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How Divorce can Make you a Better Dad

Divorcing fathers often feel at a disadvantage in a legal climate that has historically favored mothers. While the family courts have shifted over the last 20 years to more equal time sharing between parents, fathers still often leave the primary residence of their children when they divorce. There is a silver lining, however, and that can be found in the opportunity divorced dads have to reinvent their parenting. 

Learning to perform parenting tasks 

If you are divorcing and think your parenting skills might not withstand the test of navigating your kids without the default parent on hand, here are some tips for upping your fatherhood game: 

  • Do the tough stuff — no one enjoys washing blood or vomit out of clothing or cutting gum out of hair, but dads can do those things too
  • Get comfortable with the late night chat — older kids and teens are more open in the late night hours and appreciate a parent’s attention and willingness to listen
  • Learn what’s cool — educate yourself about all things related to your child’s culture, including television shows, video games, pop starts and anything else your child is interested in
  • Shop — whether it be for shoes, clothes, school supplies or winter jackets, hit the mall and get to know your child’s size, style and preferences
  • Attend school functions — get acquainted with your child’s teachers, learn about their strengths and weaknesses and get to know their friends 

Being a dad involves more than a trip for ice cream and a few hours on a playground. If you’re not confident in your ability to parent, take a course in your community to hone your skills. 

The new trend in stay-at-home dads 

Tough economic times have led to an upsurge in the percentage of dads who choose to stay at home with their children. In many cases the cost of day care exceeds the ability of one parent to earn income, and the logical result is for that parent to become the primary care giver. If this is an option, consider the benefits of spending the early years caring for your children. If your work is remote or flexible, consider providing care for your children after school. 

Studies confirm that children with actively involved fathers grow to be more successful and satisfied adults than those with absent fathers. Ask your divorce attorney to assist you in creating a time-sharing agreement that maximizes the amount of time you spend parenting your children so your children can benefit from having a great dad.

 

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