"Daddy, are you there?" 10 Ways Noncustodial fathers can help raise their kids

"Daddy, are you there?" 10 Ways Noncustodial fathers can help raise their kids

Raising Hell:

Being an absentee father

Raising Them Well:

Being there even when you can’t always be there.

Ways noncustodial fathers can help raise their children:

  1. Establish a united front with the other parent - especially in front of your children. Be on one accord regarding discipline, goals etc.. Kids pick up on divisiveness. It leads to distress, confusion and unhappiness. It also makes kids feel they must choose sides. The lack of  parent solidarity may open up opportunities for kids to play one parent against the other.  So, try your best to mutually come up with a positioning both of you can agree on, and demonstrate that to your children. It's a challenge, but it's doable.
  2. Don't badmouth the other parent to your kids no matter how tempting it may be.
  3. If possible, live close to your children so you all may have easier access to each other. If that's not possible, don't fade away. Frequently communicate with your kids. Establish visitation. You may have to do this through the court system.
  4. Establish a ritual or tradition that is meaningful, e.g.  pick them up from school, go to parent/teacher meetings, coach their teams, get haircuts together, take them to church, etc.
  5. Call and/or Skype them regularly - even if it means a five minute call or good night.  This is especially important if you can't be physically close for long periods of time. On Skype you can help with homework, read a bedtime story or make sure they brush their teeth. Be pen pals, friend them on social networking sites, exchange videos. play video games together via XBox Live. Again, keep the lines of communication open.
  6. Recognize that little intimate moments can be the best moments of their lives. No need to feel pressure to always plan a big colossal weekend adventure. Just hanging with you chilling and interacting can be good enough. Talk, Time and Attention are big deals.
  7. Avoid avoiding your kids. Plopping them in front of the TV or dropping them off at your mama's all weekend ain't gonna get it.
  8. Send voice story books where your voice is recorded reading a bedtime story. Hallmark makes several books like that. Can't buy a book? Write great adventurous letters.
  9. Incarcerated Dads got to be creative. Frequently send letters, clippings from magazines, and share your personal wisdom and guidance. Show you're interested in their schooling and activities. Urge your kids to send you pictures, graded papers and such. Even if they rarely write back or visit you, keep up your end of the bargain.
  10. If you lose track of your kids, write a journal of how you feel. Write them letters and poetry. Talk about your life,  mistakes,  hopes. Tell your children how much they mean to you. Pray to God on paper. And Dad, don't think you're lame for doing this.  Someday, you may be reunited. This journal will answer some of their questions about you. Don't abandon your attempts to reunite with them.

Some of these suggestions may have to be tweaked to fit the situation, but I urge you fathers to not give up. And I urge you mothers to not give up on the fathers who want to be there.

To both parents and grands: Unforgiveness ruins families. It hurts your children. You must overcome it. For me, prayer, meditation and reflection help me move to a frame of mind that allows me to shed the resentment. It's good for my mental health and the happiness of those I love. It is a process. But you can do ALL things...  Dad, one of those things is to be there for your kids -one way or the other.

Parents and grandparents in noncustodial arrangements:  How are you handling your situation? What can you do to make it better?



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  • Hi Eyde,
    Thank you for sharing my post. I read a few of your articles, and they were very touching. This last one hit home for me, as my father left when I was 10. Great tips. Thank you for sharing them.

  • I also shared this post as well.

  • In reply to Robyn Shulman:

    Thanks Robyn for reading and sharing. My father did not raise me, nor did he try. I commend those fathers who want to. Hope your Dad was there, though he couldn't "be there".

  • fb_avatar

    Great post Eyde! I was one of those kids who, while my parents were off and on during my youth, my father was a mere seven digits away and could be there in a flash for a trip to McDonald's or with his belt, whatever the situation called for. I've always appreciated my parents deeply for putting the kids ahead of their stormy marriage. There was never a question about it. We came first.

  • In reply to Edwina Elliott:

    Fantastic! You were blessed, Edwina. I have no idea what that feels like, but I had the great pleasure of witnessing good fathering in action with my husband.

  • fb_avatar

    Hello Edye, I you are so very right however Ive been told by my 13 year old granddaughter that she do not want to see me again, this coming from me posting your last post on her moms page, I have taken care of this child from the time she was six weeks old until she started school full time from sun up til sun down, when my son went to jail two years ago i was getting the weekends she spent with him(every other weekend) last time i saw her was three years ago about may 2009, I went back to visit in july but her mom had moved, I found the phone number and was able to speak with her occasionally but then about two months of that and the number was changed, so now i have her on facebook, she says she don't want to be bothered but I leave a small message every once in a while, my heart has been broken over this but I remain standing in the Faith of God knowing that He is still in control and that one she and I will bond again.

  • In reply to Bertha Hardridge:

    Wow, Bertha, I'm so sorry to hear that. I can't help but think that sometimes the paternal grandmothers get the rotten end of the stick. If the parents aren't together, the grandkids usually gravitate toward the mother's side of the family. At least, this has been my observation and some have confirmed it.

    Preteen girls tend to go through growing pains during this time. They tend to become more challenging - especially to their mothers and grandmothers. It's a process that they often outgrow. But while it's going on it could be a hot mess. Maybe that's what's going on with your granddaughter. Could there have been any conflict between you and her while you were raising her? Issues with her dad, disciplinary issues, conflicts etc. that she has not expressed. Children's perception of things may differ from grown up. They may keep stuff inside that hurt hem, but we haven't a clue. Also perhaps he issue with her dad and perhaps her mom's views about it and maybe the family, might have tainted her view of things. Just some things to consider.

    I would say keep talking to her through Facebook. Let her know you are thinking of her and love her. You might want to put that in her inbox. Kids are sensitive about grown-ups writing on their page sometimes. I say, mail her a Thinking of You card. And keep a journal yourself about how you feel. It's good to get that stuff out. I don't know your relationship with her mom, but if it's good, keep in touch with her. Keep the door open for communication either way. With you letting God's light shine through your actions, mountains will be moved - either by her coming to you, or you finding peace, regardless of the outcome.

  • Every few years, I buy my daughter (who lives across the province from me) a Build A Bear stuffy and record a voice chip of my voice to put in it. She treasures them. I skype her frequently too.

  • In reply to catmcroy:

    That's a great idea! A Build A Bear... I will make note of that!

  • This is incredibly pertinent. One of the most staggering things that I experienced as a parent came when my son was about five. He had been playing with the kids in the neighborhood, and suddenly, was standing in the middle of my living room looking like he had seen a ghost. I asked why he wasn't outside playing, and he said that the kids were up to something that was going to get them in trouble. I asked if they refused to let him play because he wouldn't go along with whatever it was that they wanted to do, and he shook his head vehemently, "No!" So, what then? It seems that he told his play friends that he couldn't go along with their idea, because his Daddy wouldn't like it. One of the kids responded to him, "So, what does ;your Dad have to do with anything, anyway?" My son had absolutely not clue how to deal with that or what to say. It brought home to me, how many children have no sense of their father in their lives, and how sad that truly is.

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    I pursued a satisfying career in the advertising industry, served as a volunteer mentor and parent educator at my two (now grown up) sons' schools and have actually stayed happily married for over a quarter of a century. However, my most gratifying achievement was raising my sons well. I'm not saying there wasn't a little bit of hell raising going on, but you live and learn. Now I'm passing the knowledge on to you. My goal is to turn these nuggets of wisdom into reference books for parents.

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