With the increase in single parent families, the role of the father has also changed dramatically. If you are a full time dad, you have to learn to be something like a mother and father to your kids, and if you are part time, you have to find a way to work with your ex to put the children first and pull together, not use the kids as leverage to attack one another.
Given that mothers tend to have the more maternal instinct, is often takes a change of behavior and even a change of basic values to produce an outstanding single father, and while this may be difficult it is by no means impossible, and is something that every single dad should at least be attempting to do for his children.
So here are a Few Tips for you Single Dads to Help Make you into Great Dads
1. Recognize that you are single and you have children.
And that this is a blessing not a curse. It is a lifelong joy, not a life prison sentence.
2. Accept that this is a commitment.
In the same way that you would be committed to a job, a hobby or a sports team, make a full commitment to the task of being great at parenting.
3. Acknowledge the fact that you must assume all the responsibilities that a mother would have in addition to those you face as a father.
You cannot be a mother, at least biologically, but many of the roles a mother plays in their children’s lives you have to take some responsibility for. In essence, you need to do the work of two people.
4. Also accept that you cannot fully be both mother and father!
Many of the nurturing instincts you probably don’t have, so don’t try and become someone you are not. You may not want to be cuddly or want to kiss the splinter wound to make it better. You may not be able to sit and talk for hours about what happened at school. Sure,try to be these things for your children, but do not be harsh on yourself if you fail. You are still you, and most often our kids appreciate your trying to be more nurturing, even if you do a poor job.It’s not a contest with mom you know!
5. Calm your social life, at least until the children get older.
I am not saying become a monk, but things like dating and going out drinking with the boys must take a back seat to caring for your child and meeting their needs. There will always be the social things, so put them on hold or reserve them for times when your children are not there.
6. Don’t stop socializing.
Kids can take over your entire life and many single dads resent this, either consciously or subconsciously. Make sure you do some things for yourself, just do them as you have opportunity around what your child needs, not despite their needs.
7. Learn to communicate with everybody connected to your kids.
Talk to the teachers, the principal, any counselors, coaches, or tutors your child speaks to, because they can give insight into your child, and your interest makes the child feel that they are an important part of your world. Share the load with them, and seek their help where necessary. Don’t be so proud as to try and do it all alone, because today more than ever it takes a village to raise a child.
8. Learn to communicate with their mom, and make sure that when the kids are around that you talk and behave in a civil manner.
Always talk well of their mom, no matter what you think, because mud thrown is ground lost and what your children do not need is to become the rope in an adult’s game of tug of war!
9. Don’t let yourself go physically.
Make sure you take care of yourself, including exercise, not drinking too much and yes, even eating the right foods. Lots of healthy eating these days is easy and quick, such as Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals, so keep eating healthy and well. Also, make sure you keep your appearance up to scratch by shaving regularly, brushing and flossing and keeping your clothes neat and clean. Your kids have been through enough, and they want to be proud of their dad, not have a guy who looks like the local hobo!
10. Accept Criticism Gracefully.
Single parents especially fathers are often looked upon as being incompetent, and the fact that this job is never ending and often thankless. People will criticize you for what you do and also what you do not do. Don’t fight back when criticized, but learn to take it with a smile and the smug knowledge that your children are going to be OK with their dad! However, you need to be careful to be 100% committed to them, because you know that if you are late, messy or if you overlook something concerning the kids that it will be criticized, especially be your ex. The best bet is to not give her something to criticize at all!
Single dads aren’t perfect, but then neither are single moms, or married couples for that matter. You will make mistakes, so simply admit to them and move on, learning from the mistake.
Parenting as a single provides a unique opportunity to influence and develop your child, and it often makes dads far more aware of the needs of their kids. So don’t get overwhelmed by the details, take the time you need to get close to your children, put them first and love them unconditionally.
Remember, single dads can be the most positive influence on a child if they are patient and they learn to grow into their unique role.