Advice for strong father-children relationships after a divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Visitation on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When making a child custody arrangement, parents are often fighting to protect both the quantity and quality of the time they will be able to spend with their children. Yet-after going through extensive legal battles to win visitation rights, joint custody, or paternity recognition-many parents find themselves facing a scary possibility: what the divorce permanently damaged their relationship with their children?

Author Sam J. Buser published a book intended in part to help divorced fathers navigate the struggles of single parenting. Many fathers find themselves spending dramatically less time with their children after a divorce, especially if they are not the children’s primary caretaker. A portion of Buser’s book includes tips on how fathers can maintain and strengthen their relationship with their children, even considering the obstacles presented by divorce.

Buser reminds fathers that the divorce process can be as hard on their children as it is on themselves. Young children may be confused by this major disruption in their life and therefore resist switching between households. Older children, meanwhile, may carry some leftover resentment from the divorce or may simply dislike being uprooted from their friends during visitation time.

Divorced fathers should try not to interpret these feelings as a personal affront, says Buser. Instead, fathers should try to find new ways to connect with their children so that they look forward to their visits instead of viewing them as an obligation.

Buser suggests that fathers make the effort to find out what their children are currently interested in and base their plans around something they know their kids will enjoy. He also suggests going the extra mile to make the visit memorable, such as occasionally attending a movie or a concert instead of sitting at home.

Buser also encourages fathers to be honest with their children and adopt an active parenting style which will allow them to remain an important part of their life.

Source: Kansas City Star, “Divorced dads: What to do when your child doesn’t want to see you.” Aisha Sultan, 16 May 2011

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