During those moments of uncertainty, it is imperative that you have a family law attorney who understands the unique circumstances of your case and will fight for your place in your child’s life. They can assist you in child custody-related matters and guide you through some of the more challenging moments of the divorce experience.
As difficult as these challenges and the number of adjustments to your life and the life of your child that have to be made, it does not diminish the importance of your role in your child’s life. Regardless of the amount of time that you spend with your child, your child benefits from having you active and present.
Arizona State study
Arizona State University researchers looked at the effects of the quantity and quality of parenting time, questioning whether it is the quantity or the quality of parenting time that is more important to the child’s outcome. They also questioned whether parenting time should be limited in families where there is high conflict between divorced parents.
They found that when a father has too little of parenting time with his child, it creates a long-term risk in the physical and mental health of the child. The researchers also discovered that both the children and the noncustodial fathers were shown to want more time with one another.
The researchers stated that even if a divorced father and mother have frequent conflict with one another over parenting and other issues regarding their child, the child still is better off spending as much time as possible with both parents.
This is important for fathers. They often find themselves in a family court motivated by pervasive gender stereotypes that automatically give custody to the mother regardless of the mother or father’s abilities to love, nurture, and provide for the child. The father often gets less parenting time with the child and is forced to pay child support, regardless of whom the primary earner may have been during the marriage.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law study
When it comes to less parenting time, it is important to understand how detrimental less time with a father can be, especially when a child is an infant or a toddler. According to a study published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, infants and toddlers benefit from frequent overnight stays in their father’s home.
“Not only did overnight parenting time with fathers during infancy and toddlerhood cause no harm to the mother-child relationship, it actually appeared to benefit children’s relationships with both their mothers and their fathers,” said lead author William Fabricius in a news release. “Children who had overnights with their fathers when they were infants or toddlers had higher quality relationships with their fathers, as well as with their mothers when they were 18 to 20 years old than children who had no overnights.”
Malin Bergstrom, a researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies, found in her study that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, that children who lived with both of their separated parents reported significantly fewer problems than children who lived with only one parent.
The University of Missouri reported in their study that children have been shown to improve their academics, as long as they stay attached to both of their separated parents.
Identity as a parent
You are a part of that equation. As a parent, it is important to acknowledge your co-parent’s place in your child’s life, while respecting your own. You both have a responsibility and obligation to your child, which is why communication can be so beneficial.
Just as you may wish to respect your co-parent’s role during Mother’s Day, she should want to do the same during Father’s Day.
It is beneficial for your self-esteem to realize that Father’s Day is your day. This is the day that commemorates the place that you have in the lives of your children. This is the day that you should be able to spend letting your children know how much of who you are is defined by your love for them.
However, many fathers are not as lucky and are forced to spend Father’s Day without their children. They are forcibly separated from an aspect of their identity, unable to show their children how much they mean to them.
By making the most of Father’s Day and spending these precious moments with your children, you are engaging in your identity. Subsequently, you also are engaging in your relationship with your children, forging deeper bonds and being the active parent that they need you to be.