So what does being a better dad mean to you? Playing more with your kids? Your love/yell ratio slants more in the yell category? You want to learn more about activities you can do with your kids? How do you talk to your kids?
The reason or purpose to wanting to become a better dad may vary, but the objective is the same – to be a BETTER dad.
During our September 7th meeting, we talked about 5 steps to help you achieve dad greatness (ha ha):
1. The #1 Secret of be a better dad
2. Transform parenting from quantity to quality
3. Developing a relationship with your kids
4. Transitions – the hidden gotcha’s of divorce
5. Collaborating with your ex
The #1 Secret
What is the most common element of all the questions in the opening paragraph? Not giving you the answer yet… think for a minute.
Okay – it’s you!
To become a better dad, you have to become a better YOU. A critical component if that is to ask yourself – what defines you, what’s most important? It all starts with defining a person mission statement and your values. What kind of dad do you want to be, and what values do you want to teach them. This exercise aligns your thoughts and actions and creates integrity.
Transform parenting from quantity to quality
A hard aspect of my divorce was not seeing my kids every day. I was saddened thinking about how much less time I would spend with my boys after divorce. When I calculated how much quality time I spent with my kids (yep, I got a piece of paper and charted my time) before and after divorce, I was surprised that I would be spending much more quality time with my kids after divorce.
Why, because I got all my work and distractions out of the way when I did not have my kids. Divorce was a huge win for quality time! Even if that equation is negative (less quality time), what do you want to teach your kids – to gloat or think positive and make the best of every situation?
Developing a relationship with your kids
After divorce your kids may need to adjust and settle in to the new situation. The strategies below will help make your home special, to deepen the relationship with your kids:
- Start a tradition, like decorating Christmas stockings, go camping the same time every year, eat at a certain restaurant
- Display your kid’s art work – hang them on the wall
- Make your kids apart of your new home by having them help decorate their room
- Be a great role model using the DICE method
- Define yourself
- Live with Intregity
- Be Consistent with boundaries
- Live by Example
Transitions – the hidden gotcha’s of divorce
Picking your kids, up, dropping them off, meeting your ex’s new boyfriend, seeing your ex unexpectedly somewhere – all these events are new and you don’t realize them until you are divorced and it happens. Here’s few tips on how to handle each situation to help you prepare in advance:
- Picking up and dropping your kids off: establish a routine, give your child a transition item (like a toy or blanket), help your child pack
- Meeting the new boyfriend: take the high road. Be cordial. As time goes on and you are sure the “other” man will be in your kid’s life, try to strike up a friendship. Your kids will always remember you are their father, don’t worry about that.
- Seeing your ex unexpectedly: Take the high road and be brief. Practice what you’d do and visualize it because it will happen. If you are healed and have no hard feelings, strike up a conversation if it fits the situation.
Collaborating with your ex
We talked a lot about this topic on August 17th, so please visit our Empowered Co-parenting blog. In short, try to be amicable and when compromising, don’t come from a mind frame of giving in, rather a mind frame of what’s right.
These are only highlights of the information shared during this meeting. There are so many more benefits to attending a meeting, including: connecting with other like-minded men, learning of all the resources available to you, and getting your specific questions answered.