Happy Father’s Day to all of the dad’s out there. My kids are lucky to have an extraordinary dad. Mack is still a driven professional, but he has always made time for his children. He never misses a soccer game, always goes to Back to School night, schleps them to play dates or the mall—everything a modern dad does. On top of helping with the logistics, he involves himself in their daily emotional and intellectual development. Even though he still travels constantly, he calls the kids every night to hear about their day and offer support and advice. He is definitely a role model to working dads everywhere.
And this I’m saying about my EX-husband, ladies. It seems to me that once women get divorced they seem almost obligated to trash their ex-husbands. I never played into that mentality. Every professional involved with our divorce–our attorneys, kids’ doctors, therapists, school counselors—universally preached that how we treated each other would ultimately determine how messed up our kids would be from the divorce. And needless to say, we wanted to mess them up as little as possible.
Many women claim that they never trash talk their ex’s in front of the kids, and they probably believe that. But kids do hear you whispering to your friends or talking when the door is shut. They hear your tone and read your body language and facial expressions. Kids aren’t stupid; in fact I would argue that because they’re so focused on learning in their early years they’re picking up on everything you do or say to a greater degree than you might think.
So this Father’s Day, whether you’re divorced or happily married, resolve to say directly to your kids at least one good thing about their dad every day. Let them hear you praise him in some way. Doing so will counteract any negative your kids are picking up about the relationship and might even improve your own interactions with him. That’s how I try to live anyway and it seems to be working.