Everything we’ve shared in the podcast and blogs this month can be summarized in this one statement. Research tells us that kids with involved dads receive benefits that kids without involved dads don’t get. Each family situation is unique as is each dad/child relationship. Sometimes circumstances can make it challenging for dads to create and maintain a positive relationship with their kids.
Three particular instances are: divorced dads, incarcerated dads, and dads who work away from home. Military dads are another category. If you are one of these dads, check out ideas for strengthening relationships between dads and children.
DADS AT A DISTANCE – DIVORCED
DADS AT A DISTANCE – WORKING
DADS AT A DISTANCE – INCARCERATED
Do you have any tips or ideas to share on staying involved in your child’s life when you are not there on a daily basis? Remember, how you handle the separation (no matter the reason) will make an impact on your child.
Got your attention didn’t I? Now moms, don’t be mad at me because we can be WAY fun, and trust me I am a really fun mom, it’s just that sometimes I feel like fathers are more fun!
So I was curious. Was I just ‘feeling’ less fun? Or is there was a difference in how mothers and fathers have ‘fun’. Here is what I found.
A summary of Fathers Involvement in Their Children’s Schools shared the following (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/fathers/):
- Researchers are in agreement that mothers and fathers interact differently with their children (Parke, 1995).
- Fathers spend proportionately more time playing with their children, while mothers spend a greater proportion of their total time with their children in caretaking activities (Lamb, 1986).
- Because mothers spend a greater amount of time overall with their children, they may actually spend more time playing with them than do fathers, yet caretaking is still what best characterizes their time, while play best characterizes the fathers’ overall time with their children. Fathers and mothers also play differently with their children, with fathers much more likely to be rough and tumble (Parke, 1995; Hetherington and Parke, 1993).
Whew!! I’m not less fun! I just play different than fathers do! I would love to hear how you play and have fun. Whether you are a mother or a father, spending time having fun and playing is so important. Share ideas here!
divorce, education, family time, fathers, grandparenting, mother, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
One of Donna’s comments really made me think…”but you don’t know my ex”. I felt like that statement took this month’s topic and wrapped it with a bow.
Isn’t it hard to take some things (people) out of difficult equations? Donna’s comment reminded me that ultimately there is only one thing I know to be true. I can only control and change the thoughts, actions and behaviors of myself. And no matter what my children will have to come first. (ok that’s 2 things).
As I reflect on the topic this month I think that is the statement to land on. No matter what- YOU are the only one you can change and control. Regardless of the actions and behaviors your ex displays you have to think about what behaviors and actions your children will see from you.
Your children will be watching and looking to you as to how they should respond in this difficult situation. They will follow your lead and their actions, thoughts and behaviors will mirror yours. What will they see?
We would love to here what statement impacted you most this month.
divorce, education, positive parenting, social-emotional
School is out and now the summer fun begins. But if the kids have two homes, it might not be so much fun. There may be family vacations and family reunions and softball/baseball games and 4-H events and camps and – well you get the idea.
So who decides where the kids will be? Last weekend I was at a baseball game and heard a dad talking about vacations. His family, with kids from different marriages, had a summer trip planned. Then he found out one child’s mom had other plans and her wishes ruled. This sounded like the beginning of vacation wars and not the fun that all had in mind.
Well parents, it’s time to revisit the concept of co-parenting. Now is the time to sit down and talk with your child’s other parent about summer plans. Get out the calendar and pencil in all the events that involve your child. Go into the conversation with the idea of making this work. Share any “absolute” dates and explain why you want your child for that time. Be willing to compromise and not insist on your way for everything. Offer to take your child more frequently or be the “taxi” on occasion.
I know you’re probably thinking – “but you don’t know my ex.” And I don’t! But I do know that kids want to enjoy the summer. They want to spend time with both parents and the extended families. They want to hang out with their friends. They want to just “be” and not find themselves in the middle of arguments over who gets them when.
How do you plan summer schedules when two households are involved? What’s worked for your family?
divorce, positive parenting, social-emotional
A wild ‘Dust-nado’ that sent the town/schools scrambling a few weeks ago and the topic of Divorce made me think about how we cope with ‘storms’ of life.
In a sense we begin coping with all storms the same way. We open our toolbox of what we ‘know’ and begin to apply the skills to the storm. If the storm is small we may have all the tools we need to cope effectively. But as the storm grows we need to be open to allowing others (personal and professional) to help us fill that toolbox with the right tools. You really don’t want to use a hammer when you NEED a screwdriver (well in most cases- HA!).
In the midst of storms it can be difficult for us to determine the right tool to use for the storm we are in because we are in the middle of if surrounded by the yuck and muck. It can be hard to allow others to help us use the right tools – I’ll be the first one to admit I like to solve problems on my own! So I challenge you as I challenge myself – can you let others help you choose the right tool for your storm?
What tools have you found effective for life’s storms? Both big and small?
Here’s a great E-xtension Article
Coping with Stress
divorce, education, money, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
When I was growing up, I don’t remember hearing much about divorce. I had one friend in high school whose parents were divorced, but it was never mentioned. Fast forward to years later and you guessed it – I married a divorced man with three young children. So I’ve had the first hand opportunity to see the “after divorce” world from both a personal and professional perspective.
The podcast started with the statement about divorce not being one point in time, but is ongoing. And I say, no truer words could be said. When children are involved, the divorce may end the marriage but the relationships and interactions continue literally for a lifetime.
If you’re a parent in the midst of a divorce, or are raising children after a divorce, how do you make it work? I latched on to the phrase – paths to healthy outcomes – and how there are two that work. Most everything else leads to negative outcomes. Those paths are divorced parents working together as warm co-parents or as professional co-parents.
Here’s my take on how professional co-parents work. The adults don’t’ have to be friends but their priority is to do what is best for the kids. They may not agree on how to raise their kids, but they manage to keep conflict under control. These parents try to share decisions and child rearing tasks. Although there is a custody agreement, the parents apply some flexibility and common sense. The professional co-parents see that both parents have a relationship with their kids.
As I look back, I realize our family functioned with professional co-parents (most of the time). No one will tell you it is an easy way to parent. However, the payoff for the kids is tremendous. The stress of the divorce is reduced; children have fewer long-term problems; and they can develop close relationships with both parents and extended family members.
Anyone want to share ideas that work for professional co-parents?
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to this month’s blog I would highly encourage it. I have placed below a great resource from the eXtension website. Stay tuned for more conversations the rest of this month.
Parenting During and After Divorce
Parents help children adjust to divorce better when they show respect for the fact that the child is now a member of two families.
Parenting through and after divorce is different than parenting when both adults are in the home. Normal parenting challenges become harder during this time. Life is thrown out of balance. Parents and children may experience feelings of stress, loss, guilt, and/or anger. Most family members overcome this stressful event, but the process takes time.
Parenting Behaviors that Help and Hurt
Making the transition through divorce is easier for the child when parents look at things through the child’s eyes. It’s important to remember that the child is now a member of two families.
Children do better when they are able to maintain their relationships with both parents (when it is safe for them to do so).
Children whose parents have a lot of conflict after the divorce have the hardest time. Parents can support their children best by keeping their arguments private, away from where children can hear them. This includes phone conversations.
Experiencing negative emotions about the other parent is normal. But it’s important to avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of the child. Children often feel a negative comment about the other parent reflects on them. After all, half of their DNA is from that parent! If a parent needs to vent, a good strategy is to seek support from another understanding adult.
For the rest of the article click below…