Separated? How to be the best father under these circumstances.
You may be separated, but your children still need a father. Your parenting responsibilities are still there. Most important for you is to stay involved across all the areas of your childrens lives, including their education and social lives. Your relationship with your childrens mother is very important to them. Even if you are separated, work to make the relationship as effective for your children as possible. Try to maintain joint parenting policies, with consistent rules and expectations.
Remember, regardless of the problems the two of you may have, she will always be their mother. They need to love her. So keep your conflicts to yourself, don’t involve them.
- Write when you cannot visit.
- Send a postcard to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Use e-mail and SMS.
- Use the phone, at a time that will be convenient to them.
- Tell your child bedtime stories over the phone.
- Vary the context of your involvement. Try not to see your children always in the same place, especially if you do not live with them.
- Plan in advance the time you will spend together.
- Play internet games online together, and don’t get too upset when you are beaten!
- When together spend quality time. Build puuzzles, play board games, have a picnic, go for a bike ride, go swimming, or just out for coffee and a chat. Spend good interactive time together, not just time together.
- Keep the guilt factor out. Spoiling your children out of guilt is not good in the long run for the realtionship, kids latch onto this eventually and would rather have time with you rather than gifts etc.
- Be affectionate. Reassure them consistently of how much you love them and how proud you are of them.
- Make a plan to be at as many school functions as is possible. Even if you only get to watch one netball/soccer match, your children will remember it.
- If you say you are going to be there, BE THERE!