There was a time when a call from a teacher or principal represented something that kids feared. For many men who are now divorced fathers, a ringing phone from their child’s school would be a welcome sound.
Divorce divides one household and creates two separate residences. At every step of the marital dissolution process, the focus remains on the best interests of children. However, divorced spouses are entitled to the same level of care as they face an uncertain and sometimes unfair future.
Dads of divorce are continuing to overcome the stereotype as hard-working and non-nurturing. Yet, some family law judges defer to mothers in granting legal custody of the children with fathers left with every other weekend schedules.
In those scenarios, a distance of any length and time has consequences for the most active and devoted of noncustodial fathers, particularly when it comes to their children’s academic pursuits. Any contact from educators and administrators usually involve mothers.
Whether based on assumption or convenience, schools default to the mother when sending information via phone or email. When divorced couples are in conflict, open lines of communication are anything but. Report cards, disciplinary issues, and even school events are discovered by fathers long after they occurred.
Many fathers overcome the separation by staying involved in their children’s academics and activities. Studies reveal promising trends when dads are continuously in the loop:
- Improved academic performance
- Fewer behavioral problems that lead to suspension or expulsion
- Improved physical and psychological health
- Higher rate of graduation and subsequent financial stability
Early involvement for dads is paramount. Reading books to children represents a good academic start that could provide them with a leg up in vocabulary and mathematics. While these and other proactive steps are important, ongoing communication with children can facilitate active involvement in their lives, particularly if the parents do not get along.