Another mistake that fathers make when they separate from the family home is to try to compete with the mother by showering the children with gifts. Sometimes fathers do this out of guilt but you have to remember that your children do not need new things from you every time they see you; they do however, need your love. This is not a competition for the love of your children. They should love you unconditionally already and competing for their attention by buying them things or letting them stay up later or any other things that are done because you are trying to get them to favor you over your ex, is wrong. This will ultimately back fire on both of you. The children will pick this up very quickly and it will only make it confusing for the children as to how they are supposed to behave and what they are to expect. Your goal should be to keep the same rules for each house; that gives them the stability they need. If you are giving the children anything they ask for, the children will come to expect it. If they expect this behavior from you then setting limitations on them later becomes a big problem.
This excerpt from “A Father’s Journey To Custody” by Douglas C. McKee is re-printed in DivorceMag.com with permission. Douglas C. McKee, a father of five beautiful children; two of whom he was awarded primary physical custody from a previous marriage, knows first hand, the heartache of a divorce that involves children and the benefits of maintaining ongoing contact with them during this rough time. The book is available at the author’s website, www.fathersseekingcustody.com.