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Dads must remain close, despite living arrangements

When a couple with children divorces, adjusting to the changes in family structure can be difficult for all involved. Often, the mother retains primary physical custody of the children, with the father receiving liberal visitation time. For those Texas Dads who are struggling to adjust to these altered living arrangements, it is important to understand how essential it is to remain connected to one’s children.

Research suggests that daughters are especially vulnerable to negative effects associated with losing regular contact with their fathers. This is troubling, because many therapists and psychologists believe that girls will grow up to seek out partners that are similar to their fathers. Therefore, the role that fathers play within the lives of their daughters is critical.

Fathers may struggle to retain or rebuild a close bond with a daughter, especially as girls grow older and naturally gravitate toward spending more time with their peer group. Even though it might take a creative approach, dads should carve out time and space to spend one-on-one time with daughters. This process can be made easier by simply including the child in planning time together. Be flexible, and willing to spend time doing activities that girls enjoy and feel comfortable with.

Be sure to ask lots of questions about her life, friends, school and so on. When it comes to connecting with one’s children, listening is often just as important as speaking. It can also help to connect regularly through phone calls, email or texts, which can help fathers become enmeshed within the daily fabric of a child’s day, even when it is not a scheduled visitation time.

With the right mix of effort and intention, it is possible for Texas fathers to remain closely connected to their daughters, even after divorce brings about a change in living arrangements. Doing so is beneficial to all parties, and can help a child transition into a two-household family structure. Even more importantly, remaining close may help daughters structure a loving family of their own in the years to come.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Message to Dads: Strengthen Your Bond With Your Daughter After Divorce", Terry Gaspard, June 13, 2014

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