Being a parent is tough work. Being a single parent is even more difficult. Being a single dad, creating a happy life and feeling blessed is unbelievably challenging.
I spent the first six years of Mackenzie’s life being a single parent. You have no one to share the load with, and sometimes life can be overwhelming.
Here are some of my thoughts on making life as a parent easier, and creating a happy life with your children. In NO particular order:
1. DREAMSCAPE – Children have very imaginative minds. If you’re the father of a
“dreamer” child, it might become baffling at times to think of ways to keep your child
engaged in creative activities. Activities like art, music, acting or storytelling are great
ways to stimulate the creative brain. Mackenzie loves to have dance parties and roll
play. While sometimes it feels awkward as an adult to dance in the living room or act
like an animal or Disney character, these are the things that she loves, and I try to
encourage her creativity by playing along.
When boredom hits your child, encourage them to think outside the box, for
entertainment. Let them experiment with their ideas and enable them to tap their own
creativity. Creating or purchasing games that encourage imagination and free thinking
are great ideas for weekends together. We also have a full stash of art supplies, which
are great for inspiring creativity.
2. LIFE IS HOW YOU LIVE IT – Parenting can be a daunting task especially if you
are a single parent. The best thing you can do for your children is to be the master of
your universe. This doesn’t mean that you should go around puffing out your chest
and being bossy. It does mean that what you put out in; your attitude, your reaction to
situations, your interactions with others, and your interactions with your children, is
what you are going to get out of life.
What do I mean by this? Well, suppose you are having a particularly difficult time
and things just don’t seem to be going your way. You have choices about how you
can handle life. You can have a super attitude, be happy despite the situation, and
continue to treat others around you well, or, you can be miserable, grumpy, and treat
everyone as miserably as you feel. Being happy will make those tough times in life a
lot easier to handle than being a miserable grump. Not to mention, your attitude will
carry on to your kids. Be the example, a happy parent will have happy kids and a happy life.
3. LISTEN MORE – Everything in the child’s world is new, and they are going to want
to tell you all about what they observe, their experiences and how they are feeling.
It’s often easy to brush off your child’s commentary, especially when you are busy, or
in the middle of an “adult” task or conversation. This can be damaging to a child’s
confidence if you are constantly asking them to wait to share their thoughts. Take the
time to listen to your kids, even if it means stopping what is “important” to you, to
hear them. Oh, and leave out the commentary, unless it is positive. Let them speak
without criticism or judgement.
Kids are amazingly insightful, and taking the time to listen, and actually HEAR what they are saying could teach you something, or open your eyes to something around you that you hadn’t noticed. Even better, when you listen, you teach your child that their thoughts, opinions and feelings matter to you, which goes a long way in building a strong, trusting relationship, which will be crucial as they grow into teenagers and adults.
4. BE A HERO – I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t think that their dad is the
coolest, most amazing person, ever. Be mindful about how you respond to any situation. The behavior or conduct you follow, the language you speak affects your
child. Your child looks up to you, so ensure that you are always acting like that super
hero that your kid thinks you are. Be strong, be kind, and act with integrity. You will
be surprised to see that your actions and super hero behavior will start to rub off on
your kids, and soon they will be a super hero too!
5. THROUGH MY EYES – Don’t discount the awesomeness of the world through a
child’s eyes. Kids see things completely different from adults. There is an innocent,
unjaded view of the world that can be life changing for an adult, if we just take the
time to experience life, even occasionally, through the eyes of a child. Stepping back
and experiencing the world with your child, from their perspective will help your
relationship with your child grow. And, you might even find that life is a little more
fun when you act like a kid!
6. BE A TEACHER AND A STUDENT – It is true that part of being a parent is being
a teacher. Helping our kids learn about the world around us can be one of the most
rewarding parts of being a parent. However, it is good to be a student at times too.
There are many things which a child can teach you, like how to enjoy simple things,
how to have an inquisitive mind, and how to think outside the box. While you are
teaching your children, take a few minutes to ask them what they think, or how they
view the world. You might learn something, or at least gain a perspective that you
didn’t have before.
7. A PROFITABLE INVESTMENT – I’m sure that you work hard at your job, just
like most of us, to sustain a comfortable life. But having money and buying things are
not the most important investments that you can make in your life. Healthy
relationships are undoubtedly the most profitable investment anybody can make.
Solid relationships can lift you up when things are tough, and provide happiness
beyond what we can find in ourselves and our families. While giving your children
quality time is important, it is also important for you to take time to have “adult”
relationships, as well. Take the initiative to meet new people, make new friends or
nurture existing friendships. Not only is it good for you to have social relationships, but your children will learn the importance of building solid friendships and social
relationships from you.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
These are the things that have worked for me. I found that life was easier when I was focused on being happy, having fun, and building relationships. My happiness spilled over to my daughter, and our life together was way more fun. If you are looking for a change, a way to make life easier and more fun, give a few of these a try. Focus on living a happy life, you never know, it just might work!
Do you have other suggestions for making life fun, happy and easier for the single parent?
Leave your comments, let us know what you think!