Thursday, October 27, 2011

Holidays offer chance to reinforce relations with children

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Holidays offer chance to reinforce relations with children
By Jeffery M. Leving

Fathers’ rights include custody of children and assets but also include responsibilities, especially to their children during the holidays.

Most fathers who fight for their custody rights understand this, even though the challenges of divorce, separation and the legal custody issues can distract from some basic everyday responsibilities.

When I speak with fathers, especially after we have secured their rights through the legal system, I impress on them the need to become actively involved in their childrens  lives.

So how do you do this? Well, knowing what children are doing in school and spending time with them to insure they understand their school work is important. Fathers can be powerful role models for their children and they need to play an active part in their childrens lives.

But it’s not all work. There are many fun things fathers can and should do with their children. Maybe that means taking a vacation, or maybe that means simply participating in something the children enjoy, especially if those children are young.

This month presents a great opportunity for fathers to engage their children in a responsible and productive way.

It’s Halloween and most children love Halloween.

Here’s some pointers for fathers to participate in a fun way with their children this Halloween.

Go along with the children for the fun. It’s not only great for the kids to have their fathers with them, but it is also good for dads. It can help ease the stress of everyday work outside of the home.

You can either purchase a costume for your children or you can help them make a costume.

Fathers should always accompany children when they go Trick or Treating, especially young children.

Join with other parents and help strengthen the community bond and your involvement in your community. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to other parents in your neighborhood, who can also help to respond to family needs.

Only go to those houses in your neighborhood and that you are familiar with. Adults can and should plan out the route that their children will take as they go house-to-house and Trick or Treat.

It’s not just all fun, games and candy. It is also about safety. Prepare your children for safety for evening Trick or Treating. Make sure your children have a flashlight or a “glow stick” so kids can see cars and motorists can see the children. Make sure the costume, if it is store purchased, has reflective material on it so the children can be better seen in the evening.

If the costumes are homemade, place a reflective strip down the back and the arms.

Finally, you want to make sure your children are having fun. Let them run a little. Don’t “dote” on their actions. Try to give them some area of responsibility as a part of the event. Explain it to them that they are responsible for their conduct and how they present themselves, and you are there to help them enjoy their evening of Trick or Treating.

And if you haven’t been out with your children in a long time, you might even consider dressing up with them. Younger children especially will enjoy that. The older the children get, obviously, the more they want to show their own independence. Give them room.

Halloween is an excellent opportunity for fathers to engage their children in a positive, constructive and fun way. So make the most of it and keep them safe!

(Named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio, Jeffery Leving is the author of two ground-breaking books, Fathers’ Rights and Divorce Wars. He can be reached at

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