When parents divorce, it can feel like there is a lot of support for mother and not much support for the father. Even if you are okay with the reason for the divorce and the emotional toll it took, there can still be lingering issues when there are children involved. Where do men turn for support?
Even if you know your rights because your legal advocacy group told you about them, it can still be hard instilling them. You may worry about the emotional toll it takes on your children or you just may not know how to proceed. Putting yourself in an environment with other fathers in the same type of situation can be beneficial for both you and your children.
A Group Gives You Emotional Support
Society depicts men as tough. They aren’t supposed to share their feelings and they definitely aren’t supposed to show weakness. So where does that leave you? Divorced and living apart from your children can be a troubling place to be. It’s easy to feel alone and unsupported. You need emotional support from people that understand your situation, and you can typically find those people at a support group.
As you begin to share your story and show your feelings, you may find that other dads are in either the same situation or a very similar one as you. They can empathize with you and help you process your feelings. Just knowing that you aren’t alone can make all of the difference in the world. You have a safe place where you can let your feelings out and not feel judged, and you may find it refreshing just to talk to someone that won’t judge you and who understands your feelings.
A Group Gives You Others’ Experience to Learn From
Surrounding yourself with fathers in a similar situation can give you time to learn what they did in the same situation. How did they react? What steps did they take? What worked and didn’t work? This isn’t to say that every situation is the same, because it’s not. However, you can take the real-world experience that these fathers have had and use the pieces that may apply to your life.
Other fathers can tell you how they coped as well as how their kids coped. They can share their triumphs and failures in the hopes that you’ll do the same moving forward. You may not agree with everything that the other fathers in the group tell you, but you can listen to their stories and decide how you want to proceed, whether you decide to follow in their footsteps or do the complete opposite.
A Group Can Make Referrals to Professionals
There may be times that you require professional assistance as a divorced dad. It can be tough to ask for help, but when you are in a room of men in the same position as you, it can feel less frightening. You can ask the men in the group about various professionals they have used, whether it’s a counselor, a child care provider, or a parenting evaluator.
If you are trying to keep your expenses under control, you may want to ask your group about their use of a legal support group versus a private attorney. You can usually secure the services of a legal resource group at a fraction of the cost of a private attorney and yield the same or better results. Contact National Family Solutions for more information about this.
A Group Can Encourage You to Be a Better Parent
Getting divorced is a hard enough blow, but now you have to learn how to be a parent on your own. You are no longer a team – it’s just you, and sometimes it can feel like you against your ex. Whether you aren’t confident in your ability to be a parent or you just want the reassurance of others, your support group can help keep you stay strong.
Parenting, whether as a team or on your own, has its challenges. Whether you have children with disabilities or discipline issues or you just feel lost parenting your children when you don’t have their mother on your side, you need support. Fellow dads can share their stories, the good and the bad, and help you know what you should and shouldn’t do. Sharing your own triumphs and struggles can help other dads in the group as well. Together, you can unite and help one another find the perfect way to parent your child.
A Group Can Help Change Family Law Legislation Over Time
There is power in numbers and when dads get together, they can make a change. For example, the every-other-weekend parenting schedule that was the norm for a few decades is slowly dissipating. With the help of dads pushing for more rights, lawmakers are changing the bills in many states to require co-parenting and fairer custody schedules.
Some groups continue to lobby legislators to give dads equal rights. It isn’t a change that happens overnight or even within a year. It’s a slow change that is continually spreading throughout the United States. Certain states, such as Florida, had the law vetoed by the governor, but that doesn’t mean the fight has to end. If groups continually band together and fight, they can make a difference in a fathers’ rights.
Joining a fathers’ rights group can be very helpful. In a time when you feel lost and alone, you can connect with other fathers that were once in the same situation as you. As you bond, share stories, and work together for the greater good, you can make sure that the rights of you and your children are met in a way that is beneficial for everyone.