With only a few days remaining in 2016, many people are taking time to reflect on the last year and are starting to look ahead to what 2017 might bring.
You might be in the process of coming up with goals and resolutions to try to keep over the next 365 days to help make your year more prosperous. As a father, it might be helpful to think about ways you can work to improve the relationships you have with your children.
With that in mind, here are some New Year’s resolutions for divorced dads.
Improve your co-parenting relationship
Working with your ex is not necessarily something you want to do, but the relationship you have as co-parents is going to have affect your kids.
When it comes to co-parenting, communication is the name of the game. Think hard about the various ways you and your ex communicate. What works? What causes arguments? How can you individually, without help from her, improve the situation?
Avoid unnecessary disagreements, and turn the other cheek when necessary. Remember, you’re not doing this for her, or even for you, but for your children.
Start new traditions
We recently offered some tips for dads to begin new holiday traditions with their kids after divorce, but you don’t have to limit new family activities and adventures to November and December. It’s something you can do every day of the year.
Plan a daily or weekly family dinner with your children. Numerous studies have shown that sharing a meal as a family can have a positive influence on children. (And here are some cooking tips if you’re still getting familiar with the kitchen.)
You could start a family movie night where you and the kids catch a film every Friday night and alternate who gets to pick the movie each time.
If you have the money, you could begin planning a fun summer vacation. This would give you and the kids months to look forward to it.
The possibilities for new traditions are endless. Get creative!
Empower your kids
Understandably, a lot of divorced fathers feel like they’ve been sent to the sideline and are a secondary parent after divorce.
However, it is important to keep in mind that just because you’re a divorced dad, you are still a dad. In fact, the role you play now is more important than ever.
There are a million tiny ways you can uplift and empower your kids. Encourage them to assert themselves, praise their strengths every chance you get, and let them know how important it is to be themselves.
Get involved at your kids’ school
If you’re doing your job as a father, you’re probably already plenty involved in what’s going on at your children’s school. But kick it up another notch.
Make sure you’re always willing to help out with homework whenever they need you. Communicate with their teachers so you know how they’re doing and head off any potential problems. Attend extra-curricular activities every chance you get. You could even get involved in the PTO.
Of course, your kids need space and you don’t want to be overbearing, but make sure you’re as involved as you can be.
Take care of yourself
It is well-documented that men face increased health risks after divorce. Startlingly, the suicide rate for divorced men skyrockets.
In order to be the best dad you can be, you have to make sure you take care of your health. You need to be physically and mentally strong for when your kids need you.
You also need to take steps to improve your individual happiness. That might mean working on reinventing yourself after divorce and coming up with new hobbies you enjoy. This can increase the enjoyment you get out of life and boost your day-to-day confidence.
The positivity you feel about your own life will carry over and make you a better parent.
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