When a marriage breaks down, it tends to be the dad who leaves the family home.
And the latest figures show that after a split, mums get to spend an average of 70 per cent of the time with the kids — with dad often relegated to weekend-only visits at best. As a result, fathers are sometimes the forgotten victims of a divorce, who end up struggling to be a part of their children’s lives.
Family counsellor Denise Knowles says she has also noticed a definite rise in this phenomenon. “We’re seeing a lot more men who have separated from the mother of their children, and feel anxious about how they can continue to play an important role in their child’s life, especially if a new partner comes along,” Denise explains, adding, “When you don’t see your children every day, it can be tough to maintain a strong connection. But not living under the same roof doesn’t have to mean being less involved. There are lots of things you can do to be an active dad.”
– Be civil with your ex: However you feel about the mother of your children, having an amicable parenting relationship goes a long way to help you stay part of their lives.
– Get involved in the day-to-day: Stay involved in the normal daily stuff. Talk to them about their friends and interests, go to parent-teacher events and ask their school for details of your child’s progress.
– Schedule some ‘unspecial’ time: Treating your kids is great, but being a dad isn’t just about fun times. It’s just as important to sit down to eat together or watch TV — and to be there when discipline is needed.
– Show you’re still a family: Regardless of how the relationship between mum and dad ended, you’re still a family. Children must see both of you in parenting roles.