Single fathers are one of the fastest-growing family demographics in our nation today. Being a single dad has challenges that are unique, but whether they have full or minimal custody of their children, there is one thing all fathers share in common.
We all struggle to find consistent, quality time with our children. We must be intentional. I was a single dad for nine years and looking back, I used a good portion of time with my daughter to get errands and household chores done. Time with our children is irreplaceable, so I encourage you to seize the moment, big or small, to effectively engage with your child. Make these moments count, because they go by too fast.Single parenting is hard and can be quite lonely—don’t go it alone.
If a lack of transportation, finances, legalities, or other barriers are hindering your involvement in your child’s life, reach out to community organizations for assistance. Some may be easier to overcome than others, but all are equally valuable when it comes to strengthening your relationship with your son or daughter. I also encourage you to seek out and build relationships with other men. Single parenting is hard and can be quite lonely—don’t go it alone.
Look for opportunities to strengthen your partnership with your child’s school or any groups they may be involved in. Get to know the teachers and stay updated on your child’s grades and school activities. The research backs it up. When fathers are involved in their child’s education (even if they don’t live in the same home), those children perform better overall cognitively, academically, socially, and emotionally. Find out if your child’s school has an All Pro Dad chapter. If not, check out what it takes to start one.
Of course, our children shouldn’t be the only ones still learning. Do you know the importance of a father doing skin-to-skin contact with his newborn? Do you know how to co-parent with your child’s mother to the best of your ability? And what about enhancing some life skills? Look for resources that provide education on topics like cooking, budgeting, men’s health, and job training. It’s never too late (nor insignificant) to improve ourselves for the sake of our families.
What keeps a man committed to his children? In addition to unconditional love and a sense of responsibility, some of the top contenders may include his relationship with the children’s mom, faith, and being able to overcome past hurts. These are all deep topics of discussion. Where do you fit in here and if asked directly, what would you say is the greatest motivator you have in staying committed to your children? My suggestion would be to hone in on the top one or two and make them a front-burner issue. If co-parenting, do whatever you can to keep the communication lines open with mom and take the high road if necessary. If you have faith, continue to study and grow in it—often this will lead to overcoming past hurts such as father wounds or a bad relationship.
Most fathers are committed to their children innately. Still, when we can be involved, responsible, and committed, we are not the only ones who win. Our children do, too—big time.
Sound off: What are some other ways you can win as a single father?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it takes to win something?”