Visitation. Even the word sounds ominous, like something you might do with a prisoner. If you’re a divorced dad who gets the kids maybe twice a month, I know this is one of the greatest challenges you face. You don’t have free access to your kids, and when you do see them, there’s pressure to make the most of your time together. Unfortunately, kids sense that pressure and it changes things.
Anita recently sent us this e-mail:
I'm a single mother, and by chance I ran upon your web site. The information scared me—not for myself, but for my 2-year-old son. His father left when he was born, and he's had no contact with him at all. I feel this is for the best because his father doesn't care and has no desire to spend time with him. He is very irresponsible and I'm personally happy he is out of our lives. We are surviving. I want my son to be happy and healthy, and I would love nothing more than to meet a good man to be a father to my son. But until that special person comes along, it's just the two of us.
Are you there for your kids? Really there? Or are you just going through the motions? I want to share with you how dads—even divorced dads—can establish a "consistent presence" in their children's lives.
For too many fathers, home is where they eat, sleep, and do their best to keep the noise level down. Day-to-day parenting is often left to their wives. These dads have convinced themselves that their presence or absence has little impact on the family.