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Divorced Moms: A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

father's day

 

As a single mother on Father’s Day, sometimes it can be a little lonely when the children are not by your side, but it is essential to recognize the importance, in your children’s eyes, of spending time with their father – particularly on Father’s Day.

Just as on Mother’s Day, when, as it should be, the mother is properly recognized for all of her contributions to the family, it is equally as important that the children are able to spend time with and recognize their father on their special day.

A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

In order to help prepare for not spending time with your children on Father’s Day, here’s a helpful guide of “Do’s and Don’ts” that I have found to be useful in my consultations with clients on the topic of Father’s Day and visitation when the parents are separated.

It should go without saying these suggestions apply equally to Mother’s Day when the children are spending time with their mother, but since Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, we will start from there. So without further ado, here is my helpful list of do’s and don’ts for a single mother on Father’s Day:

Do’s for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Do encourage your children to spend time with their father on Father’s Day. Keep any negative feelings to yourself until after the children have left so that they can enjoy a guilt-free day with their dad.
  2. Do step aside for the day and allow the father to shine, even if only for one day.
  3. Do make sure your children – if they do not reside in the same geographical area as their father, or if Dad is deployed or working overseas – contact and speak with their father. If possible, connect them through some video conferencing, Skype, Facetime, or a similar application that allows the children and their father to see each other while they’re talking.
  4. Do have the children create a Father’s Day card and/or encourage your children to make a homemade gift for their father.
  5. Do take time for yourself and enjoy some quality time with your family or friends. Make plans that don’t involve the children, such as brunch, a movie, or a spa day with friends.

Don’ts for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Don’t make plans or schedule other activities on Father’s Day that would deprive the father of the opportunity to spend time with the children on Father’s Day.
  2. Don’t disparage or otherwise denigrate Father to or around the children. This tip should apply year-round – not just on Father’s Day
  3. Don’t prohibit the children from spending time with or contacting Father on Father’s Day.
  4. Don’t allow the children to dictate the terms of their timesharing with Father over Father’s Day.
  5. Don’t despair: Mother’s Day occurs in May, so make sure these same do’s and don’ts apply for your special day when it comes around each year!

While certainly not an exhaustive list, I hope these do’s and don’ts will help to provide some guidelines on how best to handle – and ensure a smooth timesharing experience for your child – Father’s Day after divorce.

The post Divorced Moms: A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day

divorced dads

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others.

 

Father’s Day is just another day around my house. My father passed away13 years ago and my ex-husband has no relationship with our two sons. I was blessed with a loving father who earned celebrations every day of the year.

My boys, bless their hearts, ended up with the kind of father that perpetuates the old stereotypes about deadbeat dads. I’ve been divorced from their father for 19 years, during that time I’d venture to say that 90% of the time he has been a no-show when it comes to fathering.

When I began this article I was stumped, what can I, a mother whose sons don’t have a father say to divorced dads on Father’s Day? I then realized that the absence of their father has taught me quite a bit about the importance of fathers in a child’s life. Not just on Father’s Day but every day.

Whether you have full custody, 50/50 custody or you are an every other weekend Dad, when your little ones give you a gift and card this Father’s Day it isn’t because you are special to them on one day but, because you add value to their lives every day.

A Divorced Dads Value on Father’s Day and Every Day:

Showing up:

Showing up in spite of a difficult visitation schedule or conflict with your ex teaches your children persistence. If you continue to be involved in your children’s live after divorce, engage in quality time with them regardless of how little quantity, you are teaching your child that when something is important to them, it is worth pursuing with persistence. What a wonderful lesson to teach!

They learn they matter:

You not only teach your children that they matter but, by example, you teach them that what they do matters. You showing them that they matter teaches them to care about others. You teach them that actions, words, and deeds are the true measure of a person when you show up and you show them they can trust your actions, words and deeds.

You give them someone to go to:

If they are hurting or confused over a problem they know you are available. You make a difference when they are down and out. By being there for them, you teach them to be there for others. You have a direct impact on how empathetic and compassionate they become.

You impact their ability to learn:

Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. Fathers who are involved and nurturing with their children impact their IQ scores as well as cognitive abilities, verbal skills, and intellectual functioning. So, show up as often as possible because you are raising geniuses!

You impact their mental health:

Children with good relationships with their fathers are less likely to experience depression or exhibit disruptive behavior. Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and girls have higher self-esteem. In other words, by showing up you teach your boys the importance of proper behavior and your girls to never settle for that ne’er-do-well boy that every father fears.

You teach your sons how to be good fathers:

Fathering involves commitment, self-sacrifice, integrity, and unconditional love. Responsible fathers are concerned with the well-being of their children, and their desire is to see their children succeed in all areas of life.

Nurturing your relationship with your sons trains them “up right,” as my grandmother used to say, it educates them and fosters healthy development. Do this for your sons and your grandchildren will be rewarded with loving, attentive fathers.

You teach them how to love:

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others. The ability to give love is directly related to the love we receive, especially during childhood. Showing up and filling your children with love will play a huge role in the kind of romantic relationships they involve themselves in as adults.

And that is just the short list! Raising two boys on my own has taught me a lot about the value of a father. Working through the years with clients and hearing from fathers via email, I know that my ex-husband is not representative of the vast majority of divorced dads.

We hear a lot about single and divorced moms but very little about divorced dads. We place value on the mother/child relationship and at times dismiss the father/child relationship. It is my wish on this Father’s Day that divorced dads know that, although others may not be paying attention, their children are.

They are waiting for your phone call, watching out the window, looking for your car, counting the days until your next visitation. They are eager to see you, share their lives with you and love you. And every time you show up your value to them increases tenfold.

If you are a divorced dad who shows up, every day spent with your children feels like Father’s Day to them.

So, Happy “Father’s Day” today and every day.

The post The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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 6 Things Fathers Should Think About if They Want Equal Parenting

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Before and during the divorce process each parent has the same legal right to custody of a child. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights.

What does this mean? It is complicated! Even more complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. Bottom line, until you have signed a custody agreement or a judge has handed down a custody opinion, each parent has the same legal rights when it comes to where a child lives, who the child lives with and anything regarding the child.

I’ve found that most fathers do not have a clear understanding of their legal divorce rights where the children are involved. And in most cases will give up custody out of fear of losing in court due to a gender “bias.” Which is a myth perpetuated by men’s rights organizations. A father has as much chance of winning custody if he pursues custody as a mother.

For example, I received an email from a father who was separated from his wife. He wrote, “My wife moved out with our children, and is refusing to allow me to visit with them. I found out the other day that my youngest daughter had been hospitalized for a minor illness and I wasn’t informed. What should I do?”

It is heartbreaking to hear from a father who, for some reason has come to the belief that his wife has more legal rights over the children. This father has the legal right to pack his children up and bring them home. He has the legal right to contact school personnel, pediatricians and anyone else who may have contact with the child and let them know he is being denied his legal rights and demand to be notified of anything concerning his children.

The longer he allows his wife to make the rules about how or if he can parent his children, the more likely he is to lose an extensive amount of parenting time with his children in divorce court. In my opinion, this is the biggest mistake fathers make during the divorce process. They do not take the necessary steps needed to retain equal parenting time or full custody of their children.

According to DivorcePeers.com, the majority of child custody cases are not decided by the courts.

  • In 51 percent of custody cases, both parents agreed — on their own — that mom becomes the custodial parent.
  • In 29 percent of custody cases, the decision was made without any third party involvement.
  • In 11 percent of custody cases, the decision for mom to have custody was made during mediation.
  • In 5 percent of custody cases, the issue was resolved after a custody evaluation.
  • Only 4 percent of custody cases went to trial and of that 4 percent, only 1.5 percent completed custody litigation.

What do the above statistics tell us about fathers and child custody?

For some reason, the vast majority of fathers are behaving in a way that is not in their best interest or the best interest of their children. Fathers may be giving up equal or shared custody because they’ve heard there is a gender bias, that mothers always win custody. They may give up more custody because they’ve been taught that “children need their mother.”

Here is the truth, you don’t know if there is a true gender bias in the divorce court system if you don’t go to court and fight for equal time with your children. And children need fathers just as much as they need mothers.

If you are a father who wishes to have equal parenting time with your children you are doing yourself a grave injustice if you give up without a fight.

If your attorney tells you, you don’t have a chance at equal parenting time with your children, look for another attorney. Don’t hire an attorney until you find one who tells you he will help you fight for that time you deserve as a father. And, don’t buy into the argument that the courts are biased in favor of women until you’ve proven to yourself that it is true.

6 Things Fathers Should Think About if They Want Equal Parenting Time After Divorce

  1. Do not allow your wife to dictate when, where and how often you will see your children. Document every time your ex keeps you away from your children and then use the court system to hold her accountable for interfering in your parenting time.
  2. Immediately hire an attorney or file a pro se petition with the court to establish equal parenting time with your children.
  3. Do not allow what you hear on father’s rights websites to dissuade you from attempting to gain equal parenting time or full custody. Just because one man was not able to obtain equal time or full custody of his children does not mean you won’t. You don’t go to work and do your job based on what others tell you, you are and are not capable of doing, do you? Then, don’t give up on your children based on what a few angry men say online.
  4. Do not let the financial cost associated with a child custody battle keep you from fighting. Which is more important, saving money for a child’s college education or fathering your child during their informative years and beyond?

Society still views mothers as caretakers and fathers as providers. I believe that one reason fewer men fight for equal time with their children has to do with their fear of legal fees and being left financially strapped and unable to provide for their children. When it’s all said and done, your time is the most important thing you can provide for your children. Don’t let money fears stop you from providing them with time with their father.

  1. Do not agree to less time with your child without first going through the mediation process or, if push comes to shove a full out custody battle.
  2. Do what you know, in your heart is right for you and your children. Don’t allow your head to become muddied with opinions from naysayers or those who’ve been there before you. When it comes to time with your children, you must let your heart lead what actions you choose to take.

I can’t tell a father what his chances of winning in a custody battle are. I can tell a father that if you aren’t willing to exert your legal rights your chance of winning equal or full custody with your children is zero. The questions you have to ask yourself is; how important is this issue to me? How important is it to my children?

If it is important then don’t allow fear of the myth of a “gender biased” court system keep you from pursuing your right to parent your children.

The post  6 Things Fathers Should Think About if They Want Equal Parenting appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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if you abandon your child

If You Abandon Your Children, I Don’t Want To Hear About Your “Father’s Rights”

if you abandon your child

 

A couple of years ago the Huffington Post ran an article the day before Father’s Day that got the Father’s Rights guys a bit upset. But when a woman writes an article about a less than perfect father those guys normally respond with dismissal, disdain, and disregard so that was no big surprise

In their mind, if you say something unpleasant about one father you have offended every father. And, they love to make excuses for deadbeat or absent fathers and that excuse normally runs along the lines of, “its all moms fault.”

One comment caught my attention due to its astounding show of immaturity and it’s representation of how I feel some men attached to the Father’s Rights movement respond to divorce and custody issues.

I had printed out the comment and came across it again while Marie Kondoing my house. It still, to this day has the same impact on me.

“Divorce court is a woman’s court. Your man bailed out is probably just like me, it is far better for the children for the father to disappear than to be used as a punching bag by the mother, courts, society, and in the end, the children.”

Granted the grammar is bad but if you try hard you can make sense of it. Evidently, this comment was made by a father who has chosen to “bail” on his children, as did the father who was the subject of the Huffington Post article.

If You Abandon Your Children You Have NO Excuse!

What I find astonishing is the reason the commenter has bailed. He didn’t want to be used as a punching bag by the mother, the courts or society. I had no idea until I read that, that paternal instinct, fathering and loving one’s children was depended upon a mother’s actions, the court’s actions or the actions of society.

No one forced him to leave his children. Nothing happened to cause him to lose his role as a father. He may have had divorce forced upon him along with a custody agreement he wasn’t happy with but, really, is that any reason to choose to no longer father your children?

It’s like saying, “you people were mean to me so I’m taking daddy away from my children.” The guy actually punished his children by withdrawing from them as a father for something someone else did to him. And, in his mind, he thinks he has done his children a favor.

Why can’t I wrap my mind around this justification? Probably because it is irrational and totally out of touch with what his children needed from him REGARDLESS of how difficult he found it to remain in their lives.

Plus, in my experience with divorce, I’ve known of the inability of the Family Court system to deal appropriately with the issues of divorce, custody and all things related BUT, at no time have I formed the belief that that was any reason to bail on my child.

The Problem With the Father’s Rights Movement:

Their seedy underbelly is too vocal and in being so they reflect poorly on the Father’s Rights movement and men who don’t abandon children for any reason. There is a small fringe of this movement that has declared war on women and children and that fringe keeps those who are truly concerned about their rights as fathers from being taken seriously.

Nothing will change in our dysfunctional Family Court until mothers and fathers work together to change the system. As long as some members of the Father’s Rights movement insist on accusing women of victimizing them via the court system and excuse each other for abandoning their children, women and mothers will have no interest in working with them in any capacity.

If men want shared or 50/50 custody of their children they are more likely to change custody laws if they are working in union with women and mothers, not blaming them but working with them. Men, women, and children are harmed during divorce. A lot of that harm comes from a system that is in dire need of reform. That reform isn’t going to take place if fringe elements of angry men are allowed to continue to spew venom and anger from their keyboards.

Let’s face it, as parents, we can’t get what we all want for our children, what is in their best interest until we all come together and stop blaming each other.

The post If You Abandon Your Children, I Don’t Want To Hear About Your “Father’s Rights” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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