Sharing custody can be very hard on fathers. Dads often worry about their rights and struggle to adjust to the reality of only being around the children some of the time. Especially if your spouse stayed at home with the kids, you may not get as much parenting time as you might hope for.
In order to make up for the lack of quantity, you may try to focus instead on quality, trying to make each moment with your kids as fun and enjoyable for everyone as possible. While doing special things, like taking trips or going on shopping sprees, can be incredibly fun both for children and parents, that shouldn’t be all you do with your children.
Trying to be a friend instead of a father can eventually turn you into a Disneyland dad whose relationship with the children ultimately suffers as a result. If your kids see you as someone fun and not someone responsible and dependable, that may hamstring the developments of your bond as they mature, especially if your shared custody arrangement relegates you to parenting on the weekends.
Downtime and routine are important for children and teenagers
Structure is necessary for children. They need to know what to expect during the day and in different environments. If you never spend much time with your children in your home, they won’t have a sense of routine or structure. That means it won’t feel like home to them.
Your kids need time to just exist in your space. Letting them be a little bored will give them a chance to read books, rearrange the furniture in their room or watch a few movies with you. They should have a routine when they stay with you that involves boring things like homework. Quiet family time can be an even more important part of bonding with your children than adventures and memory-making.
Try to balance the fun with the mundane
You don’t have to completely forgo taking your kids on spontaneous adventures and otherwise trying to have fun with them. You just have to make sure that fun doesn’t dominate everything you plan with your children.
Talking with your ex to make sure that you maintain the same rules and curfews in your home, being consistent in discipline and remembering that the bond with your children is about mutual trust and respect, not just about gift-giving, will help you become a better parent after your divorce.