Understanding how to be great as a single dad is a worthy goal, especially when you have the power and influence to shape your child into a decent human being with almost limitless potential.
Unfortunately, there are many single fathers who have a wonderful heart filled with good intentions, yet aside from instinct, some folks require some sort of guidance and really don’t have a roadmap to follow.
With the latter statement in mind, I decided to do some research into what it takes to be a successful single dad, and what I uncovered was some juicy information – and an informative summary – that is sure to kick your butt a couple notches up the ladder of fatherhood.
1. Spend time with them every day while getting creative.
2. Don’t talk bad about their mom
3. Always make time for regular bonding
4. Spoil them with love and not money
5. Don’t be afraid to reassure that you love them
6. Always be selective on who you introduce them to
According to many researchers and social scientists, there are some clear cut things you should be doing, and of course, some clear cut things you shouldn’t be doing as well.
Let’s go through each of these points with a clear explanation, shall we?
Spend Time With Them Everyday While Getting Creative:
Naturally, as a single dad if you’re worth your weight in salt you will do everything in your power to be the best damn dad out there, no matter if your married or single.
Unfortunately, there are some limitations single dads have that a full-time dad will not face, and that’s the issue with time.
Yes, I get it, some fulltime fathers are extremely busy and may not see their kids as often as they like, but for the overwhelming majority who get to come home each night, they have that as a clear advantage.
If you do fall in the category where time is an issue, and you can’t see your kids every day then the best way to overcome this issue is to utilize technology to your advantage.
When I can’t see my son or daughter, I make sure that Facebook video chat is available, and even other platforms like Skype and WhatsApp.
By doing so, it sends a strong message to your children that you love them and you are committed to maintaining a healthy relationship with them.
Don’t Talk Bad About Their Mom (Seriously):
Your relationship with their mom may have ended poorly, and it may even burn you to realize that she’s bad-mouthing you every chance she gets, but the worst thing you can do is retaliate back and call her every name in the book in front of your kids.
Not only will this tactic eventually turn your kids away from you, but many psychologists demonstrate that irreparable harm is done to children on so many levels.
Thankfully, I was never in this positions, however, if I were my approach would be to explain to them that sometimes adults make mistakes out of anger, and the hurtful words have nothing to do with the relationship you have with your child.
Consider that your child views him or herself has half of you and half of the other parent in many ways. Most children know that they have some parts of mommy and some parts of daddy in them, whether that’s daddy’s eyes and temper or mommy’s nose and mood swings. When you put down your ex, you are putting down your child.
Always Make Time For Regular Bonding:
This goes hand-in-hand with my first point – spending time with them – but to take it a stepfather by regular bonding with your children.
I’ve seen it time and again, fathers that make time to spend with their kids on the weekends, yet put them in front of a television and use this medium as a babysitter so they can do stuff they want to do by themselves or with friends.
It’s well-known among child development specialists and those with common sense that in order to properly bond as father and son/daughter there have to be some common interests that you can do with your children, and research clearly shows that bonding fathers are critical for the overall development of their child.
I think it’ a wonderful idea if you can arrange some type of volunteering with a local food bank or some other community outreach program. It makes for some excellent bonding around critical social issues – and kids feel great being able to help out others who are less fortunate.
Another suggestion is to work some type of job together and bond over some much-needed wealth creation.
Having a paper route on weekends is an excellent way to do this, and trust me your kids will be on cloud nine over being able to earn an income with their father.
Spoil Them With Love And Not Money:
There comes a natural tendency for many single dads to feel a strong sense of guilt largely due to their breakup with their child’s mother.
What’s the natural response?
They overcompensate their guilt by showering their children with gifts, money and any other material thing they ask for.
Rather than taking advantage of the advice listed above, they forgo bonding and quality time with material items that essentially create very little memories.
I’m certainly not advocating against the idea that you should not spend money on your kids for the latest gadgets, but what I am suggesting is that you focus more on the bonding and memory creation aspect of child-rearing.
Ultimately, the memories you create today will be the talk of tomorrow!
Don’t Be Afraid To Reassure That You Love Them:
Due to factors such as social stigmatization against men in general, there is an unwritten rule among many men that expression and outright affection is a no-no.
Regrettably, this can translate into emotional neglect among their children…
This is especially true among children who are victims of divorce where their esteem and self-worth are especially low.
To be the best dad you can be, it’s essential that you constantly validate your love for them, and always go above and beyond by including them in many things going on in your life.
If they see your actions match your words, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Never think you are a bad parent because of the situation you’re in.
Trust me, if you make the effort that more than 80% of other dads in your situation. You got this dad!
Always Be Selective On Who You Introduce Them To:
This last point should be a no-brainer, however, it’s really not among many single dads.
There are an alarming number of neglectful dads who feel it’s perfectly fine to introduce their children to every person who they date, and could care very little if that person is just a fling.
I’m sorry, but this is where I draw the line. As a father who is responsible for the care and upkeep of their children, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they are psychologically well-cared for.
I shouldn’t have to say that it’s detrimental to children growing up witnessing that particular lifestyle.
Before I get a ton of hate mail, let me clarify my position on this matter: It’s perfectly fine if you want to date, but only introduce people to your children who you are completely serious about, and naturally, this will take some time to get to know one another.
Learning how to be great as a single dad requires patience and self-sacrifice. It also requires discipline and a willingness to go above and beyond what is expected of you.
Don’t let a messy divorce or break up get in your way of being the best damn dad you can be. Always strive for perfection, and when in doubt feel free to go through my post for some inspirational content.
Are you a struggling single dad with some insight of your own? Feel free to drop me a comment below and let’s get some dialogue going 🙂