My father left when I was four years old and I think it has been eight years since I last spoke to him. But I’m honestly a bit traumatised by the last argument so I really can’t remember the year that we last spoke. Needless to say, I definitely have trust issues that are certainly impacting upon my current single status.
I don’t want this to be a blame story, but rather I want to give some advice to fathers who find themselves in a split family situation. And this is certainly true for both men and women.
Firstly, don’t be a dick with your dick. USE CONTRACEPTION if you cannot image spending the rest of your life with your current partner. When you just want some fun and the idea of children is just something you will deal with it then you are setting yourself up for failure. You are effectively planning to have a split family. And while you may argue that separated families are the norm then you fail to consider the impact on the children. Relationships never end on good terms and both parents inevitably bad mouth each other in front of the children. They use the kids to hurt the other parent. And at some point they will both ask the children to choose a parent because they want to hear that they are loved more than the other parent. My own father would tell us that he was being transferred to another town and that there was nothing he could do to stop it just to hear us cry and tell him that we didn’t want him to leave. It was never true.
Leading on from this, do not emotionally blackmail your children to get them to say that they love you. Instead, give your children a reason to tell you that they love you. Be honest and trustworthy and support all of their interests. Take an interest in their achievements, attend that soccer game. And for goodness sake, please do not start something that you cannot see through. If you sign them up for a sport or a subscription magazine then don’t stop just because you got bored.
Thirdly, it is essential that you are consistent. Be on time to see your children and don’t cancel at the last minute. It would break my heart to wait half an hour at the gate for no one to show up. Then mum would call up to find that he had gone shopping in another town for his new girlfriend. (And this happened on more than one occasion).
Lastly, things have changed for you and your children will struggle to understand that. You may not have a wife to worry about anymore but you still have children to plan for. In their eyes your life still revolves around their family including both parents. Aim for quality rather than quantity when it comes to visitations. Kids won’t want to share you during a visit so always make sure to have some daddy-kids time among the shared time with the new friends and girlfriend.
These are a few suggestions that I make as a child of a broken home. I make these after reflecting back on the relationship we did and now don’t have with our father. There are pitfalls that people struggle to get away from. And of course they apply to both men in women when separation is concerned. Making sure that your children are not caught up in the relationship breakdown is the most important thing that parents can do.
More advice to come on this topic.