When couples make the decision to divorce and have children, what many do not realize is that there are many changes to come. The changes include but are not limited to changes in income, schedules, and parenting roles in addition to the responsibilities that will accompany each of these changes. Every parent will most likely be affected by role changes if they participate in the care of their children. When reviewing father's changes and responsibilities following divorce there is often a vast amount of adjustment and it differs according to the age of each child. Custody may be divided equally, have specified visitation times or sole custody. According to a New York Times article on August 31, 1993 the number of unmarried fathers living with children more than doubled from 1980 to 1992 according to the U S Census Bureau.
When solo parenting begins after divorce, there are many issues that must be addressed and solutions sought to meet these needs.
Below are tips for dads who are facing single parenting:
- Lose the manhood and “pucker up” - When dads take on the role of single parenting and maybe has not had the role of being the nurturer that is usually associated with moms, then dads must learn quickly how to give hugs and kisses when the younger children fall and need that loving hug and words of reassurance that they need to hear that “makes it all better”.
- You are not allowed to say because I am a man, I do not know how. If you have a young daughter, please don’t say I can’t make a ponytail for her long beautiful hair, sure you can. Do not send your children to school with an appearance as if they have rolled out of bed and suddenly appeared at school. Find a Barbie doll and practice making ponytails, just remember, your live Barbie doll usually will not stand still.
- Trade in the tool apron for the French maid apron – You heard me, let’s get to cooking. With the obesity rate among youngsters and society as a whole, fast food may be acceptable but nutritious meals are also needed. Purchase kitchen tools to help create meals that are healthy such as crock pots and steamers. When buying groceries, purchase fruit, fresh produce and other veggies that give nutritional value to your meal is a wise choice.
- Multi-tasking can be overwhelming but by pre-planning your evenings and preparing for the mornings, you can accomplish many tasks. Packing back packs the evening before school, packing the car for the evening activities the night before and oh yes reviewing the family calendar to review each person’s daily commitments. During marriage, many often depended on the other spouse to give assistance with some of the daily tasks, but in solo parenting, it is up to you to swing from both ends of the rope.
- Learning to establish boundaries from the beginning can assist with everyone’s adjustment. It is easier for the family to adapt than waiting until an unhappy event occurs and then parents attempting to establish boundaries. It would be great if both parents could keep boundaries similar across households. This will allow for younger children not to become confused and older children not to use the phrase such as “At mom’s house she don’t make us fold laundry”, etc. Establishing boundaries on the outset of solo parenting and maintaining common boundaries assists with adjustment.
- Join a support group for single parenting. In local newspapers or on the internet you may find listings for group support in your area. A support group may help form friendship of other single fathers, exploring new ideas for parenting and forming a bond with new members in your community who have similar issues and concerns.
Changes that divorce brings with parenting can be tough but it does not have to make the family crippled. Try one solution and if it doesn’t work try another until you succeed. Divorce Tool Box understands the parenting challenges and changes that occurs as a result of divorce. Visit our website www.divorcetoolbox.com to see how we may assist you in becoming best single dad ever!