Being a single dad or father is much more than just having the custody of the children. But the label implies too much of a recognition and we are not talking in terms of any badge of honor here. The responsibilities are great and the situation challenging. Single dads really need to shine as a leader to bring a perfect balance not only in the lives of their kids but also their own.
The Situation– No doubt, situations can be very hard and demanding for the single dad. They have to meet the challenge of keeping the atmosphere positive in the household. Having peaceful and interactive relationship with the child is important. Day-to-day challenges need to be met with the right resources and following the right advice. Tackling fatherhood can be a roller coaster ride but fun too if you are heading in the right direction.
Take life as it comes– As a single dad, the finances are not the only concern you will have. Your life will be scrutinized through the lens of gender. The truth is you are sure to impress people shouldering all that responsibility alone. But there is no need to set very high benchmarks for your performance. The goals should be realistic and give a pat to yourself for being successful in achieving them and being there for your child.
Acts as if everything is ok– You are a mature human being but your child is not. As a single father, your first thoughts should be to protect the bubble of surroundings around your child. Whether it is at home or in school, make sure his financial and emotional needs are being met. It is not going to be easy but with the right efforts in the right direction it is possible.
Wear the right attitude– Smile and be happy, not only for your child but for you too. You have a right to be happy too and being a single dad doesn’t mean that you have to be worried and in a state of anxiousness all the time. Remember that your emotions will have a direct impact on your child and even his relationship with you. So keep them positive.
Set examples– Be the best teacher for your child. He will learn what he sees. Make sure to set good examples and see that he is around with the right kind of friends and mentors. Introduce strong and capable role models in his life. It can be the counselor in the school or the church youth leader. Make him connect to the right people very early in life.
Talk less and listen more– Some times children don’t want us to solve their issues but be just there for them. So give them all your attention and listen long enough. There is no need to rush off to finding the solution. The communication lines need to be open all the time. Make time and show all the patience you have.
Be a role model– As a single dad, you need to be sure to set a good example all the time. Sure at times you will falter and make mistakes, but still you can come out of the situation being a real hero for your child. He will emulate you and keep in mind that he is observing you all the time. Some lessons will be learnt without being taught.
See through his eyes– Imagine yourself in your child’s place and see how he feels. He is sure to miss him mom, afraid of not being loved and, unsure of the future. As a father, you need to dispel all these fears from his mind and erase the uncertainties. Give them all your love and support. At times, you will need to go out of the way to be around for him and grab opportunities to be together.
Be a teacher as well as a student– Being a parent doesn’t mean that you have to be the teacher all the time. Sometimes, important lessons can be learning from the new developments and surrounding and even your child. As an adult you need to be in control but you have to give the right space to your child to grow too.
Most important investment– Perhaps the most important investment that you will ever make in your life is not with those banks or insurance companies. It will be the time you spent with your child in his growing years. Being there for your child physically, socially and psychologically at each stage is perhaps the most important investment that you will be making.
There are nearly 1 in every 40 households in US where children are being raised by single fathers. Few people realize that sometimes single parenthood is not forced upon the men but they are single dads out of choice. And many of them are doing a wonderful job about it.
I would love to hear more about your success as well as your struggles as a Single Dad!