If you were a distant, hands-off dad while you were married, you might be worried about drifting further away from your kids now that you and your spouse have parted.
Sometimes, well-meaning divorced fathers overcompensate for the things that have gone wrong, especially after a divorce. They practically buy out the toy store to please their children and win their affection. They take them to professional sports games with their favorite teams or let them stay up late watching TV on school nights.
The “Disney dad” mode of parenting can backfire
That behavior by a newly-divorced father is entirely understandable and human. It’s even been labeled being a “Disney dad.” You desperately want the kids to love you even though your new circumstances – and perhaps theirs – are not the greatest at the moment, so you pull out all the stops.
Maybe you weren’t exactly the perfect dad before. You could feel a little regretful. So you figure that getting them expensive new cell phones with all the bells and whistles or pricey designer outfits will have them adoring you again in no time. Unfortunately, spoiling them isn’t your wisest option and might actually make things worse.
You have scarcer time with the children, so you want to make it pure fun
Making it tougher is the fact that your time with them is comparatively brief now. Your inclination is to do exciting things with them and let them bypass the usual restrictions like early bedtimes and avoiding sugary junk food.
There are better, healthier ways to be a loving father
Balance the freewheeling fun with some reasonable fatherly concern:
- Show them how to be responsible people. Be a good role model for them.
- Don’t skip discipline when the kids are with you. They need limitations. Imposing them on your children shows your love for them.
- Share the things they like to do, such as athletics and experiencing the outdoors.
Enjoy yourself with your youngsters without going overboard
Do entertaining things with your children. Enjoy yourselves when you are allowed to be with them. Nevertheless, be a dad who uses discipline and limits when necessary. The most precious, memorable gifts you can give your children are the ones that can’t be bought.