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How to keep being a good father after divorce

As many Illinois parents who have split up know, going through a divorce means not only thinking about what's best for you, but also what's best for your children. Divorcing as parents means you'll have to determine a child custody arrangement, which will likely mean one or both of you will end up seeing your kids less than when you and your spouse were together. However, a recent article offers some advice for how divorced fathers can continue to play an important role in their children's lives.

Being a good father -- and a good parent in general -- means being around and available for your children, and there are many ways to do this. First, stick around. It may mean you have to sacrifice some things professionally or personally, but living in the same town as the children is important if you want to really be there for your kids.

Next, create a stable and reliable schedule. Establishing a routine of spending time with your children is very important for continuing to build a strong parent-child relationship. Schedule a night or two a week to have dinner together in addition to the weekends you have custody of them, or Skype them to chat if adding more physical time isn't possible. Also, in the vein of creating a routine and setting expectations, make sure to show up at their events, whether it be a school play, an academic competition or a sporting event.

Finally, maintain an emotional connection with your kids by constantly reminding them that you love them and are proud of them. Don't forget how special your relationship with your children is. Showing them that you care about them and are interested in their lives will help build strong relationships that you will be proud of and hopefully continue to enjoy for years to come.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorced, But Fathering Well," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Jan. 4, 2013

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