Get to know all your Children’s contacts.
If you recall the story of my visit to the daycare center to pick up Douglas and Matthew you will remember that: first, no one was really sure who I was and second, they were also curious to see if I was as terrible as I was apparently thought to be. A mistake that many fathers make in general is not getting to know their children’s teachers. You are supposed to be participating in your children’s lives; all aspects of their lives, not just building airplanes with them and kissing them goodnight. This means taking a responsible role in their schooling. If they are too young and still attending a daycare facility, then you need to get to know the daycare providers as well. Don’t wait for the parent teacher conferences to come around. Make an appointment with them to simply introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid of letting them know that you and your wife are separating and that you intend on participating in their school activities. Ask for a separate parent teacher conference if you are unable to share that time with their mother. Most of all be respectful of the children’s mother. These are your children’s teachers and they are interested in giving your children the best possible education, not listening to both sides bicker about the absent parent. If you present yourself as a caring and concerned father, you won’t have to worry about your ex dragging you through the mud in your absence. She will simply appear silly and bitter if she tries.
Remember that your concern is for the children and how you act is how people see you; so it is important for you to get to know the teachers immediately if you haven’t already done so. Teachers are respected people in the courtroom because they play such a large part in your children’s lives. Let them get to know you by participating in school activities whenever possible. If they are called to testify, and they could very well be called, they will be able to say that you are a supportive, caring father and not a mystery man. At the very least, you have shown your children that you are there for them and that is the best reward of all.
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.