Dads Take Your Kids Back to School
by Attorney Anthony S. D’ Agostino
Fathers taking their children back to school is vital with the academic school year beginning. Research
has shown that fathers, no matter what their income or cultural background, play a critical role in their
When fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier
behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can
have a lasting and positive impact. (U.S. Department of Education. “A Call to Commitment: Father’s
Involvement in Children’s Learning.” June 2000).
Students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school. (Nord, Christine
Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family
Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education,
National Center for Education Statistics, 2001).
ADVICE FOR SINGLE DADS
There are many divorced, separated and single fathers who would like to take their children to the
first day of school. This can cause conflict with their mother, leaving the children out in the cold.
However, this should not create conflict if managed appropriately.
Emotion should never cloud the parental decision-making process. Best-selling author and nationally
renowned Fathers’ Rights attorney Jeffery M. Leving would like to take the time to give advice to both
parents before it gets to the boiling point. Leving says that there are certain steps that one must take
in order to make this process a smooth transition for the sake of the kids.
- Plan Ahead
The first day of school is a big day for everyone involved. Make sure you communicate with the
mother of your children and the children themselves to ensure a smooth morning. Careful planning
and effective communication can turn this into quality time with your children.
- Be Patient
Many fathers who have gone through a bitter divorce may find it difficult to reconnect with their
children. Although this may be painful and awkward at first, with empathy, patience and practice, it
does get better.
- Avoid Conflict
This day can be a stressful time for parents and children alike. Be aware of and perceptive to
everyone’s feelings and realize that the first day of school can be tense and stressful for everyone.
- Be Flexible
Plans change, so you will have to be open and adaptable to positive change. If it turns out that it is
not possible to take your children to their first day of school, then see if you can pick them up after
school for some quality time or explore another opportunity for communication, bonding and support.
- Have Fun
Most importantly, remember how excited and anxious you were to begin another school year when
you were a child? Stay cool and don’t let anyone ruin this wonderful experience for the children.
You may be at odds with your children’s mother, but do not let this affect your relationship with your
children. They continue to need a loving and involved dad in whom they can rely on for guidance and
support. Give your children the time, space, patience, unconditional love and acceptance they need.
Remember that you are a father. Taking care of your children during this important day is your