It’s funny what kids remember about their parents when they grow up. They see things. Children have a way of remembering little moments that reveal a part of your character. I remember my dad helping me with my homework and explaining how an engine works. He taught me practical things. He showed me I could depend upon him.
Even if parents are no longer together, they can still be parents for life, perhaps in a co-parenting relationship. As parents, fathers and mothers both have the job of raising and supporting their children as best they can. Kids curl up inside and pull away from their parents when their parents don’t treat each other with mutual respect and appreciation.
I’m from the child support program. Believe me, I know no one likes to be seen as a wallet. For a long time, the child support program didn’t really appreciate that there is so much more to being a dad than providing for your kids financially. But when you take care of the financial part, you show your kids the caring part, the part of you that puts them first.
I know that being a parent is hard. Kids constantly need support from parents, both financial and emotional. They don’t always appreciate unique or challenging situations. But I also know kids have long memories. They remember how a parent conducts himself. They notice a parent’s priorities. More than anything, they want a father they can look up to—a father who tried to do right by them.
Parents can find resources on the Office of Child Support Families page, including a storybook for families, Child Support Services and You, Let’s Work Together.
At the child support program, we are starting to change our attitude. We are committed to working in partnership with fathers. Let’s work together to do right by every child.
Vicki Turetsky is Commissioner of the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the Administration for Children and Families