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Out of touch? 5 ways divorced dads can connect with teen daughter

Your were there for the "terrible twos" and the tantrums, but lately, as a divorced father, you are realizing more and more that your little girl is growing up — without you. It can be hard to connect with a teen with whom you share a home, but for fathers with shared custody or just visitation rights, a lot can slip through the cracks.

But that doesn't mean that you can't still share meaningful experiences with your teen daughter during the time that you two share. If you are a dad who is struggling to reconnect with his teenage daughter, the following suggestions may be helpful.

Blindsided by divorce? 3 things to keep in mind

Some couples discuss filing for divorce for months or even years before taking any steps to end their marriages. However, for others, the news comes like a very unwelcome bolt from the blue when they get served with divorce papers.

If the later scenario is what you are facing now, you may need some help putting the dissolution of your marriage in the proper perspective. Yes, it is perfectly natural to feel as if this is the end of the world. but in reality, although one chapter of your life may be ending, that paves the way for an entirely new episode to begin. Below are three things to keep in mind as you go forward through the divorce process.

How will you handle college expenses for the kids after divorce?

If you are the parent of college-bound children and are also headed for divorce court, you need to address in your divorce judgment how the kids' college expenses will be divided between you and their other parent.

It's worth noting that no parent "owes" their child a fully- or even partially-funded college education. Still, many parents who are in a position to assist their kids with these considerable expenses choose to do so to relieve them of graduating with significant debts from student loans.

Tips to help kids over the hurdle of their parents' divorce

If you think adjusting to the divorce is hard on you, just imagine how challenging it is for your children to accept that their parents have split up. Kids can really struggle with their emotions during these stressful times. It's important for parents to be aware of their children's feelings and do nothing to exacerbate their worries and fears.

Below are some tips and suggestions for helping the kids adjust to their family's "new normal."

Your strong emotions could lead to major divorce mistakes

There are many reasons why hiring an experienced divorce attorney to assist you in ending your marriage is a good idea, but the intense emotions people experience could be the best reasons of all.

When emotion overpowers reason, you can make mistakes that could drastically impact the outcome of your divorce. Attempting to navigate negotiations and court on your own could mean falling victim to your own emotional nature instead of securing a positive outcome.

Should I file for divorce or wait to be served?

If you and your spouse haven't gotten along well in a long time, one or both of you may be wondering whether it's time to fish or cut bait.

Once you have made the decision to pull the plug on a marriage on life-support, you have to decide whether you will be the one to file for the divorce. Read on to learn more about filing for divorce.

What to do if you just found out you are a father

If you are a father to a child born out of wedlock, you can face many challenges to building a meaningful, ongoing relationship with your child. For instance, some dads only learn that they are parents months or even years after the birth of their children. This knowledge often comes in the form of a court order for support for these children, either generated by their mothers or by governmental agencies involved with the families.

That can be jarring, to say the least. Instead of the happy anticipation of their children's births, these fathers have been denied that, as well as the right to bond with the babies soon after they are born.

Building a connection as a non-custodial father

If you are a father who has had limited time with your child, you may feel that there is a lack of a connection between the two of you. This may further discourage you from fighting for custody, because you may believe that your child does not need you in their life. This is a common issue for many fathers who were not present in the first months or years of a child's life.

However, it is important to remember that children always benefit from the love and support of their biological parents. If you want to be a present father, it can be possible to build a bond over time.

Top 5 co-parenting tips for newly divorced parents

Your divorce is finally in the books and it's time to turn your attention toward co-parenting. You hope to make all the right decisions at the right time, as doing so will result in less stress and tension on your children.

While the co-parenting process differs from one parent to the next, there are some general tips you can follow to put yourself on the right track from day one.

  • Don't make it all about you: Co-parenting starts with doing what's best by your children. And even though it's difficult, you should also think about the feelings of your ex-spouse. When you keep everyone's best interests in mind, it's easier to make the most of co-parenting.
  • Keep a flexible schedule: There will be times when your ex asks to adjust their schedule, such as if they have visitation rights. And just the same, you'll probably need to make changes every now and again. A flexible schedule is a big part of co-parenting success. Without this, you can guarantee yourself of future arguments.
  • Don't fight about everything: As frustrated as you may be, it's critical that you keep your cool, when possible, and choose your battles wisely. If you let everything turn into a fight, you'll never settle into a co-parenting routine.
  • Never put your children in the middle: Your children don't need to hear about the reason for your divorce, why their other parent is a bad person or how you did nothing wrong. If you need to talk about your feelings with someone, chat with an adult friend or counselor.
  • Continue to communicate: As much as you don't want to communicate post-divorce, you have to do so for the sake of your children. Find a communication tool that suits the both of you, such as text messaging, email, phone calls or even face-to-face conversations.
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