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Coping With Life as a Separated Dad

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 6 Oct 2021 |
 
Separated Dad Kid Children Weekend

No father wants to be away from his children, but if you find yourself in this situation, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you have a great time with your children when you do see them. Breaking up with your partner is always painful, and more so if there are children involved.

Even if you only see your children every other weekend, you are still a very important part of their life. It is vitally important to ensure that you try to make peace, if just for the sake of your children, with your children’s mother. Although this may at times seem like an uphill struggle, the hard work it requires is far outweighed by the benefits to both you and your children.

Handovers

Inevitably as a separated dad, you will come into contact with your children's mother. Try to make the handover times as stress-free as possible. If you can, ensure that you don’t express any anger. This flares up the situation and your children may start to play up. If Your Ex Has A New Partner, he is likely to be tense as well, and in such circumstances it is easy to see how situations can get out of hand.

When it’s time to say goodbye, tell your children you love them and give them a hug. Ensure that you tell them when you are going to see them next and, at all times, try to be strong for the sake of your children. Remember, no matter how hurt, angry or bitter you may feel, you are the adult and they are the children!

Time Out

When you haven’t seen your children for a while, it may be tempting to plan a huge weekend full of exhausting activities for them. That’s not necessarily what they need from you as a father. Try, if you can, to balance fun and exciting activities with quiet time for you and your children. Reading a book with them, playing a board game, or just listening to them are all good ways to show them that you care without spending a fortune. (For more information, read our article Making The Most of Your Time With Your Child.)

Keeping in Touch

When you’re not with your children, it’s really important to keep in touch with them by phone, text and email – or whatever way you can. If your children know you are around, thinking of them, you are reinforcing in their mind that you are there for them. They should know that you are always around to talk to them if they need you.

Discipline

If you only see your children twice a month, try not to be too much of a disciplinarian. While this doesn’t mean allowing them to run riot and create total havoc for two days, it does mean that they should come away with happy memories of the time you have spent with them. You may feel that you need to enforce authority and stick to rules, but remember that your kids have been hurt in the process of separation, too. Talk to their mother and agree certain rules, which you can use flexibly, so that your children have some continuity and know the difference between what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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@sean ,the lady who runs the hiking group actually owns a travel agency in my home town and has put together trip at Christmas on the (cheap )for us .we will be actually be working and living on a 1800s sail boat for 3 nights on the Whitsunday and hiking .now thats cool .so maybe you consider join a group to help cope with life as a single dad .
C laurie - 6-Oct-21 @ 3:40 AM
@sean.i join a bush walking group and go every weekend now its springmy fitness levels are good now im kind off the same I guess once I stop working hard and not exercising I start to feel like im slipping and get depressed feel low start to feel old .push the body the mind will follow and will be sharper sean after every bushwalk when I come home my mind is clear off negative thoughts. And I actually meet sum really nice people on my walks and believe it or not im actually doing grade 5 bushwalks now that means havinga compass and basic rock climbing gear ropes ect.its free its great fitness amazing views good company and puts you in a good head space .
Johnny walker - 6-Oct-21 @ 3:19 AM
@sean.just get a solicitor go to court that way you don't have deal with that women .if your name is on birth certificate you will get rights mate.( I personally know guys who have done serious jail time for drug trafficking and weapons). And even those guys see there kids mate
C laurie - 5-Oct-21 @ 10:16 PM
@sean,my daughter is grown up now so( I'm so lucky) I dont have to deal with the child's mother and her games .I avoid people who try and push my buttons or( I just laugh in there face that silence them pretty quick ).these are the tools you need to put into practice they work and you don't even need to raise your hands or voice.
C laurie - 5-Oct-21 @ 10:00 PM
@sean,I myself had a temper thats out off this world when young( I would fight at a drop off hat ) but I grew out off out off it with age when I was in trouble with the law years ago sitting in the cells i was going though a break up dealing with the sudden loss off my father dealing with the fact I could be going to prison worrying im never going to see my kids again .I cried in my cell and for the first time sence I was a kid at (Sunday school )I got down on my knees and I did pray to the heavenly father and begged me to keep me out off jail or atleast give me the strength and willto survive in jail with these animals. And my pray was answered (i believe anyway ).now Sean start exercising walkingits great for the heart cut back on booze and cigarettes and legal drugs go to counselling to talk about your emotions make a change for yourself try and find peace .do something new start a youtube channel
C laurie - 5-Oct-21 @ 9:42 PM
I lost all reason, I was angry and I couldn't be civil. I could see people where limiting and restricting my access to my son. I didn't know how to deal with the emotions that came with that. In hind sight I think I should of just agreed, nodded and accepted that. I should of trusted the person who just shattered my heart in to pieces. I wish I had God, to prey to. I would of begged him for the strength to deal with the negative thoughts. It's hard to believe the person who trampled all over my heart. How was I suppose to belive that they where going to stick to there word. Could God give me the strength? In my vision, two minutes late was a argument. Travelling fifteen miles on the bus in the rain to see my child... yes I was ridiculed and the courts and social services revelled in my dimize. It grew, the bitterness and temper, I couldn't prove what I was seeing. When I cried out loud expelling all that anguish. They had no concern about the situation just my sons welfare. They allowed him to baby sit by drug addicts and dealers, there grandmother was a Probation Officer and the whole family where highly respected. Week by week I seen less of my son. My anguish grew and the temper with it. My human rights to a private family life had been abused. It's a vicious circle. The abuser can be the victim. The victim can also be abuser. I was angry at the whole situation and my life crumbled even more. I'm dieing inside my body is failing i can feel it. My teeth that I look after are hurting and chipping. My chest feels tight it's hard to breath some times. I'm scared. I was an abuser who got abused. My mind argued with it self and with any one who wanted to tell me that 2 minutes late was a issue. If any of you find your self in a situation where the other is disgruntled about 2 minutes late, remember they are pushing your button and they want you to react. It's a difficult situation because they think yiur deliberately doing it on purpose. Both parties are naturally unreasonable. You'll find that the male gendre is less likely to be sympathised with. There is a lack of empathy towards me in the social system. My ex wouldn't even agree on tolerance of time. It was a zero tolerance situation. There was no list of what was not tolerated, I had to learn the hard way. Every day a new term and condition appeared and yes it pushed my buttons. It was one way. There way. It pushed my buttons. I wish life was easy. Its difficult I wish I wasn't born. The only thing that gets me through it is distraction. And I'm not easily distracted. when I'm dwelling on it. Ruminating on it or scowering the Internet pleaded for help. Or when it takes me hours to right it or speak time and time again to different people .... it never drops. I
Sean - 5-Oct-21 @ 7:05 PM
I'm 19 and experience what everyone's saying. I see my son 10 hours per week and this is not enough. I can't yet fully provide due to work etc but eventually I will kill myself, 100%.
Joel - 6-Aug-21 @ 7:57 PM
@tommy. You need it be on suicide watch . And should be in hospital.go admit your self to hospital.god bless
God bless - 5-Jun-21 @ 9:04 PM
I’ve been broken up from my ex for about 7 months or so now .. I still find it really difficult to let go .. specially when on the weekends I have out 2 sons and I know she is out parting with her friend.. I can’t help but ask if she has done anything with anyone .. she asks me all the time but when I asked her she gets really aggressive with me and doesn’t want to know me.. I’ve been struggling so much with the break up.. been on anti depressants .. 4 months of therapy .. tried to kill myself twice but was stopped .. I’m back to being that low again an I dnt think I can carry on any longer .. I’m miserable even when I have my boys and that’s not good for them .. they deserve better than me.. if there is a pain free way I can go... please someone tell me.. I just want to close my eyes and never wake up .. I dnt wna feel the pain of what’s she doing any more my sons derserve a better man than me ..
Tommy - 5-Jun-21 @ 3:00 PM
May the baby momma left with the kids i have two daughters with her. She got a injunction on me for domestic violence with kids involved i never hit the lady or nothing . The day before we had the falling out she said idk if i should go to work i think your going to take the kids and never come back or let me see them.....well thats what she been doing since may 2020. Her whole family hates me she wont let noone from my family know where the kids are if they are ok. I cant even get a job. Something comes over me and i start crying like a baby. I tried suicide but i couldnt do it.i hope everyday as i ride my bike down the side of the road that someone might hit me . I hate my life and dont want anything in life anymore. I cant have friends, i dont trust no one and all i wanna do is die. At least the girls wwould get death benifitz. Im sorry lilly and ava i love yall so much
Tyler - 20-Mar-21 @ 7:54 AM
If the mother Reads this .thanks for not going to (child support )years ago i no you could off .and sorry for all the messages years ago i just wanted to meet bree and didn't have the money for solicitor and wanted to change and be dad instead off who I was .But I swear you will never here from again .as I said before I am( homeless )now and it won't be long to I am jail I think I prefer to be in (jail) I get food a cell and mates to talk to .i try as long as I can to survive homeless but get to much I just do a botched armed robbery so I get caught .goodbye .
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 8:58 PM
If the mother off this child reads this .sorry for all the (messages and callsyears ago) .
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 6:33 PM
Gods truth is I will never see this child again but that's for the( best) .i hope and wish This child all the best in life .goodbye
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 6:18 PM
So the way I see things I have bigger issues to worry about then worring about seeing a (teenager )that I haven't seen in (11 years ).i got to survive been homeless again the last time I was homeless it was hard but I brought this on myself no one to blame (except myself ).(so yeah I am so glad this( child) is with her mother and partner to be honest .
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 6:04 PM
In reality Its best for the child to not have contact with me because for one i am (homeless )now I be living in my car as off tomorrow. Plus I have mental health issues or disabled as the mother off this child would say you are just like Rodney . Truth is I think I am (worse )to be honest .but I been homeless before for about (2 years) I got though it .so I have done it before i can do it again it will toughen
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 5:44 PM
After reading these posts i never had to deal with any off this stuff or pay support or was ever married. And I am (grateful for )because I don't live the( lifestyle) to look after a child and (never will) so I am happy this child is with the (mother and her partner). Because I couldn't look after this child even if I wanted to because I am leaving where I been staying had a falling out its for the best .and it's best for myself to be on my own .i am at my happiest on my own .
C laurie - 28-Dec-20 @ 4:12 PM
I've split from wife,moved out 2 years ago her call, I don't have a problem with getting access to kids which is great on other hand,I don't get a minute to myself she wants me up taking care of kids every evening n weekend at her place, she can be very difficult deal with and never sees my point of view,when I get stressed about it all she says I wanna go sort myself out, with what time I ask?? I give her half wages every month to which she tells me she is one keeping roof over there head,I basically have the kids when there awake and she looks after them after I have them tucked up in bed asleep, I exhausted trying to deal with her on daily basis,wish I could afford my own place to take kids half week and she does other half
Everest - 28-Dec-20 @ 12:35 PM
My ex and I had a baby. I couldn’t take care of them at the given time...2.5 years later with contact with the mother. I got to see my daughter grow but the goal was to be able to tc of them. Even flew and saw them spent time with them but due to Covid it was difficult. I wanted to spend quality time to get to know each other again. We slept together and things were looking more positive and then I had to leave the country but I told them I’d take them with me so we can start a new life I’d look out for them. Fast forward 2 months since I left she’s seeing someone else and now I just fear I have lost my daughter...what is a life with just talking through a phone or video call being miles away. I have lost a part of me. I am destroyed mentally and emotionally.
Jo - 24-Nov-20 @ 10:46 AM
My step son got married a few years ago and has two beautiful kids. We have rarely seen them in years. That's not the problem. He's recently separated after a few years and it's clear, he's hasn't been coping with fatherhood for some time and he either won't ask for help or ask us even. He loves his kids but it's clear he's feeling overwhelmed by them? We're really worried about his sanity and wonder if he's close to a breakdown?
Honey bun - 28-Oct-20 @ 8:20 PM
Hello, I am struggling right now, basically me and the wife split up in Feb and I was having the kids every other weekend but in May contact was stopped and she took out a Non Molestation order for her so I cant contact her or go within 100m of the house, I don't know how she got this, I haven't spoke to my kids since May and I'm struggling, any advice please?
Wayne1981 - 13-Oct-20 @ 11:33 AM
When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, “You never really know what goes on between people.” People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another. In these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result. In cases like this, spending the quality time as a family is the most important factor for success. If we're doing something together, even for an hour a day, our kids are more than happy. If you don't know what to do and what is the perfect togetherness activity, start to play chess with your kid. Regardless of the child’s age, chess develops concentration, increases patience and positively affects the intellectual and emotional development of the child. One thing your child will appreciate most is that playing chess is also great fun. The rules of chess are very simple and children can learn them already from around the age of three. Not everyone can or wants to become a professional chess player but everyone can use chess for learning. For this purpous I can recommend a book (net-bossorg/chess-puzzles-for-kids-by-maksim-aksanov) with bunch of great exercises, which will help you and your kids to be better in this :)
robdowning - 30-Sep-20 @ 10:22 PM
I'm in a slightly different situation. I'm a uncle who was a stand in father for my niece and nephew for over 5 years as the only male role model around. My sister reconciled with he ex husband, and they generally ignore the kids. I made it a point to listen to the kids when they were excited about stuff and play with them when they had no friends around, but I also had to make and enforce rules and boundaries. They are in the age range where they get wired for who they will be in the future and being treated like a nuisance will only lead to bad decisions in adulthood. I try to be around for the kids as much as possible, but I cant help but feel bad that the kids are being treated like they don't matter anymore, and it frankly tears me up to see it.
dresden - 26-Sep-20 @ 6:33 AM
I havnt seen my kids for 5 years My fUghter is now almost 19 and my son 17 I dont know them and they dont kniw me
Scott Wilson - 8-Sep-20 @ 8:23 AM
After 4.5 years having to deal with hundreds of false allegations from my ex, I've given up all hope and walked away from it all. My son was taken into care just before christmas 2019. He's still in care now. I've done nothing wrong at all. No charges brought against me, not even a fact finding hearing. My 10 year old son loves me very much indeed. However, after 9 months of being in care and the social services vilifying me at every opportunity and treating me like the worst sort of scum imagineable, my son has turned against me and doesn't want to see me any more. The social services, CAFCASS, the judiciary, the police, my son's school, all have inexplicably taken up a position against me and I can see no way through it. I've completely withdrawn from the proceedings and now I'm utterly heartbroken.
James - 7-Sep-20 @ 6:35 PM
Neither one of us intended to be a single parent. Nobody does. It’s not been easy. In fact it’s been an outright struggle. I’m fully aware that each and every situation is unique and therefore I will be brief in explaining how I found success co-parenting. 1) dating someone else only adds complexity 2) financial support is crucial 3) daily contact is a must 4) always show unity I the face of adversity 5) share your hobbies I’m far from a perfect father but I’ve seen a few things that my mates go through n I feel it could be simplified if they just made an extended effort to get along with the mum. Your child will never be happier than having both parents at the same time. Bury the differences and move forward together. Best of luck ??
Ginge - 6-Sep-20 @ 4:07 AM
The first sentence got me. No real dad want to be away from his children. Some males father children and have difficulty being present in their lives. I don’t get it really and I find it quite selfish to father children with someone only to see the irreconcilable differences after the birth of a child. To me, walking away says more than society lets on about the lack of confidence in that man than his perspective on why he can not be someone that is there 24/7 with his children. No matter what makes tell themselves, it doesn’t ease the pain of that child, it doesn’t assure that child that he/ she is loved or cared for. They still cry for you well into their teens. They still look for you to be there when they have something important to say.It mattered to you when you were a boy, but your child doesn’t get that privilege. The answer is you don’t have to miss your children. It’s a choice to be away. Deep down you know that. This is not geared towards the publisher, but this is what I would tell my kid’s father. I made many sacrifices to see my kids smile multiple times a day. I go to school, work, educate, and give my kids an abundant amount of love on everyday. Their dad only sees them on Wednesday and every other weekend. His total amount of days he sees them total 1 month out of the year. However on social media, he’s a doting father and misses them. I would love for him to be the father he pretends to be. I would love nothing more than to stop seeing my kid’s disappointment and cry by the front door. Waiting for the person who claimed to miss them.
MegB - 6-Sep-20 @ 12:44 AM
I have had enough myself of the inability to stop the other parent from ignoring covid-19 safety advice. The children are not able to help themselves. My child was aware of being at a party that was not supposed to occur and was powerless to help himself. Since confiding in me it has also been unfruitful. Services in my area did not find themselves needed to be involved though thought it was not right. There is no sufficient power to help stop the harm potential with covid-19. Mentally all can be very flustration and confusing. In the question of evidence of such things. It is difficult to obtain as the child is out of your care also. Your child's word is not powerful enough when only spoken to you also. Record everything! Date, time, location, who, action, taken, outcome of action. Unfortunately a parent upto no good and not putting the child first is difficult to pin down. I wish you patience, luck and God's blessing in your struggle.
LittleKing - 30-Aug-20 @ 2:13 PM
I need advice I’m trying so hard to be nice to my ex we been broken up a months now but things keep happening. where we have to contact each other but she always with her new boyfriend she adamant that they have only started talking but they were meeting just before we split. Am I right to be jealous or am I being pathetic. It just hurts so much seeing her with someone else so soon and she keeps lying. Also since we broke up we haven’t been in a good place and she decided to text me saying I think I have COVID-19 so I had the children and said why she said she had some symptoms. So I told her she couldn’t have the boys for 14 day and need to isolate I believed if she had it was her own faulty as she was breaking rules going out with him and a few other mates until 1 in the morningleaving me at home with the kids to do everything. When I told her shecouldn’t have the children for 14 days she turned around and said I was joking. Bearing in mind we wasn’t in a place for joking and that even though it not a laughing matter. So I ask her if she wanted the children back to isolate for 14 or get a home test she done the home test yesterday but she still not following any rules. I have been told I’m being stupid I believe I’m doing right by my kids can someone be honest with me and tell me if I’m stupid or doing the right thing please.
Smith - 25-Jun-20 @ 11:51 PM
I need advice I’m trying so hard to be nice to my ex we been broken up a months now but things keep happening. where we have to contact each other but she always with her new boyfriend she adamant that they have only started talking but they were meeting just before we split. Am I right to be jealous or am I being pathetic. It just hurts so much seeing her with someone else so soon and she keeps lying. Also since we broke up we haven’t been in a good place and she decided to text me saying I think I have COVID-19 so I had the children and said why she said she had some symptoms. So I told her she couldn’t have the boys for 14 day and need to isolate I believed if she had it was her own faulty as she was breaking rules going out with him and a few other mates until 1 in the morningleaving me at home with the kids to do everything. When I told her shecouldn’t have the children for 14 days she turned around and said I was joking. Bearing in mind we wasn’t in a place for joking and that even though it not a laughing matter. So I ask her if she wanted the children back to isolate for 14 or get a home test she done the home test yesterday but she still not following any rules. I have been told I’m being stupid I believe I’m doing right by my kids can someone be honest with me and tell me if I’m stupid or doing the right thing please.
Smith - 25-Jun-20 @ 11:49 PM
I need advice I’m trying so hard to be nice to my ex we been broken up a months now but things keep happening. where we have to contact each other but she always with her new boyfriend she adamant that they have only started talking but they were meeting just before we split. Am I right to be jealous or am I being pathetic. It just hurts so much seeing her with someone else so soon and she keeps lying. Also since we broke up we haven’t been in a good place and she decided to text me saying I think I have COVID-19 so I had the children and said why she said she had some symptoms. So I told her she couldn’t have the boys for 14 day and need to isolate I believed if she had it was her own faulty as she was breaking rules going out with him and a few other mates until 1 in the morningleaving me at home with the kids to do everything. When I told her shecouldn’t have the children for 14 days she turned around and said I was joking. Bearing in mind we wasn’t in a place for joking and that even though it not a laughing matter. So I ask her if she wanted the children back to isolate for 14 or get a home test she done the home test yesterday but she still not following any rules. I have been told I’m being stupid I believe I’m doing right by my kids can someone be honest with me and tell me if I’m stupid or doing the right thing please.
Smith - 25-Jun-20 @ 11:45 PM
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