Submitted by Paul Banas
As a child of divorce (my parents divorced when I was four), I can personally say that divorce can be, or maybe always is, hardest on the kids. It should be a decision of last resort when kids are involved and very clearly the “least bad” of your options in a bad marriage.
That said, it does occur and divorced dads have special challenges.
Divorced dads have a lot to prove since they will likely take at least half the blame for the break up of the family. If you’re a divorced dad, you are also likely to have lost custody of your kids. You’re less present for them everyday and need to make the most of your time with your kids.
Divorced dads should follow all the tips for regular dads, but should be especially attentive to these:
1. Never date or marry any woman who wants to put herself ahead of your kids. It doesn’t matter how pretty, sexy, wealthy, intelligent, funny or seemingly caring she is. When you had kids, you made a covenant to put them ahead of everything. When all else fades, your relationship with them will be the strongest love of your life.
2. Never compare siblings. This goes doubly for stepbrothers and sisters. If you compare them for any reason, at almost any age, you give your own children a reason to doubt your love for them.
3. Make twice the effort to be at every game, school play, and birthday.
4. A corollary to #3, move or stay wherever your kids live. Other places may beckon but your place is close to your family.
5. Never discuss your ex-wife. This last might be especially difficult given the circumstances for your divorce. However, no matter how great the joy may be in the moment to say something negative about your ex-spouse, you will gain nothing from it in the long run. If your spouse is as bad as you say, it will be obvious to the kids. If not, they will hold it against you.
As a new dad, Paul Banas became very aware that many dads today are more involved in parenting but have limited resources from a man’s point of view from which to better understand the challenges of their changing role. Thus, GreatDad.com was born. GreatDad.com enables all dads-working, stay-at-home, single, gay, domestic partners, and more – to find ways to be involved and understand how dads are functioning as parents today.
Paul brings more than 25 years of marketing and business development experience from companies such as Unilever, Visa International, Alibris.com, and most recently Yahoo!. He is a member of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) and former President and founder of the Bay Area International Advertising Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Pregnancy Magazine where he is a monthly contributing editor.