My Guest post at Let Children Play. Thanks for the feature Meg. Love what you are doing at Let Children Play
June 15, 2012
By Ted Rubin
As a divorced dad, I am constantly focused on involvement and presence. Don’t be left out of your kids’ lives, I think. Step up and commit to being available for your children right from the beginning.
When my 15 and 17 year-old daughters lost the simple feeling of, “I love my Daddy,” parenting became more difficult. But no matter what, I stay present. When they ask why they have to be at my house, go on vacation, or have dinner with me when there is someplace else they would rather be, and when all they do here is stay in their rooms or watch TV in the den (while doing their best to ignore me), I tell them that just being together with them is enough.
Nothing can replace face-to-face interactions with my daughters. Although I work in social media, I never communicate with them through those channels. I occasionally check Facebook to see what they are doing, but the last thing they want is their dad marking up their profiles with embarrassing comments. Still, I have learned to communicate on their terms. I prefer to talk to them and hear their voices on the phone, but because they prefer text and respond best to it, that is what I use most often. I always send an email before I fly to tell them I love them (just in case). Since they rarely check their email, I also send a text message so I can be sure they’ll see. But our most important moments are face-to-face, when I am truly attentive and involved.
My job has helped me build deep, rewarding relationships with many mom bloggers. Often, when I reveal to them that I am a divorced dad of teenage girls, these moms share valuable advice that I hope has made me a better, more sensitive and insightful dad. I have been asked, “If I had just one hour with my girls, what would I do?” When they were young, if I had a real choice, I would have chosen swimming because it was so interactive. Now, my dreams have changed. I would equally love doing anything as long as I am doing it together with them.
Everything I do, I do to make the world better for my children. In business, I preach about the importance of relationships. But relationships aren’t just good business. They can change the world, spread kindness. And at the very least, they can help a dad let his daughters know how much he loves them and wants to be there to see them grow up.