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Fathers’ time: Making the most of contact with children

Men can have a hard time seeing their children living in a different place with an ex-spouse they once loved. Some fathers in British Columbia, confined to visitation plans after divorce, view children across boundaries they no longer can cross. They worry the distance created by the end of a marriage will cause them to lose connections with their kids.

Some fathers overcompensate by lavishing expensive toys and trips upon children, as if money could make up for lost time and daily parent-child contact. Some dads let kids break all the rules as they strive for the most-liked parent trophy. Some of these behaviors are about insecurity and guilt, not about the children at all.

Many Canadian fathers have heard, when it comes to child interactions, quality beats quantity every time. But, dads often still rely on quantity – more ice cream and costly adventures – just in case the saying isn't true.

Divorce did not take away fatherhood nor did it diminish your children's desires to enjoy your love and affection. How you engage with children doesn't have to break the budget. You don't require a new personality or a constant supply of surprises to show your dad worthiness.

Sure, kids always welcome treats but, just as often, they value knowing a parent is always there to love, support and listen to them. Do things with your kids that you must do or things you like to do that children can share. Be willing to create distinctive but not necessarily expensive experiences -- projects or activities they normally wouldn't do with your ex-spouse.

It's okay not to have a goal, prize or plan in mind. Take the pressure off yourself by refusing to compete for the children's attention. Let your parent-child relationships develop naturally.

If you have difficulties along the way, air out disagreements about visitations or child custody with an attorney.

Source: Huffington Post Canada, "Five Ways Dads Can Make the Most of Their Dadhood," Joel Schwartzberg, June 02, 2015

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