Parents undergoing relationship difficulties probably know what their conflict is doing to their children; one of the reasons why the decision to separate either temporarily or permanently may be taken – because it is in the interests of all concerned.
However this doesn’t mean that it will all be hunky-dory for the separated parent who is away from the kids; who is the dad more often than not.
Issues such as alienation, parenting responsibilities, custody and child support, housing issues, logistical issues can crop up when parents are living apart and quite simply, dads can miss their kid(s) terribly.
However they can do the following to make the best of the situation –
Keep the conflict away from the kids
Whatever the issues may be between the mother and the father; these should remain between the adults and not impinge on the child’s life. If required, keep the interaction to a minimum, and keep it business like to avoid possible altercations.
Develop a workable plan and schedule that both parents are agreeable to, and try and stick to it in the interests of peace and amity.
Don’t argue in front of the kids and equally don’t use them as messengers; be civil and communicate directly. Even when alone with the children, don’t undermine or belittle their mother.
Let the child(ren) know you still love them
Continue to be as involved a parent as the circumstances permit by attending activities the child is involved in, continuing involvement in their education, regularly communicating via the phone or email and so on and keeping abreast with all that is going on with the child.
Let the child know that he or she is still cherished and loved as before, and that what has happened between the parents has no bearing on your feelings for the child. Children may need more reassurance about their parents’ love for them at this difficult juncture.
Take the separation as an opportunity
Traditionally there are number of parenting chores and responsibilities that are left to the mother. However the separation may give the dad an opportunity to get involved in parenting like never before, and it may become possible for the father-child relationship to actually deepen and strengthen.
Don’t be a Disneyland Dad
Being a part-time dad may mean the temptation to go overboard by showering the child with gifts, expensive outings and so on. This may spoil the equation with the other parent and it will ultimately mean spoiling the child, so continue to have a loving but balanced relationship with the child.