Dedicated and Active Dads!

Hey Dads! Did you know that you are the fastest growing segment of the single parent population? While single mothers are increasing at an annual rate of 27%, single fathers are increasing at a whopping 62% each year.  No more stereotypical picture of the single mother as the only face of single parenthood.  More and more men are taking steps to raise their children as single parents.  If the stereotype of a man refusing to ask for directions even when he is lost is true, what does a father do when faced with raising a child alone?

1. Develop a support network.  This is the single most important piece of advice for any single parent, not just single mothers.  No one person should ever have to raise a child alone.  This is absolutely crucial. It is important for you to identify who you can depend on right now. Most likely, this network includes your immediate family and friends, but consider other people in your life who might also help you.  Make a list of these people who can help you remember that you are not alone.  Consider joining a single parent support group or taking some parenting classes to meet and network with other single parents. 

2. Think Inside the Box Don’t get overwhelmed trying to be both mother and father. Instead, concentrate all of your energies on being the very best father you can be. 

3. Be Present with Your Kids When you are with your children, be emotionally present with them. It’s easy to retreat inside yourself but this is a time when your children need you.  Simple activities like playing a board game or taking a walk together can go a long way toward communicating the message that life will go on and you will all be okay.

4. Pay Attention to your Physical Health There will be times when you feel worn down and drained. Fight this by making the effort to eat healthy foods and finding ways to energize  your body. Instead of relying on extra caffeine, try taking a walk at lunchtime. Additionally, getting adequate rest is crucial to your overall health and well being. 

5. Identify What Works  In the past, how have you handled challenging times in your life? What reminds you that you possess the strength needed to meet the current challenge? Focus on what has worked for you in the past and incorporate it into your present.

6. Let Go of What Isn’t Working Likewise, let go of what has not worked for you. As you navigate through single fatherhood, reflect on the habits and choices that have not served you well, and decide to change them. In addition, if there are things from the past that you cannot change, let go of unhealthy guilt and remorse.

7. Focus on the Positive Parenting is a time of constant growth. Take the time to think about the things that are going well for you. Having a positive attitude can empower you to move ahead and provide your children with a tangible example of the coping strategies you want them to adopt.

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1 comment to   
Dedicated and Active Dads!

  • This is a well-written article. The idea of “thinking inside the box” should be a subtitle for every article for single dads: we can’t be what we aren’t. This idea, coupled with the ideas of having a support community, lays a solid groundwork for any parent and models the strength one gets from being an authentic and genuine person who is strengthened by others, not weakened by need.

    Well done.