If your children had a choice–to receive child support or spend lots of quality time with daddy and building a relationship with him–I’m pretty certain, in most cases, Dad is the winner.
Children don’t care about child support. In fact, unless their parents sit them down and explain it to them, most children don’t even know what child support is. Many children, in their independent mind frame (especially younger children), believe that the money is used to provide their wants and needs:
- Grows on trees
- Can be picked up at leisure from the bank
- Is unlimited on “those cards you swipe at the store.”
- Flows freely out of money making machines (i.e. ATMs).
- Is unlimited as long as you go to work.
So although child support is often our top concern as parents, children could care less.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed numerous children in connection with my child custody law and mediation practice. When asked about their feelings and wishes, NOT ONE child responded that they wanted more child support from daddy. Similarly, not one wished daddy made more money or anything else related to money, except, I have had a few children request that their dad didn’t have to work so much so they could spend more time with them. Out of all of my interviews, the only time the words “child support” were mentioned, was when one child said, “I wish mommy wasn’t so mad at my dad about child support so that I can see him.”
What children consistently seem to care about the most when dad, child custody and or/support is at issue, is being able to spend time with their dad, and without worry.
Being a parent requires much more than “having/paying money.” In my line of work, I’ve realized that society has so many people so wrapped up in riches and material things that the things that are most important are often disregarded for things that don’t compare. Children indeed need both money and quality time with both parents–one is not at the mercy of the other. I would suggest that moms who are using child support to interfere with the child’s relationship with their father look at how that behavior can be harmful to their children.
Now, don’t get me wrong, in no way am I implying that dads don’t need to financially provide for their children; that’s an obligation that pertains to both parents. Money is relevant to child-rearing. Children need food, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities. However, a child with the basic necessities that doesn’t have a connection with one of the only people who can show them how to utilize these necessities can easily become a broken child. For children to thrive and develop into the wonderful human beings, they have the potential to become, they need positive, supportive, influential people in their lives to give them direction and teach them cores and values. And who better to contribute these powerful lessons to their lives than their dad?
Regardless of a father’s ability to go over and beyond financially, what children care about the most, and what’s equally (if not more) important, is the type of support they can get from their father that isn’t financial.
Being involved with their schooling. Sharing the importance of getting good grades and working hard, helping with homework and school projects, attending parent-teacher conferences, and volunteering to chaperone school field trips.
Supporting their extracurricular activities. Attending music recitals, coaching their football, basketball, or other sports teams, cheering them on whether they win or lose, teaching them about sportsmanship, perseverance, and being a team player.
Everyday living. Teaching basic things like proper hygiene, manners, how to socially interact, how to deal with adversity, the importance of self-love, self-respect, respecting others, and self-esteem.
Quality Time. Spending quality time doing fun things with them such as family game/movie night, city outings (such as the museum), parks, amusement parks, swimming, and silly horseplay.
All of these things are not only priceless when it comes to a child’s long-term development into adults, but also much more valuable in their eyes than “child support.”
The child support issue can be dealt with via the proper legal channels as necessary, but in the midst of all of the fuss about and dealing with the issue, don’t forget about the most important thing… your child having a positive and prosperous relationship with BOTH parents.
If your kids had a choice–to receive child support or spend lots of quality time with daddy and building a relationship with him–I’m pretty certain, in most cases, Dad is the winner.
Photo: Flickr/ Lotus Carroll