Raising a child is one of the most important jobs a person will face. It requires attention to many details. Because a child’s mind is constantly absorbing and developing, evaluating and assessing, everything a parent says and does can influence the child’s emotional and spiritual growth. Even things parents do not say or do may factor into the child’s perspectives and character development. Divorce invariably makes that task even more difficult.
Dad’s Positive Influence is Needed
Either by choice or by circumstance, more often than not, it is the father who is absent from the home because of divorce. However, it is still very important that the child be given the opportunity to spend quality time with dad.
Camping trips or even day hikes provide superb opportunities for dad to bond with their son or daughter. Attend their school functions and support them in their sporting events. Offer to take them to doctor appointments or to bring them to their social engagements. Whatever dad was doing before the divorce, he should continue to do after the divorce.
Nobody feels the frustration of divorce more than the caring dad, and nobody is affected more than the confused child. Where once there were two parents in the home to guide and love them, now there is only one. Now, more than ever, the child will expect and need guidance from dad as well as mom.
How the father reacts to the divorce and to the child’s mother can, and usually will, impact the child’s view on women, men, relationships or life itself. Dad’s actions can also potentially affect the child’s behavior in the future towards his or her own children. A concerted effort should be made to ensure the child understands that the divorce was a result of circumstances and not the result of mom specifically or women in general. With the correct perspective, the child has a better chance of developing a healthy view of relationships and people.
Communicate Your Optimism
While the divorced father’s task is inherently more difficult because of his absence in the home, it is also an opportunity to teach the child the importance and benefits of overcoming adversity. It is a chance to show the child how adversity can make a person stronger and better able to deal with other problems that may arise in life. It is an opportunity to illustrate by example how strength, character and courage can arise even out of a personal disaster. With the proper direction, the child sees how optimism can mean the difference between success and failure, between living despondently and regaining happiness.
With dad’s continued involvement in the child’s life, the child sees by example the importance and reality of commitment from parent to child. As a result, the child’s self-esteem is raised by the father’s continued love and support. Even though dad does not live in his child’s home, he should still make it a point to communicate as often as possible, daily even, reassuring the child that while dad lives somewhere else, his love still resides where it always has.
Ex-Spousal Support is Crucial
Fortunate is the child whose mother supports the divorced father’s relationship with the child. When angry mothers choose to use the child to get back at the father, it is not the father who suffers in the long run; sadly, it is the child. Divorced parents who speak of the other parent in derogatory terms do the child a grave injustice. While it certainly may hurt the parent’s image, that negativity often reflects back on the child’s self-image. The child could develop a distorted, unhealthy view of parenthood, men, women, relationships or even themselves.
Demeaning comments about either parent never leads to anything positive; it only further confuses and saddens the child. Giving support to the divorced dad or mom is the best thing a divorced parent can do for their child’s peace of mind.
The Results Will Justify the Effort
As difficult as the divorced father’s role has become, his responsibility to do the right thing has increased exponentially. The father now has to work twice as hard to help ensure that the child develops a healthy outlook on life. However, the rewards can be very satisfying.
Once the child is able to make mature decisions, the tale will be told. At that point, the results of dad and mom’s efforts will be apparent. If the correct values, ideals and characteristics were illustrated along the way, chances are the child will have grown to be responsibled a wonderful opportunity to give a developing human being sing a child may not be an easy thing to do, it should be considered a wonderful opportunity to give a developing human being the benefits of love and support. It’s a chance, albeit on a small scale, to add some positivity to the human race through your child. That’s especially important if your own childhood was unpleasant or unhappy. It is a golden opportunity to break the cycle of sadness and bring happiness to a child. Witnessing the results will enhance your life as much as your love and support has enriched theirs.