A divorce is a devastating event. It affects dads, moms, kids, siblings, friends, and neighbors. If you’re still reeling from the aftermath of a divorce, or still figuring out what being a single dad after a divorce means, then check out these seven great tips. Dads going through a divorce or considering one should check out these tips as well.
Kids react to divorce and other stressful situations in ways you may not expect. For many kids, it can take a year or more before they begin to process it all. Once the situation sinks in, here are some reactions you should be prepared to talk through:
Be patient and listen to your kids. What they’re saying and how they’re acting may be covering up how they really feel.
As you continue to talk to your kids through the process, the last thing you should do is talk about your mean ex-wife. It doesn’t matter if custody disputes are going your way, your wife cheated on you or you’re still dealing with the pain of it all. Don’t get mad or even, because your kids are watching the way you handle the separation.
This doesn’t mean you need to bottle up all those emotions. Dads are human, too. Consider reaching out to a support network of dads, a local counselor, or someone else you can safely talk to about your pain, anger, grief, and other emotions.
Of course, custody battles make this less straightforward than it should be. Fathers after a divorce may find their time cut in half or may struggle to schedule any time with their children.
Since your time as a divorced father has been cut in half or less, it’s more important than ever to maximize your time with your children. Your kids shouldn’t see you as the lonely divorced dad or an absent father. Be just as committed, or more so, than when you and your wife were under the same roof as all your children.
Maximizing your time doesn’t mean becoming a Disneyland Dad. This is when a divorced dad decides to spend all his money on treats, toys, vacations, and other surface-level rewards. Being a good dad after divorce doesn’t mean spoiling your kids with treats or one-upping their mom’s Christmas presents. Continue to do what’s best for the long-term health and growth of your kids, not what feels good in the moment.
A lot of dads end up dating again and even remarrying. Whether this is something you’re doing or considering, there are a few important things to remember when approaching dating as a divorced father:
Kids of parents who have gone through a divorce can often feel like there are two sets of rules, which can cause confusion. You may or may not be on speaking terms with your ex-wife, but try as much as you can to give the kids consistent rules from house to house. Being a good dad after divorce may mean talking to your ex to do what’s best for your kids.
Your kids are watching how you communicate with your ex-wife. Try to model respectful and patient ways to communicate, even when you’re not together anymore. Disagreements may be inevitable, but try not to fight in front of your kids or say anything you’ll regret after you cool down.
Don’t try to go through fatherhood alone. Divorce can be devastating, so be sure you have a support network for you and your kids. Follow the 100% DAD podcast for encouraging dad wisdom or reach out to us to share your story and advice about being a divorced dad.