When it comes to child custody and visitation matters, the odds often are stacked against the father. However, the stereotype of the mother as nurturer and father as provider is not one that is accurate. But courts often resort to this default view when addressing child custody and visitation.
As a father, you should not concede that you will not see your children that often anymore. However, when a court ruling is not in your favor or you reluctantly agree to a plan the limits time with your children, you must focus on maintaining the lines of communication. And that communication must be geared toward not only your children, but your former spouse, too.
Focus on staying involved in children’s lives
Fight to remain relevant in your children’s lives. And one way to accomplish this is by focusing on communications. Here are some guidelines to consider:
- Civility remains a crucial element in your relationship with your former spouse. You both remain role models in setting examples by doing the right thing. And when in front of the children, stay civil. There is no room for outbursts, criticism and lectures.
- Center your conversations on what matters most: the children. Share school-related highlights and milestones as well as matters related to your child’s health care needs. Keeping such information from the other parent is petty and a complete disservice.
- Focus on listening: Perhaps poor listening habits during the marriage led to some cracks in your union. Do not fall into that trap again. Listen closely to what your former spouse has to say and listen to your children, too. Empathy goes a long way.
- Stay involved in your child’s life. Regular phone calls as well as FaceTime chats, Zoom meetings – if your former spouse agrees and cooperates – help maintain that necessary connection between father and child. Attend your children’s school events and extracurricular activities. And, above all, spend time with them. You are providing them with experiences that they may cherish for the rest of their lives.
Do your best to work out any disagreements with your former spouse. Try to prevent any animosity and bitterness related to your marriage and divorce from spilling into your children’s world. On the surface, that is easy to say. However, a great amount of dedication is necessary in taking the high road. And remember, you both love your children. You both want to spend time with them and share your interests. Your children deserve a trouble-free zone.