Outside Looking In
I said it before and I'll say it again whenever and wherever possible a conscious decision has to be made to involve the father in the upbringing of his child(ren). I know several fathers that want to play integral roles in their child’s life and/or redeem themselves as the “man” in the eyes of the family, on some occasions those eyes are their very own. In our society, there is little sympathy and/or empathy for fathers and it shrinks when it appears the man has abandoned his responsibility to his children. My intent isn’t to defend, make a case, or make an excuse. What I want to do is cause the reader to look objectively at the dilemma of dad on the outside looking in as well as the immediate and long-term effect on all parties.
It was a period of time lasting about a year in which I was unable to see my daughter. Those 365 days were tough. I questioned myself (did I do anything wrong), I questioned the mother (how could you keep my child away from me), and I questioned the system (how could a system operating under the premise of having the child’s best interest at heart not create a space for a dad to be involved regardless of the relationship with the mother). I truly felt like I was one the outside looking in. I didn’t have any say-so in any aspect of her life and I’m not alone many fathers have the financial obligation yet when it comes to visitation, schooling, etc they are left out in the cold. It is vital that a correction is made in the near future not only for the father but for the children as well. Statistics reveal the negative impact of a missing father on the children in the long run but I submit to you the inability of a father to engage with his child has a damaging impact on him as well.
In conclusion, with so many distractions aggressively seeking the attention of our youth it is vital to creating a space for true co-parenting to come to life. Long term whether the parents are in a relationship or not co-parenting can and should be a win/win. The child seeing their parents collectively making decisions provide a guide. Also, it can potentially lessen the burden (financial, emotional, etc) of the custodial parent in the immediate and long term. The are several classes/workshops available that can guide parents down this path.