by Men's Rights Editor / in Fatherhood
Understanding What It Means To Be a Father
As a parent, you take the role that you play in your child’s life seriously. You care for them, provide for them, feed them, clothe them, and give them the necessary guidance to grow.
However, as a man, you sometimes may feel doubted by others, who make assumptions regarding your nurturing abilities and underestimate you and how earnestly you act in your role.
If you are a divorced parent, you may need some assistance in etching out that place in your child’s life. This requires the focused approach of a family law attorney, who understands the unique challenges that fathers have in divorce and child custody situations. They are willing and able to handle the challenges that your case entails.
As a divorced parent, you understand what it means to be away from your children for a time. Every precious moment that you miss out on is another precious moment that you will never get back. The opportunity to be there for them is a mutually beneficial experience, according to research.
A study from the developmental psychology department at Vanderbilt University found that the emotional involvement of parents matters and can affect the outcome of a child’s emotional competence and regulation. By being there for your child, you are healing from the mental and emotional scars that divorce can leave behind.
For many parents, this can be as simple as making a child’s lunch. ABC News highlighted a story about Tom Sullivan of Tacoma Washington, who peeled his daughter’s oranges for her school lunch every day.
Mr. Sullivan stated that it was an occurrence that began following his divorce and that it was a simple way to show his daughter that he was taking the time to do something for her. He wanted her to know that he always will be there.
On her last day of school, he placed two unpeeled oranges in her backpack, along with a printed-out Wiki page, detailing how to peel an orange. Mr. Sullivan also wrote a note, saying “It’s time, baby girl.”
Mr. Sullivan used a small act of kindness to reassure his daughter during an emotionally difficult time in her life. The gesture that you choose does not necessarily have to be grand. In fact, the larger the gesture, the more potential there is for a damaging end result.
Avoid becoming a Disneyland Dad
As a divorced parent, you may feel the need to overcompensate and become a Disneyland parent, a noncustodial parent who indulges your child with gifts or good times during parenting time and leaves most or all disciplinary responsibilities to the other parent, according to USLegal.
You may spend the majority of your time attempting to impress the child with gifts or experiences without taking the necessary time to listen to your child. You may experience guilt, not so much talking to your child, but talking at them.
This type of behavior does not create the bonds you desire, because it is based on material possessions and fun experiences. It may seem intriguing earning your child’s immediate affection, but it is fleeting and can result in your child’s expectations to skyrocket. This does not forge the bonds that you desire.
These bonds are a rewarding two-way street. According to studies from the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of fathers say that being a dad is extremely important to their overall identity. Furthermore, the study showed that the extent to which fathers and mothers consider being a parent central to their overall identity does not vary significantly by marital status.
Being involved in your child’s life means remaining active no matter what age they may be. For your children, that means school. Helping them with their homework or studying with them for a test helps builds the educational habits necessary for them to succeed.
If they are involved in a sport or play a musical instrument, help them practice, and learn as much as you can about your child’s commitment to it. Learning more about what is important to your child helps you understand their perspective, and after a divorce, a life event that they have no control over, comprehending their perspective is vital to making them feel heard and appreciated.
While you may not be able to give them the life that they once thought was possible, you still can give them the love, nurturing, and attention that a father needs to give their child. You still can be their provider and parent, who would move heaven and Earth to see them happy and healthy. You still can be their Dad.