Being a single father is difficult, there’s no way around it. Learning how to be two parents simultaneously, dating as a single father, spending time with your kids while balancing everything else it takes to keep your little family unit going are some of the hardest things you might ever face. Building and maintaining relationships with your child takes a lot of care and work, like anything else you love. Having to do it on your own might seem impossible, like you’re looking up at a mountain. However, we live in an age of instant communication. Almost an infinite amount of information is at our fingertips. Use the resources that are out there for single fathers, or single parents in general, to your advantage.
The things you teach to your children are what influence their lives when they become adults. The decisions they make and the people they become are partially dependent on what you teach them. Having a good moral compass to point them in the right direction is more valuable than gold in a time when so much is happening and the pitfalls of life seem to grow larger. Make sure they know the difference between right and wrong and what the value of the truth is.
The time you spend with your child during this time of upbringing matters greatly. Here are some important areas to focus on:
- Play time. No matter how old you or your kids are its beneficial, physically and psychologically, to be able to take part in the act of “play”. Research shows that having well structured play time produces greater overall well being and emotional stability than unstructured free time. Sit down and draw a picture with your kids. Shoot hoops, go fishing, let them teach you how to tie French braids or simply make a tower of blocks for the sole purpose of knocking it down. Being silly is a good thing. This interaction reflects your commitment and love to them and they will be able to see it.
- Quiet time. Never underestimate the power of silence. Having a time of day when the TV is off and there are no other distractions is a good thing. Simply sitting together in a room while you read the paper and they read a book or color on construction paper provides another piece to a stable home life. Studies have also shown that having this time to reflect on the day and talking about what’s on each of your minds or not saying at all increases general well being. This is also a great way to bonding that you can turn into a daily routine.
You might have to be putting in more hours at your job or even looking for a job that pays more. This can take away from your time with your kids and is a very common issue in single parent households, which reinforces the idea that a family really does require a team effort and both parents. Making necessary sacrifices for the greater good is a part of life. Spending more time at work to make the money to pay for their needs or the house you live in and the food they eat seems like an easy choice right? This sacrificing of quality time takes away from you both, as a family. That’s why it’s important to maintain that delicate balance. As many parents will tell you, it’s difficult. You always have a choice.