It’s Summer, and If You Are A Divorced Father, Your Kids Are Visiting
Fathers look forward to these visits with joy, and often their partners look forward to these visits with trepidation. The new partner is a stepmother, with all the complexities of that title.
We work with many fathers as to how to best handle their children’s summer visits.
Here is some of what we teach:
10 Steps for Summer Dads
- Schedule fun times, and schedule times of sharing: dinners all talk about good news and bad news of the day.
- You and your partner, Male and Female Head of House, work out The Rules of this House.
- Fathers and stepmothers merge their views. Rules, roles, chores, manners decided on and written,
- Set specific predictable routines for the AM and PM.
- Create structure. Be Predicable. Enforce rules. Use and positive and negative consequences.
- Generally the biological parent disciplines whenever possible. Dad is away: the stepmother says, “in this house your father an I have decided that ....” e.g., those towels go on the rack, dishes go in the dishwasher, coat gets hung up etc.
- Build couple strength. Respect each other's reality/point of view.
- Remember clear agreed upon discipline, guidance, love and encouragement is a most important job of the heads of the house.
- Take your place as leaders in your stepfamily. The children win at life when parent and stepparent have clear expectations.
- Guard your sense of humor.
We have 4 basic rules as a starter:
- Say hello, goodbye, please and thank you
- Look people in the eye when talking
- Allow others to finish their sentences
- Respect each other in what we say and what we do