The First Step to Being a Great Single Dad | Two HappyHomes Inc.

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The First Step to Being a Great Single Dad

Statistics suggest there are currently over 23 million children in the US today whose parents are divorced. That’s millions of opportunities for children to be disappointed, discouraged, and made to feel insecure through the actions of their divorced, and often hostile, parents. More often than not the ensuing animosity and resentment, as a byproduct of the divorce process, can find its foothold with the children involved. Bent on revenge, parents will often use their children like chesspieces calculating which move will cause their opponent the most damage.
 
It’s believed that 85% of primary custody arrangements are awarded to the mother; with such high percentages it’s understandable for those fathers to feel alienated, bitter, and indignant. Two of the easiest ways a father can exact retribution on his now ex wife is financial punishment such as withholding support or through his irresponsibility in assuming the new role of a single dad.
 
One of the initial sensations a newly divorced man experiences is freedom. For the first time in sometimes decades he is free to do what he pleases when he pleases. No longer is it necessary to check in for the blessing of another individual. As often the case this new divorcee, with more flexibility now than maybe in his entire life, goes overboard. This becomes apparent in the man whose behaviors point to one who is trying to regain his youth. Suddenly his social calendar takes precedent as he feels as if he’s playing catch-up from all the lost years during his marriage.
 
Yet an unintended consequence of this newfound independence is the duties of a father suddenly take back seat to his personal life. And if left unchecked his behavior can deteriorate to a point where he’s completely disengaged from his children because they’re now seen as ‘cramping his style’. Before long he begins missing his visitation weekends, his son’s sporting events, daughter’s recitals. And other important functions get shelved for what he feels are more pleasurable endeavors. The end result is children who become so disconnected from their father they have no interesting in engaging in a relationship with him at all.
 
As I talk to newly and seasoned divorced dads I share with them, what I consider, to be the vital key for being a successful single dad. In the midst of the business of divorce, adjusting to old but forgotten single mindset, and starting a life over again, as fathers we can’t forget the importance we play in our children’s lives.
 
Above all else children of divorced parents need a father who is going to be there, in other words, he is going to be consistent. Kids of any age can grow to understand why mom and dad aren’t together anymore, but what they struggle with is why dad disappeared entirely.
 
A consistent single father does what he says. If he is going to attend the play, he is there. If he’s going to take his son camping, they go camping. With over seven years of co-parenting I’ve come to realize that my kids could get over their parents splitting up, but they couldn’t get their father disappearing.
 
 

Kyle Bradford, also know as Chopperpapa, is a blogger, biker, divorcee, and foremost a father. With a Masters in Experience and a Ph.D in Mistakes from the University of Co-Parenting he offers practical insights on what it means to be a dad in the modern family. You can read his observations on relationships, dating, divorce, parenting, and other topics he affectionately calls ‘intellectual roadkill’ at chopperpapa.com.