Why Your Child Needs Their Father – And How You Can Help Their Relationship
Co-parenting is anything but easy. There are times when you want to throw your hands up in the air and give up on trying to share disciplinary responsibilities with your ex.
As it turns out, resisting your urge to fight for full custody is not only beneficial for you, but also crucial to your children’s health.
There is no denying that children need their mothers. There is also no denying that children need their fathers. Even on days when it feels like your ex does little more than offer financial assistance, he does more for the stability of your children than you can imagine.
I have worked with countless couples who attempt to blame one another to the point that they can’t stand to share parenting responsibilities. You can move past this urge to blame the other.
The ultimate focus should be on your children and what their needs are. Here are a few specialized reasons why children need their divorced fathers, and how to use that information to build a better relationship with their children.
For Emotional Security
Emotional security is critical for your children to live happy, healthy lives. A recent review of several studies by the Father Involvement Research Alliance showed that babies who have more involved fathers turn out more emotionally secure and confident. Those same little ones grow up to be more sociable individuals.
Not only that, children who have more active fathers end up with higher IQs by the time they turn three years old. This emotional security helps children prepare for school and for time spent away from their parents.
During that same review, they also found that girls with involved fathers had higher self-confidence, and teenage girls were far less likely to become pregnant. Boys also showed less aggression and impulsivity when their fathers were more involved.
It’s rather obvious that keeping children away from their fathers does no one any good. If you think you’re doing your children a favor by reducing their contact with their father, you’re wrong. Of course, there are a few circumstances, such as if your ex is dangerous or in any way harmful for your children, that you would be correct. The vast majority of divorced fathers are still good human beings that can help their children grow into healthy adults.
To Feel Protected
As a divorced mother, you obviously want to keep your children safe. I personally felt very lost after my divorce, and can absolutely relate to your concern about giving your children over to your ex. But you have to.
While this may sting, fathers appear to be better protectors of their children. They offer protection from bullies and bad influences. When fathers are more involved in your children’s lives, they are in a better position to provide real feedback for the challenges they face. Your kids will enjoy greater confidence and know that someone bigger, stronger, and wiser is always in their corner.
Why rob your children of extra support, especially when their lives are already difficult? Being a young person in today’s highly connected world is not easy. If you can give your kids a chance to grow and feel secure in who they are, why wouldn’t you?
Better Behavioral Outcomes
Another key point to keep in mind is the behavior of your children later in life. Studies prove that children who have a powerful bond with their fathers have less behavioral problems, and rarely suffer from alcohol and drug abuse. On the contrary, fathers who are out of the picture put their children at greater risk for dropping out of school or falling into substance abuse.
Some believe that children of divorced fathers are at greater risk for behavioral problems. As it turns out, as long as fathers are actively involved with their children, his relationship with the mother means very little.
Clearly this is amazing news for divorced moms and dads! You don’t have to worry about your relationship issues ever damaging your children’s lives as long as you both play an active role in your kids’ lives. There’s no denying it: Children need their fathers.
Perfection Is Not Necessary
The best part about all this information is that fathers do not have to be perfect to help their children live happy and healthy lives.
No matter what happened between you and your ex, if he’s trying to be in your child’s life you should be thankful. It is a blessing for your children to have a father figure who truly cares about who they are and how their lives are going.
Instead of being negative about how late your ex was to pick up the kids or reinforcing the idea that he doesn’t care, talk about the good things he’s doing. He doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good dad or to have a positive influence on their lives. Pay attention to the good things to get through the bad days of co-parenting.
How You Can Help
There is so much you can do to help this process. No one is denying how critical your role is to your children. However, your ex may need more assistance to stay in your kids’ good graces.
Instead of heading straight to negativity, refuse to focus on your ex’s faults, at least in front of your children. Also, work hard to create a disciplinary plan that you both can agree on. Disagreeing about discipline can seriously damage your efforts as parents. Come together on a co-parenting structure so that your children can live in a consistent environment where rules are enforced.
Are you still struggling to compromise with your ex? What are some other ways you can help support your children’s relationship with their father? Would love to hear your thoughts!
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