13 Sep 5 Ways To Be an Engaged and Supportive Father
Fathers often (wrongly) assume that they will be the losers when it comes to child custody and visitation in a divorce. But courts in Washington State have long abandoned the notion that they should give mothers precedence when it comes to the children in every case. Rather, they look for solutions that are in the best interests of the child.
The most positive outcome in a divorce is a custody agreement that both partners can agree to and abide by. Yet even in the most amicable of divorce agreements, fathers still face the challenge of staying involved in their children’s lives. Here are five ways to be an engaged and supportive father after a divorce.
Show Up on Time
Work schedules can be hectic, and traffic jams happen. Do your best to plan around them and show up to pick up your kids on time consistently.
Attend sporting events, recitals, and school plays. After all, your kids crave your presence and praise.
Repeatedly disappointing your children weakens your relationship with them and can put your parenting agreement in peril. Your ex may petition the court for a modification reducing or even eliminating your unsupervised time with your kids when you have shown a pattern of unreliability.
Do Not Try To Be Super Dad
Your kids want your time. You do not have to make every visit a special occasion with expensive trips to amusement parks or pro ball games. Your kids will have just as much fun with you at the local park, their favorite pizza parlor, or tossing a ball around in the backyard.
Cook for and With Your Kids
Sharing meals together is a foundation of family togetherness. It is even better if your kids get the chance to help plan and prepare the meal. Talking about school, sports, ballet recitals, or whatever your kids are into around the dinner table shows them that you are involved and interested in their lives.
Treat Their Mom With Respect
A critical part of being an engaged and supportive father is showing your children’s mother respect. Whatever led to your divorce, set it aside when communicating with your children’s mother. Your kids also take cues from you about how adults can have disagreements and still respect each other.
Above all, never bad-mouth your children’s mother. They love her just as much as they love you, and even though you have split, you should treat each other with respect and care.
If you and your ex continue to have disagreements about your parenting plan, consult one of our father’s rights attorneys in Washington State for advice. We can help you modify the plan to make it work better or petition the courts to enforce your rights as a father.