Most dads I have spoken with want the best for their children. Some of my closest friends after highschool happen to be single dads who were struggling to not only make ends meet, but they struggled to bond with their kids as well.
how to bond with your child as a single dad?
Despite public opinion pointing to the contrary, the vast majority of single dads struggle to bond with their children for several reasons. These include: working way too many hours at their careers; arguments with their ex-partners; living out-of-state; prioritizing friends over family; drugs and alcoholism; and the patience required to bond with their children.
Despite all the reasons listed above and the clear lack of action by some fathers, I truly believe that the vast majority of single dads want nothing but the best for their kids.
One of the main reasons I decided to write this post is to present another side of the debate along with some clear-cut suggestions on how fatherhood could be improved and bonding between a dad and his children can be established.
That said, let’s take some time and go through these points in a more detailed fashion. Sounds good?
Working Way Too Many Hours:
Regrettably, many single dads fall into the trap of working extremely long hours or they work six or seven days per week.
It may seem counterintuitive, after all, you would think that most guys in the single dad category would understand that to be a successful dad at bonding with their children would take some time and hands-on effort on their part, right?
While I certainly cannot speak for every single dad out there with bonding issues, However, I can speak for the single dads I have known throughout the years – along with current research and data that suggests that men in this position often use work and work-like situations as a coping mechanism for not being able to see their children regularly.
Moreover, the financial burden many single dads face oftentimes forces these particular fathers into working much more than they would like to.
USEFUL TIP: Although spending quality time with your child is a key component in the steps towards proper bonding, using technology such as Skype to chat face time is also effective.
The most important thing in the bonding process is to show your children that you care for them. Many soldiers use this approach as well while contracted overseas until they receive a leave of absence in between assignments.
Always reassure your kids that they mean the world to you, and state with love how much you are looking forward to seeing them!
Arguments With Their Ex-Partners:
This is an all too common scenario: after the separation – legal or otherwise – one partner (usually the mother) goes out of her way to make things uncomfortable for dad by way of yelling at him in front of the child and certainly behind his back.
At times, she may even refuse to open the door when he comes to visit his child claiming he owes her for back child support.
Whether or not this is the case is irrelevant, the only one truly suffering here is the child on so many levels – plus it’s illegal for one parent to keep the other parent away unless through a mandated court order.
The above example is fairly extreme although it does occur much more than people would like to admit.
On a lesser note, the mother may still bash her ex-partner in front of the children in the attempt to brainwash the children and to “get them on her side” to the point where his children eventually turn against him due to the enormous pressure faced by their mother.
My heart goes out to these poor dads, and is any wonder why many of them walk away from the entire situation, hands up in the air due to the pain and frustration they face?
USEFUL TIP: Despite what many women think, a father is 100 percent entitled to see his children, and depending on lifestyle split custody is often recommended.
What do you do if your ex refuses to hand over the kids on your day of visitation? You execute your legal rights and call the police immediately.
The police will force her to hand them over and if she keeps it up the law is on your side. They will literally place her in handcuffs and arrest her for breaking the law.
Living Out Of State:
Another predictable factor that hinders single dads from bonding with their kids is the huge distance that separates them from their kids.
Oftentimes, their ex-partner will remarry and subsequently move out of state and create a new family. This huge distance creates a wedge between the father and his children that makes the bonding more difficult.
Of course, the father is free to try and contact his children but let’s face it chatting over the phone or through video chat is certainly no substitute to face-to-face contact.
USEFUL TIP: Here’s a direct quote: The custodial parent can not simply move the child anyplace without the permission of the other parent. Furthermore, a custodial parent does not have an intrinsic right to take a child whenever it decides. In compliance with both federal and provincial laws, decisions to allow a child to relocate should be considered. This normally follows the child’s best interests.
Although I live in Canada this law has universal acceptance across the board, so before you think there is no hope do yourself a favor and petition your case with a lawyer who will fight for your rights as a parent.
Prioritizing Friends Over Family:
Bonding with your children takes time, effort, and patience so if that’s your goal then you will need to make some solid sacrifices to make this happen.
Gone should be the late-night partying and weekend get-a-ways with friends where you drink all night until all hours of the morning.
I’m certainly not advocating that you should never go out with your friends, however, to spend the quality time necessary for healthy bonding you need to strike a balance between maintaining old friendships and quality time with your children.
USEFUL TIP: Depending on your work schedule, set aside one or two days per week where you spend time with friends and the rest toward healthy bonding.
Coping With Drugs And Alcohol:
Unfortunately, many single dads struggle with drugs and alcohol due to the psychological distress of not being able to spend time with their children (and a dissolved relationship)
When single fathers feel stressed, they may turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the stress. While this may work in the short term, it does nothing to resolve the problem.
It’s anticipated that the use of drugs or alcohol will increase to the stage where it is causing problems in other areas of their lives, such as financial problems, medical complications, or legal problems.
Indeed, using drugs and alcohol also has the potential to spill over into other areas such as late-night partying, irritability due to withdrawal symptoms, and the potential of loss of income resulting from less productive days at work.
USEFUL TIP: If you drink more than 10 alcoholic beverages per week chances are you have an alcohol problem. Don’t try to manage this alone without help, humbly check yourself into some type of rehab program and receive the help you need.
The Patience Required To Bond:
Being a successful dad is hard work, and if your overall goal is to raise the best children possible with the goal of them becoming successful, well-adjusted adults then you will need to step up your parenting game and make them your number one priority.
Sadly, many dads lack the patience and maturity to do what is necessary to achieve this goal.
Patience is a difficult thing to master, and one of the best ways to improve someone’s patience level is to take parenting seriously. Like anything you do in life, the more you practice the better you will get.
That said if you don’t have the mindset and desire to do better then you may find yourself constantly frustrated and taking out your frustrations on your kids.
USEFUL TIP: Many parents find that their frustrations increase when they don’t have a positive outlet to take advantage of.
Let’s face it, no matter how well your parenting skills are you will find that there are those days where you need to release some stress and tension.
By incorporating things like exercise and fitness combined with good nutrition. And it doesn’t always need to be through fitness and nutrition, joining a support group is also an excellent choice as well regardless if you have strong support systems in place or not.
If you were wondering before reading my post how to bond with your child as a single dad then you are probably pleasantly surprised to learn that there are some key things to pay attention to and possible address.
Although parenting styles differ from person to person, some things remain constant: you need to be present and available, and you need to have the want, need, and desire to bond with your child in a way not many dads are prepared to do.
Time, energy, and patience are the key components required for any healthy bonding. And I guarantee that if you apply these principles in your life toward your child you will be heads above other dads who can’t be bothered by going the extra mile.