Every child needs a Daddy. Maybe that should be the end of this post. Every child needs a Daddy. It’s worth repeating, but what do you do when the father of your children is not the Daddy you hoped he’d be or that children deserve?
Studies show loving, present fathers make a world of difference. Children of fathers who love and live with their children are less likely to engage in drug use, excessive alcohol consumption, or sexual activity outside of Marriage. They are less likely to be overly aggressive, have difficulties in school and relationships, end up in prison, or commit suicide.
Children of fathers who demonstrate love even when love is difficult, learn the power of love and selflessness. Children whose fathers remain Married to their mothers learn security and confidence knowing their father’s love is not based on changing circumstances. Children of fathers who are active in their faith and practice what they preach embrace the love and power of God rather than turn their backs to The Father’s Love. These children go on to have happier Marriages.
The role of fathers and men throughout history prove one unmistakable fact: Fathers who are strong, protective role models and provide for their wives and children, not just financially, but intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, are vital to a thriving society, a loving home, and a child’s view of himself image and the world.
But what happens when the father you chose for your children is not the Man you thought he was or that his children deserve? What happens when a father’s choices conflict with his call to manhood but your children want to go with him or are told by the court system they must?
Our judicial system has transferred from a foundation of respect for individual freedoms and longterm good of the nation to a promotion of individual happiness and quick escapes from present discomfort. When this happens, Marriage, family, and children are placed on the chopping block.
Children are enslaved with the yoke of resilience when adults quit caring. Divorce doesn’t make life better. It makes life angrier. Divorce doesn’t end relationships. It hardens them. Divorce allows unfaithful adults to move on while burdening children with remaining loyal to divided households.
We’ve seem to view personal happiness as the ultimate in importance and think children’s happiness is dependent on adult happiness. As generations of the “products of divorce” reach adulthood, adult victims of divorce, whether their parents divorced when they were infants or adults, are verbalizing lifelong scars.
With irrefutable evidence of the need for good men and fathers and a court system that puts quantity of parenting above quality of parenting, how does a woman hand over her children to a father who is less than the man he was created to be?
Whether you hand over a nursing infant for a weekend’s visitation or say good bye to a teen who has screamed for the last time that she can’t stand you and wants to live with dad, a little piece of a Mother’s heart dies each time she watches her children go away. Understanding things from your child’s point of view may help.
5 Keys to Understanding Your Child’s Point of View in Child Visitation
- Children miss their dads – Despite reassurances that divorce is not about them, children believe it is. Abandonment hurts. A child needs a mother and a father. Even Jesus was given Joseph. Your children’s father may be no Joseph but that craving for a father figure remains. Allow your children to receive any love their father can give.
- There is no justice in visitation – Accept that. Then accept that visitation injustice is especially true for your child. What is “best for the child,” is Married parents living together. Anything less is a grave injustice committed against your child. Your child is powerless in custody disputes. Comfort him in his imprisonment rather than make him feel guilty for being imprisoned.
- Understand that he can’t understand – No matter how old he is, your child won’t understand your pain. Hope that he never understands. Draw strength from that hope.
- Children are made for love – We should love our enemies, but loving your children’s father isn’t easy. Encourage children to go beyond visiting their father by loving him. Help them find good in others, even when it is difficult. Empower them with their ability to choose love.
- Your children know their father is not the man he was created to be – You listen to stories children tell when they come home from visitation. You know what they eat, watch, and play! You know what your ex says about you and, worse, what he says about his children! On some level, children know their father is wrong without your intervention. Allow them to talk and share without criticism. Model the Beatitudes and offer conversational discussions for why you act as you do.
No matter how you feel about your children’s father, he is still your children’s father. Part of them will always identify with him. By criticizing him or portraying your hurt on children you cause feelings of confusion, guilt, anger, and anxiety, which makes children question who is the better person.
You are parenting for the long term. Don’t fall prey to the same trap of individual happiness and quick escapes your ex and the court system have.
Your goal is to provide what your child’s father chooses to not: a stable home where where you choose to love and accept your children unconditionally giving them freedom to question their situations and express themselves.
For help practical advice on making your child’s time away from you the best it can be for your child and for yourself and for help being a more loving parent, subscribe to this week’s newsletter or contact me about Embracing Joy!