Being a father can be, and most would attest that it is, the most important thing in your life. However, life is not going to be like it was before. Whether you’re a single parent or not, your choices are going to have to reflect what’s best for your kids. This might mean that your social life is going to take a few hits. Or it could mean that you have to re-define the nature of your association with your romantic partner. In any case, having a child in your life changes things up a bit but it’s your job as a parent to adjust your life so that their life remains consistent. Here are some things that might need to change:
- Relationships: Your kids notice when things are different and they don’t express it the same we you and I do. Shifts in their environment can have profound effects on their behavior. If you have a new partner and they are starting to spend the night, be careful, this can be weird and upsetting to a child. Having multiple partners can be equally upsetting to them.
- Time with your kids: The time you make to spend with your child is of the utmost importance. If you’re spending too much time with your kids, change that. If you’ve recognized that you’re not spending as much time with them as you should that’s better than not realizing it.
- Social Life: If you’re used to staying out late with friends, or just spending a lot of time out with other people, time for a wake-up call, those days could need to be put on hold or toned down a bit. If you have issues with alcohol or drugs, now’s a good time to dry out.
Having a stable home life is obviously a number one concern. Eating right, setting good examples for hygiene, using good judgment etc. are what matter in the long run for the child’s life. Remember, you’re laying the groundwork for the rest of their lives. What they are to be, they are now becoming.
You shouldn’t strive to have the household that’s “cooler” than the other parents. Letting them stay up late, letting them do things that mom or dad wouldn’t let them do might be okay to indulge in every now and again, but sacrificing responsibilities, especially their idea of responsibility, is the opposite of what needs to happen. Be mindful of your own behavior as a parent. If you see yourself acting out of character, bring it back down to normal. Being a parent shouldn’t be about what not to do. It’s about you and your kids and being a family.