As a father who has gone through the divorce experience, it would be so easy for you to switch the role that you play in your children’s lives.
It would be easy to be their babysitter, who only watches the children temporarily and allows the other parent to dictate the rule of law concerning their shared children.
It would be just as easy to become your children’s best friend, who creates extravagant events during your parenting time, rather than being the parent that they need you to be.
After utilizing the services of a family law attorney and acquiring custodial rights of your children, you should take advantage of the situation by establishing a new normal. You should forge your place in your children’s lives as an active and engaged father, who allows them to grow and flourish in your custody, while still maintaining necessary order and discipline.
Avoid being a Disneyland parent
These can be challenging lines to walk. Many parents fall into the trap of becoming “Disneyland parents,” who are noncustodial parents who indulge his or her child with gifts and good times during parenting time and leave most or all disciplinary responsibilities to the other parent, according to USLegal.
These parents look to their wealth and attempt to create the best experience for the children possible. They take them to the movies on a school night or let them eat as much ice cream as they want, in order to win their affection.
These parents are not fostering a nurturing environment for their children correctly. They are forsaking their roles as parents and becoming their children’s best friends.
You need to maintain a normal parent-child relationship at all times. By blurring those lines, you are undermining your own authority as a parent and undermining any type of discipline that you have set out to teach your child.
You also cannot have your children see the parenting time that they spend with you as a “visit.” The term, “visitation,” has long been used, in relation to the time spent with the parent who does not have primary custody of his or her children.
However, it is an outdated term that does not accurately or fairly represent the role that you, as the noncustodial parent, fills in the lives of their children. You are just as capable of acting in the children’s best interests, as your co-parent. You are just as capable of creating a home for them.
If you are a parent in those circumstances, you may worry about your children viewing you as nothing more than a babysitter, whose time spent with them is temporary and unimportant. This is a sentiment, that can be easy to combat, so long as you are committed to creating an environment that your children can see as a home.
Make an effort
You need to make sure that whatever living environment you employ after your divorce includes space for each of your children to call their own. You need to prepare for any upcoming parenting time beforehand by getting them necessities, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, pillows, blankets, sheets, and enough food and snacks for each of the three meals of the day.
You also need to put in the effort by engaging their day-to-day life. Learn more about their school life, their friends, what subjects they like, what subjects they do not, their favorite television shows, and other preferences. Take an interest and try to connect with them on their level.
While you attempt to connect in this way, you need to maintain the necessary parent-child boundaries. While you may want to be friends with your children, your children still require your guidance and discipline. Friendship would undermine these necessities.
While your divorce may have changed the amount of time that you spend with your children, you still can create a quality relationship with them, as you help them adjust to their new circumstances.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.
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