5 Ways Dads Can Cope After a Divorce
5 Ways Dads Can Cope After A Divorce
Divorce is a difficult life transition for any man. Things are even more complicated if children are involved. Even though divorce is common today, there is still a stigma that divorce is a sign of failure and the worst possible situation for the kids. From a father’s perspective, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the changes and uncertainties brought about with the end of a marriage. Will my kids be ok? Am I going to feel guilty for the rest of my life? How will I afford monthly child support payments?
These and other fears plague many dads going through a divorce. Without the proper help and support system, it’s easy to fall into anxiety and depression. Thankfully a divorce does not have to spell the end of a dad’s life (or the wellbeing of his children). There are ways dads can cope with a divorce that help him grow into a better version of himself and a model for his kids.
Here Are 5 Ways a Dad Can Cope After a Divorce
Manage feelings of guilt
It’s common for dads to struggle with guilt after a divorce. They often feel like the end of the marriage is completely their fault. Or they imagine they have completely messed up their kids. Neither of these is true. More often than not, the dissolution of a marriage is a result of both people not being able to work things out. Sure, kids are hurt by divorce. It’s hardly the ideal situation. But with the right support and love, children can heal and move forward in their life. If you let guilt determine your life, you’ll feel terrible about yourself and you’ll parent out of a reactive place. Managing feelings of guilt can help free you up to love and accept yourself. At the end of the day this is what your kids need most.
Control your anger
After a divorce, your life can feel out of control. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lash out at your kids or ex-spouse. Neither one of these is a good idea. If you’re blowing up at your kids, this will make make them feel unsafe and unsure about visiting you. Even if you have legitimate reasons for being upset with your ex-spouse, controlling your emotions ensures that you’re establishing the best possible relationship with the person you’re going to share your kids with for the rest of your life. Exercise, listening to music and journaling are all healthy ways of channeling your anger.
Make the most of the custody agreement
Most dads see their kids once a week for dinner and every other weekend. This can be discouraging if you let it be. Instead of seeing the custody agreement as set in stone, see it as etched in sand. There will be times your ex-spouse will be out of town or will need extra help with the kids. Dads can make themselves available to spend extra time with the kids even if its a last minute thing. Time with kids does not have to be a huge production or expense. A night out for ice cream, a trip to the pool or a movie night can be wonderful times of connection.
Be mindful of how the kids are doing
Divorce impacts kids. There’s no way around this. However, there are things you can do to help. Dads should walk a fine line here. If you’re constantly asking your kids how they are doing or implying that they should be struggling, chances are they will struggle. If you’re mindful of their behavior and emotions without being overly paranoid, you’ll get a sense of how they are doing and whether or not they need professional help.
Know yourself, benefit your children
One of the potential blessings of a divorce is that it can force dads to know themselves at a deeper level and to work on behaviors that contributed to the end of their marriage. The Stoic philosophers believed that the obstacle is the way. Sometimes it takes something traumatic like a divorce to wake a man up and get him to reevaluate himself and his lifestyle. If you see divorce as an opportunity to work on yourself and become a better person, your kids will benefit from this transformation. A healthier dad means happier children.
Counseling can give you tools to create a healthier lifestyle
If you have the time and resources, it might be a good idea to give counseling a try. Counseling is not just for men who have severe mental health issues. Counseling can help anyone going through a major life transition like divorce. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very effective with men! Your therapist can help you identify the negative thoughts that cause emotional distress and help you learn how to replace them with thoughts that result in greater strength and confidence. You can also work on specific goals that will help you change your behavior and reach your highest potential. If you are stuck and would like help getting unstuck, please give us a call at the Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch. We would love to help you process your divorce and be the best man you can be!
Begin Counseling in Katy, TX
If you are ready to work on yourself the therapists at The Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide men’s issues counseling as well as other services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about men’s issues counseling
- Meet with one of our skilled therapists
- Find ways to get unstuck and be the best man you can be!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services for people of all ages including: women’s issues, treatment for anxiety, trauma counseling, counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, depression treatment, family therapy, and group counseling.