Click to find out more

Divorced dads take on choosing a life partner

Have you ever wondered if you have chosen the right partner? There are some telltale signs that can be quite subtle and will become more evident as time goes on.

Im not a relationship expert, but from relationship breakdown experience I can tell you what to look out for so you can get the out with little consequence. I should have also listened to my gut feelings earlier. We all need someone with similar interests, things to do together. You know, long walks, game of squash, swim at the beach, book reading, online business project, hiking, movies, going to the gym, sex, similar social expectations, save money, doing nothing, sitting on the couch for a whole day watching Netflix episodes, picnic in the park or whatever other things you like to do together, and there needs to be many. Its these things and more that you need to be on the same page with. But there is more…

The passion you have for your career and what you are responsible for at work?


Like, do you need to be contactable on the weekend or after hours? If so, surely you don’t want grief from your partner if you have to take a call on the weekend to sort out a crisis at work? If they don’t get that, you’re in trouble already.

Just little things like that can dissolve a marriage. Much of your happiness together is based around an easy go lucky nature towards each other and very little complaining from both of you. Aligning to similar values and the things you would like in life. Have you discussed children? Do you both want children? That can be a biggie. Don’t forget when children arrive, most people need to put their relationship on hold for 10 years and be supportive friends. You need to allow each other space and to be free from criticism. If you are both trustworthy and put each others best interest top of mind, there isn’t any reason things should go bad so long as you remember the bigger plan.

You’ve heard the saying, “It is a two way street” (It really is) and both parties need to be kind and flexible with each other, if you are judgemental, grumpy or demanding, how do you want your partner to respond to that behaviour? Any partner with self preservation will not appreciate being treated like that, cracks will appear and you’ll have a relationship breakdown in the making.

There are some people that bring out the worst in us, probably because you are fighting for survival or you have an imbalance in your relationship i.e. someone feels they have the raw end of the stick or have the short straw?

At the end of the day, you need to choose a life partner carefully and listen to your gut and intuition and take your time. Things are all wonderful in the early days, so give it a lot of time, it will be worth the wait.

We would like to hear your thoughts and what has worked for you, write them in the comments below for other to read and learn.

The Do’s and Don’ts of managing the time your child has with you.

Not living with your child everyday can make some Dads very protective, even jealous of time with your children. While many people would think this is a normal emotion it also highlights a need to look at things differently so that your protectiveness does not effect your children or your relationship with them.

It’s not about the time you have with your child. Rather, it’s the time your child has with you.

As children get older, they take on more and more external activities such as sport, friends and school activities etc and these activities can start to get in the way of your time. The feelings your experiencing are normal. But remember they are normal growing and developments pains. Understanding this and being accepting and flexible will only benefit you and your child’s growth and development.

If you are selfishly protective of your time with your children, if you believe that they would prefer to spend time on their own personal activities or with their friends rather than you, or if you complain and whinge, and think that their mother promotes this over spending time with you then you are gravely mistaken. Making your kids feel guilty about not spending their “allocated” time with you will only distance yourself from them and never achieve a normal relationship with your kids.

The best thing you can do is to show everyone including your children that their best interests are your top priority by displaying flexibility, understanding and maturity. You will gain major points with your kids if you approach it in this way.

DO’s

  • Support and encourage your child’s healthy activities.
  • Provide financial, emotional and moral support.
  • Always offer transportation and logistical support even if its not on your time or if its not the activity you would have chosen.
  • Promote practise time of all activities when they are with you.
  • Let your child go to sleep-overs or visit their friends even when its on your time.
  • Promote your child to have friends sleep-over at your place, this will help keep the normalicy around your home.
  • Get involved if possible with their sport and be a volunteer at the club.

Don’ts

  • Deny your child good things to get involved in such as healthy activities, promote these activities always.
  • Be upset that these activities get in the way of your time with them. Instead where possible get involved in their activities (in a non intrusive manner).
  • Ask your ex for “make-up” time for the time you have missed because of these other activities. Being a Dad and sacrificing time is normal and it is a growing experience for you as well as them.
  • Make your child feel guilty or sad “EVER” for the time that they miss with you. Your child’s healthy active activity is far better than being forced to stay at home.

If you do this right, I can’t stress how much this will benefit you. It will assist in your Children’s adjustment and development, they’ll have a positive attitude towards you, request more time with you, and your relationship with them will be more normal.

Share your experiences as a separated parent and be part of the conversation, it can benefit many dads going through separation.

Note: Some phrases and points I have used from a good read called: Wednesday Evenings and Every other Weekend.

Activities for all age groups

Hey Dads, whether you have a 5 year old or teenagers living with you, I thought it might be helpful sharing different types of activities the kids can do during Covid-19 lock-down or simply over school holidays.

  1. Toddlers: Allocate jobs, if you have a “smart” TV, jump on youtube and search for kids dancing lessons, there are plenty of use educational videos to keep them entertained and active when indoors by having jumping, skipping or dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too;
  2. 4-6 year olds: Making dens and forts, colouring in/creating worlds for their toys, help with meals, small job around the house (chores), read books, making arts & crafts and leggo!
  3. 7-9 year olds: Set treasure hunts, get crafty, reading books, pocket money chores around the house.
  4. 10-12 years olds: Arts and craft activities, learn how to cook, set educational challenges, colouring in, Pocket money chores around the house, watch educational TV or YouTube and set study tasks for the kids to create as book or summary of what they have just learnt.
  5. Teenagers: Allocate jobs (either paid or paid) i.e. cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, their room, wash the cars, bake a cake or some treats , suggest projects, order some adult colouring books or free pages online, make plans – possible career choices, future holidays and design a dream board with all their thoughts and ideas.

If you and your children are proud of what they’ve accomplishing, send me a picture of what they’ve done and I promote it in a future post. Happy time off everyone and don’t forget t be patient and nice with everyone.

My family tree activity

Author & Illustrator: Odette.

Looking for a great learning activity that the kids can do at home, that’s also fun! All you need is a large sheet of paper or cardboard, some colouring pencils, a ruler and a little creative mind.

A family member in the UK who is a principle of 3 schools gave us this idea and shared the link to some great kids projects Click here for the schools activity link All the primary age children in her 3 schools were doing these whilst locked down at home because of Coronavirus.

The family tree project aims to provide opportunities for your child to gain a better understanding of their own family. Learning may focus on what differences makeup your families, what traditions your family has, stories linked to your family etc.

Here’s how it works:
Can your child name all the people in their family and write sentences about them? Turn the paper into a booklet, each family member great a portion (section) of the page and a unique story written about them with a nice drawing, for example; Who are they? What do they call them? What do they like? Why are they special to them?

Send me a photo of your child’s work, a little story about them and I will post it on line with credit to them.

Celebrating all Dads this Christmas: Finding the best present that fits their interests

Looking for the perfect gift for the guy who has it all? Dads have various hobbies and personalities, but according to the statitsa Global Consumer Survey, your average Australian adult can have an affinity for one of three major interest niches: sports, cooking, and traveling. In the same way that dads have different parenting styles, even their interests may vary. Now that Christmastime is here, let’s explore some gift ideas for dads who fall into one or more of these interest categories.  

For The Sports-Minded Dad 

The sporty Dad can be both spectator and active participant, but whichever he may be, he will appreciate souvenirs from his favorite team. A jersey from his favorite team would be a good gift to give, if he doesn’t own one already. A personalised team jersey with his name emblazoned on it would be even better. As for signed memorabilia and other hard-to-reach items, you can find the best deals by ebay online shopping with Qantas. If this particular dad is heavy on the “active participation” part, gift him things that would facilitate his need for athletics. These include new trainers, sports socks, and other sports gear that would make his gameplay more enjoyable. Make sure to pay attention to his passing remarks at the dinner table as well. If dad had mentioned that he’d have liked to try golf, he’ll definitely be surprised with a brand new golf set.

For Dads With A Culinary Interest

Dads who enjoy cooking often love to incorporate new ingredients into their concoctions and use new cooking tools to make them. That would make things like DIY sauce kits, new pots, pans, and utensils great options for Christmas gifts. There’s always room for novelty with an interest such as cooking, too. This means that Chef Dad ought to get a kick out of learning how to make new dishes with some interesting cookbooks or a high-tech grilling device. Cooking can be a costly hobby, however, especially when their favorite ingredients are out of season. Aside from a home-cooked Christmas feast, dad might even show his appreciation for his star patron by cooking a supersized batch of their favorite Christmas dish. 

For Dads Who Travel

Whether they travel for work or pleasure, the travelling Dad might often spend their time searching for comfort when out on the road. A simple, yet thoughtful gift would be to upgrade this flight tickets, or new travel gear to make his journeys a trifle easier. Things like travel grooming kits, mobile media devices, power banks, or even backpack coolers and ergonomic suitcases would all make his trips away from home more comfortable. 

Dads, like any individual, come with their own unique preferences no matter what category of parenting involvement they fall into. When picking out gifts for dads, it is important to remember that the best gifts are those that meet their personal goals and interests, with nothing but the best intentions at heart.

Winners in separation?

Winners in separation? Dads Online speak with family lawyer, Daniel Dalli of Aston Legal Group about whether there are any winners when it comes to separation. These series of podcasts focusing on separation and divorce can equip you, in making better decisions about your family matters.

Remember if are feeling overwhelmed with sadness or grief, or need someone to talk to, there are organisations that can help. Call Mensline (www.mensline.org.au) on 1300 789 978 or Lifeline (www.lifeline.org.au) on 13 11 14. If you need family law assistance from a lawyer, feel free to contact Daniel Dalli, Partner of Aston Legal Group (www.astonlegalgroup.com.au) on either 0423 729 686 or email at daniel@astonlegalgroup.com.au.

Its normal to grieve the loss of a relationship

Don’t be too hard on yourself, Separation and divorce can be the toughest road you will ever go down.

You will feel a range of experiences going through this, from the initial realization that separation will happen through to getting your emotions, finances and co-parenting arrangements sorted out. Whilst somethings can get sorted fairly quickly, emotions can take years to mend. Some of these emotions are:

  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Relief
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Lost
  • Anxiety
  • Embarrassed
  • Guilt
  • Shame

I’m sure you could add to this list but one thing to remember is that: You have survived 100% of your worst days, and you will continue to do so because there is light at the end of this tunnel. Mostly all men go onto live happy fulfilled lives once the dust settles.

If you are going through separation or divorce and find it overwhelming or you’re upset and need someone to talk to, there is help out there. Never feel you need to go it alone, call one of these two organisations as they are set up perfectly to help you talk though your crisis, worries or concerns and discuss ideas about what steps you could take to help you get to a better place.

  • Mens Line 1300789978
  • Lifeline 131114

There are many reasons why you could feel very emotional throughout these times, things such as:

  • You and your ex partner are not agreeing
  • Loss of friends and social life
  • Loss of the family home
  • Loss of having your children every day
  • Your identity as a husband and dad
  • Finances become very tight
  • You become time poor

Being time poor is one of the practical issues you might face? Suddenly you are not sharing the household chores anymore, organizing the children, the shopping, cleaning, preparing food all becomes tasks you must do on your own. All these things can make you feel overwhelmed.

There are highs that you’ll experience too
, when you set up your place there will be a feeling of independence, your own space and its all yours.
Everyone is different, they handle stress and change in different ways. Think about what works for you? Maybe its concentrating on work for a while, its one area you do want to make work! You can also focus on your health and get into great shape or keep a notepad and write down your dreams and future goals and make getting back on track you project.

Be patient, nothing gets fixed or sorted out over night or even in a month. Just know that sometimes things take a long time to get back on track. Stay off the booze, gambling, drugs and people that don’t support or help you to get to a better place.

What do daughters want from their dads?

Have you (dad) ever thought you’d like to change the ways things are? You know it’s never too late! We can go through life knowing that things could be different but for some reason we don’t say “yes” to change.

Maybe its because saying yes can cause embarrassment, awkwardness or highlight the fact that you were wrong?
If you haven’t been spending time with your daughter because life has got busy or they’ve become teenagers and are more independent, or they have grown into a women and your feel you cant hug, cuddle and wrestle with them like you used too, or even you feel they’re getting older now and you’ve become less important in their life? You are so wrong!

Dads, nothing has changed, they still and always will want your Attention, Affection and Affirmation.

Its super important that you always stay connected or reconnect for both of you. Your daughter wants you to acknowledge they’re maturing and growing up. If your daughter is going through her teenage years, she wants you around to help her navigate those important years whilst your continuing to build on the connection you have always had.

Its been very well documents over the years from researchers, physiologists and experts that fathers play a key role in their daughter development. Some of those things that dads provide daughters are:

– Build their confidence
– Convincing them they can do anything
– Have a voice and be counted (on any topic)
– Encouraging improvement through learning
– Role model on equality
– Make them feel secure
– A male perspective on things
– Strength and gentleness at the same time

Daughters WANT their dads to be a part of their lives even if sometimes they don’t show it. There was a study done where daughters were asked what could dads do to improve their relationship and how their dad could help them. They said…

– Be there more
– Put the phone away and don’t just focus on the solution
– When you’re home be mentally present
– Focus on me when I’m talking to you and be genuinely interested
– Spend more time with me
– More time talking together
– Eat dinner with us more often
– Spend more time with us and less time working
– Hangout with me
– Play with me
– Go camping with me
– Do activities with me
– Support me more by doing more things with me
– Go for a walk with me
– Be available on weekend s to play cards or puzzles or board games
– Take me places we would both like
– Maybe we could do the Kokoda trail together
– Go away somewhere special for the weekend just the two of us

Everything the daughters requested boiled down to dads spending more time with them. Your girls may not ask you for more time, with the fear that you might say no, or they feel your too busy? So be proactive and nurture your relationship with your daughter, create memories that build the bonds that can last a lifetime.

Some ideas and narrative have come from Madonna King, Author of the book – Fathers and Daughters. I would also like to acknowledge Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures for his inspiration, education and knowledge on how to thrive in your relationships and not just survive with your children.

Doing nothing does harm

How many of us would have the courage to take action if we saw violence towards females (verbal or physical), gender discrimination, sexual harassment or disrespectful comments?

My wish is that everyone would be brave enough to do something. The whole notion of helping someone that is being abused does not mean that you need to put yourself in harms way. You can use “secondary prevention” i.e. you can be someone who challenges that behaviour by offering assistance in the following ways:

1. Defusing the situation by: a disapproving look (non-verbal) or a light hearted comment to the perpetrator
2. Talking to the victim: when you get a chance ask them are they ok? What do they need? Do they want to make a complaint?
3. Calling out the behaviour: if your personal safety is not at risk you could call it out i.e. ” Hey, its inappropriate to be speaking to her in that tone” or “its never ok to tell jokes like that, they are disrespectful and degrading”.
4. Report it: you can call police 000, notify HR or tell a supervisor.

Dads, it’s never ok to standby and watch abuse in any form, whether it be to males or females. The term that some professional groups are using is – Be an active bystander. We can play a lead role in setting a standard of behaviour both as a role model to our growing children and also to not settle or condone bad behaviour to women or anyone.

Dads we are very likely to listen to other dads, so next time you’re talking to another dad, discuss how you would respond if you were a bystander to any bad behaviour and make a pledge…

“When X happens, I will do Y. (one of the 4 steps mentioned above)


Simple ways to save money on your financial separation

Any relationship breakdown is hard. With kids it is harder still. Emotions run high with sense and reason sometimes taking a back seat. The main focus is on protecting your children and rebuilding your future throughout this difficult time. You will make some of the biggest decisions of your life whilst trying to stay sane in the day-to-day. Then there’s the financial side …

Ex-couples can make huge mistakes during the separation process, and these mistakes can cost them big time. In fact, by not understanding the full ramifications of a financial separation, or by understanding but ignoring them, the amount of money wasted could affect the rest of your life, and in-turn the lives of your children.

Now is time to get your head around the best practice when it comes to splitting your assets. The choices you make will have a big impact on your present and your future. Get educated. Get confident. And get ready to move on with the rest of your life.

Here is our advice to keep costs down and get the best possible outcome when you separate from your partner.

Communication is crucial

Ironically, at a time when communication with your ex-partner may have broken-down, is the time it matters most. Learning to communicate calmly and respectfully with each other will save money, stress and time. Step-back and consider what form of communication is most effective between you and your ex-partner. In many cases, email is good as time can be taken to deliver clear and respectful wording, and eliminates the erratic emotion that can interject a phone call or texts or an in-person chat. It also allows the recipient to respond when they are calm and clear-headed. If you are aware of words, actions or even body language that may trigger your ex-partner, avoid them. It only takes one person to pave the way for better communication. Be that person. It will allow you to work through your financial separation logically and quickly without costly lawyers or courts making decisions which are out of your hands and you may not agree with.

Focus on the kids

In nearly all family breakdowns, each parent has one priority: Their children. Remember this is your common ground. Ultimately you both want the best for your children. Focusing on this one fact will get you a faster, less-costly, better outcome from your financial separation. Put aside your differences from the past and concentrate on the bigger picture and the future. No-one is more significant in this than your children. You may find that your mutual need to support them is what guides you through to a solution.

Educate yourself

When it comes to your financial separation, knowledge is not only power, but is also a huge money saver. The best bit is, there is plenty of free stuff available. This video from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia explains how to apply for a divorce and you can read-up on financial separation on the Divide website here. Warning: Make sure you arm yourself with the ‘correct’ knowledge. Advice from friends and family is well-meaning, but every financial separation is different so stick to the actuality and how it will influence your personal situation. Mistakes are costly and can be avoided by getting the facts early on.

DIY it

Like everything in life, the more you do yourself, the more money you will save. If you need professional support, either with a financial separation specialist or a lawyer, get as much information prepared before your first appointment with them. This includes, but is not limited to, your separation date, bank statements, mortgage statements, tax returns and superannuation details. Dig out the paperwork, make the necessary phone calls and compile a folder. Encourage your ex-partner to do the same. It may seem tiresome, possibly overwhelming, but the money you save by doing your own admin and anything else you are capable of, can be used to rebuild a better future for you and your children.

Be transparent

The key to a cost-effective and fast financial separation is transparency. Put it this way, it will all come out in the end. Be honest and open about your financials as well as your feelings. If you lead by example, your ex-partner is more likely to do the same. Half-truths and embellishments, for any reason, will slow down and complicate the process. They can even break-down an amicable process. If this happens lawyers may need to get involved, which means extra costs for both parties and will likely create more aggressive ‘via lawyer’ communication which will have consequences now and in the future.

Not in it to win it

Financial separation is not a battle field. There are no winners or losers. When you and your partner are both in this mindset it will be easier to move forward. By removing this competitive edge from the negotiations will allow you to make non-emotional, cost benefit-based decisions. Adopt a give and take attitude and you may find that your ex-partner follows your lead. Be flexible and open to her ideas and suggestions, and you may notice she is more open to yours. Remember, the aim here is to find middle ground that will allow you both to move on with your lives and be the best co-parents you can be.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Chris Staples is a Director at Divide – Simple Financial Separation. He has seen how wealth is eroded through a divorce done badly and believes there is a cleaner way to make the break financially. He now helps couples with their financial separations in a cost-effective, peaceful manner, without using lawyers.

Have you and your partner discussed what having kids really means

Relationships start out exactly how we like them, we’re smitten and crazy about each other. It very sensual and physical. Its fun and exciting, everything is new and you feel like your connection is cohesive enough to be able to handle anything that the world throws at you.

Planned or unplanned, having kids can dissolve that cohesive glue you both thought was impenetrable, why? Because you went into having children unprepared or failed to discuss the things that can trip you up. It’s challenging, demanding, thankless, tiring and lasts for the first 10-12 years before you get reprieve.

I recently spoke to a man who was expecting his first baby with his partner. I asked him have you discussed how you will help each other and handle the tough times when they come? He said, Nah! its not something we discuss, things are ok and we will just deal with what ever happens…eeeek! I think this is common, sadly.

The things that can be important to know & talk through (but not limited too, if you can think of more, discuss)

  • Pregnancy is a long time and can be messy
  • You may not automatically love your child day 1
  • A diminished social life can make life feel boring
  • Loss of freedom and also loss of time together can feel like a disconnect
  • When sleep becomes more important than sex, is the norm
  • Disagreeing on  how to raise your child, remember there is more than one way
  • Weekend sleep-ins was your previous life
  • Work is relatively easy compared to raising a baby, how can you lighten your partners load
  • Life changes and so do you and your partner
  • Hobbies and sports need to take a back seat for quiet a while
  • You are no longer “Joe” the carefree guy, you are “Joe” with responsibilities
  • Your own routine now becomes your babies routine
  • Expect both you and your partner to have ups and down feelings of happiness
  • You baby/child needs things NOW, there is no more of …”I’ll do it later”
  • Your stress levels increase and you feel edgy often
  • Your money is now all accounted for and you need to save for emergencies
  • Your friends look at your differently now, you have 1 or 2 beers not 10 anymore
  • If baby is crying all night, it might be easier to have the baby sleep in your bed so you all can sleep
  • Babies poo is smelling and messy and someone has to change it often
  • Sometimes babies cry for long periods for know reason
  • There are some mothers who refuse to even leave their baby with a safe family member so you can go out and have a break, how would you cope with that
  • Learn to cook and make lots of meals to freeze, sometimes it is just easier
  • Facebook life is BS, raising kids is hard work and you both need to work as a team
  • Keep an eye out if either of you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps, you need it
  • It’s exhausting, make sure you both get time to rest
  • Eating together becomes a thing of the past
  • This is a 12 year commitment to work as a team, after that it becomes easier and you should have mutual respect for the road traveled together
  • What if you feel like nothing you do is good enough

With all the ups and downs its an incredible feeling to raise a child. It has enormous amounts of joy and satisfaction but its extremely important you go into it with eyes wide open. You need to look after your partner and carry equal amounts of the workload and sometimes more when she needs it. Talk about when times get tough and how you will get through those times together. Its important, it could be the difference between ending up a single Dad or at home with your family. Go the later!!

Whats been your experience? any tips?

What are you prepared to give up

Having kids should not be taken lightly. It would be the biggest most important decision anyone can make in their lifetime.

Bringing a child into the world requires a lifetime of intentional commitment, from the day they are born to when they reach adulthood and even then it does not guarantee they will be off your hands completely.  I felt a strong commitment to ensure that my child had all that they need to ensure a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically.

Putting your child first is a good plan (it’s the only plan), it ensures that they go without little and decisions you make around housing and career have them top of mind. There were times when I could have accepted promotions which would have either caused me to work interstate or travel extensively. I didn’t have a partner that would have supported this so I could not have accepted the roles. I then found myself divorced and it made it even harder to travel because I needed to be available for my child on the days that were my days. I made sure that nothing got in the way of those days.

Taking that commitment to always be there and be available definitely hindered my career and social life.

I’d be invited away for a weekend that would be across the time I had my child over so I’d say no, I wouldn’t go out on a Friday night because I wanted to be fit and healthy for her on the Saturday morning when she would arrive. There were so many times I said no, looking back it cost me friendships and a healthy social life, but to me it was the price of putting my child first.

Thinking back, I could of had a more balanced life with social life and home life. So long as your children feel loved and cared for, you really can go and have some fun, and you should.