Question: Isn’t it better for my children to just stay with their mom because she makes them feel so guilty for being with me?
Your children will pay a bigger price if you don’t pressure them to be with you. You are crucial, not peripheral to the moral and social development of your children. Numerous studies have shown that children who have involved fathers have lower crime rates, fewer unmarried pregnancies, less child abuse in general, less child sex abuse specifically, and lower rates of poverty.
Tell your children that they have two parents and that spending time with each of you is important. You will be supportive of the time they spend with their mother. You would hope that she would also be supportive of your relationship with them. But her not being supportive changes nothing in terms of their time with you. You would not be worth much as a father if you let them grow up with only one parent.
Question: How should I react when my children act like they don’t want to be with me for our weekend visitation?
Don’t take it personally and don’t blame it on them. Ignore it completely. The most likely reason for their coldness is their mother’s disapproval. Rejoice that your kids are playing the game with their mom to make it easier on themselves. But notice that the longer they are with you, the better they like it. By Saturday night they will probably have “thawed.” Hang in there Dad. The day will come when they no longer live at their moms and they can come to see you as they please…and they will.
Question: I see my kids only four days a month (alternate weekends) and miss them terribly the in-between times. How can I deal with my unhappiness and frustration?
The absence divorced fathers feel from their children is real. Before the divorce, they had access 100% of the time. Traditional visitation results in fathers seeing their children less than a quarter of the time. Although you probably can’t change the court order specifying how often you can see your kids, you can change how you view and use the time you are not with your children. Your choice to view the positive aspects of the separation will result in your feeling better about it. Examples of such thoughts include “I have uninterrupted time to devote to my work / career, the opportunity to spend adult time with friends , and the opportunity to spend time with a new partner”. Rejoice that your children are with their mom so that you can get your work done and develop or nurture new relationships.
Not to focus on good aspects of being apart from your children is to ensure your misery. Thoughts such as, “I must be with my children or I will be unhappy” is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you insist that you will be unhappy without them, you will. Shakespeare said, “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
Please Submit Your Own Story…
Please consider sharing your story with others suffering now. How you coped? How you felt? What helped? What were the circumstances that led up to your separation? How do you cope with loneliness? The more you can share the better.
Your story really does help others who are going through the same gut wrenching pain. Your story reinforces the fact that they are not alone in their suffering.