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Ladies, if you have kids and are not with their dad for whatever reason, are you making sure your children’s relationship with their dad continues even if your relationship with him does not?

I hope so, because your kids need their dad. And way too many women make the mistake of pushing him out either out of anger or just because they themselves don’t want to deal with him anymore, but this is a really, really shortsighted and selfish thing to do.

In fact, experts say there are very few situations where either parent should be denied regular time with their children. Kids need both parents, ideally together but if that simply is not possible, then separately. And without ongoing conflict, anger, or bad-talking of either parent. It takes a lot of maturity to co-parent in a healthy way that puts your kids needs over your own, but it is well worth it for their sake.

I know this because I grew up without my dad, who died in a car accident when I was two and my brother was four. We each missed having our dad in different ways, and at many points. Even today, some 40 years later, I still feel and grieve that loss. It’s never “over.” That void is always there, even more so on days like Father’s Day, or when I see a bride walked down the aisle, or do a father-daughter dance. Many times I find the grief is right there, ready to pop out when I least expect it.

Now in my case, there was no option. I cannot imagine how I would have felt knowing that my father was out there somewhere and I just wasn’t getting to see him, or worse was being told he didn’t want to see me. I do know people in this situation and most have as adults reconnected with their fathers despite their mother’s wishes, and in the cases where mom shoved dad out, they harbor real and lasting anger at their moms because of it.

When a relationship between parents ends, so should the fighting and bickering and anger. If you can’t do it, have someone else manage visitation drop offs and pick ups for you until you can. I have many times witnessed a child standing to the side while their mom and dad stand and argue with each other and it is absolutely heartbreaking. Just don’t.

And don’t make shit up. And don’t play games. And don’t stir the pot.  Just let it go. Be the bigger person. Show your kids the high road by always taking it yourself. Be that person they desperately need to look up to.

And don’t hold money over his head in exchange for time, keep money and time separate issues, not discussed in front of your children. In fact, remember that little ears hear everything, so never bad talk the other parent around your kids, and don’t let other people do it either because your kids are half that person, and if they keep hearing that person is bad, they will think they are half bad, too.

Trust me, your kids need their dad. If he’s out there and wants to be a part of their life, please, let him be. They need him.

Let those who have ears hear.