Non-Custodial Dad. Trying to be the best I can be
Julie & I lived together for about six years but things got really rough toward the end. Seemed like we were arguing and yelling all the time. Sadly, we even fought in front of our precious children (now ages 3 and 5). Finally, the day came when we both agreed to end the relationship. I moved out. She refused to let me take the kids with me and I was tired of fighting, so I agreed as long as I could have them equal time once I got settled in and had beds for them.
I knew nothing about being a single dad so I started researching and reading as much as I could. One day I landed on this page https://www.familyeducation.com/life/custody-child-support/responsibilities-noncustodial-parent. I read some information that changed things for me. Jack Feuer, who is a divorced dad, had some great advice to share. I am going to para-phrase what I read in that article plus add some of my real-life experiences. I hope it helps you.
First of all, we can do this! Yes, life is different but YOU are very important to your children! No one can replace you as their father. Look up statistics about kids who grow up without a father in their lives. It is astounding and so sad. Do everything in your power to not let your kids become one of those stats. We can do this!
- If your child does not have their own cell phone, or they are constantly losing it for discipline reasons, see about putting a landline in their room so you can reach them easily and without going thru your ex.
- Send them photos of your time together or print them off so they can have physical pictures to keep
- Volunteer to coach your child’s sports team
- Be sure your ex knows you will “baby-sit” when she needs one
- Avoid being a “Disney Dad”. Your child needs normalcy instead of their dad trying to fill every moment together was awesome & incredible trips, presents, etc. Those things are great—but if you were together with their mom you would not be always doing cool stuff or giving them presents every time you saw them. Life isn’t like that. They want YOU.
- Try to get on the same page with your ex when it comes to discipline. If possible, talk to her about figuring out a discipline technique for both of you to adopt. Do some research. Try to be on the same page. That will help your child so much!
- Whatever you do, do not talk badly about the other parent. Children have a unique way of thinking that everything that goes wrong is their fault and when you talk bad about their other parent, you are talking bad about THEM! Don’t do it. Ever.
- Consider your ex a business partner. Discuss, negotiate, come to agreements. Do not fight and argue. Of course, you cannot control your ex. The only person you can control is YOU. So, do your part to keep things business-like and always put the children FIRST!
You really can do this! You have been given these children to raise and it is your job to do so. As much as it is possible for you to do, you need to be in their lives. Make them FIRST in all things.
Hope this helps. Be sure to click on the link above and read even more. Do a lot of research. Learn all you can. You’ve got this!
Lonnie, a client at MyLife Medical Center