Fathers and Divorce
Men are often overlooked when it comes to divorce. Traditionally, males have been the main breadwinners, thus being required to pay a sum of money each month to their ex-wife in the form of alimony and child support. A lot of attention is focused on how women deal with a divorce, but not nearly as much attention is geared towards men and their wellbeing.
Males can suffer from the same symptoms as a result of divorce as women do, including depression, hopelessness, anxiety and stress. These feelings can intensify when fathers are ripped of their custody and visitation rights. According to Melissa Kester, founder of Madison Marriage and Family Therapy in New York City, “Men going through divorce are mourning their fantasy of marriage, but unlike women they are not acknowledged for their fantasies. Additionally, they must navigate the sadness that comes with the knowledge that they might not be with their kids everyday”. But remember, a father has just as many rights as a mother when it comes to children. Nowadays, courts put a lot of time and consideration into determining which parent has physical custody of a child, and they weigh the pros and cons of each possible outcome.
In some cases, mothers feel resentful and try to punish their spouse by doing everything in their power to strip away visitation rights. This is, without a doubt, one of the most harmful things you can do during a divorce. By doing so, the mother is hurting her children, her ex, his family, and herself. Even though some people may not realize it, fathers play an integral role in the upbringing of their children. A child will handle the divorce better if they are still allowed to have loving and nurturing relationships with both parents. Children will be happier and more confident, which are traits they will carry on with them throughout their lifetime.
Children have a tendency to become frightened and uneasy when their parents get divorced because they don’t fully understand what is going on. If this is the case, they may feel apprehensive about visiting Dad in his new home. They may cry and say they don’t want to go, but this is completely normal. Given that there is no history of abuse, try to not give into the child’s requests. They need time to get use to their parents being apart, and the only way for them to get comfortable with the situation is if they visit Dad.
Fathers who remain a part of the picture help to maintain a sense of normalcy for the child. If Dad always took Jason to t-ball practice during the week, make sure this ritual continues. This provides much needed stability and normalcy, as well as important father-child bonding time. Other ways to create and a sense of normalcy is to have the same bedtime and rules at both households. This will help to make the transition between the two homes easier on the child.
Males need to have a support system while going through a divorce, just like women do. A divorce or separation is a big change, and is hard to cope with (no matter what your gender may be). In fact, men oftentimes take the brunt of the impact, both financial and personally. But they need to keep in mind that a divorce will not ruin them. Yes, it will be tough and there may be hurdles they need to jump over, but it will not destroy them. There are many attorneys who recognize the hardships men face during a divorce, and who are ready to help protect their rights.
Its still possible to be a #1 Dad after divorce!