Becoming a single father isn’t easy. Men become single fathers for several reasons, most of the time due to a split up, whether divorce or otherwise. The whole messy issue of a breakup is bad enough, then adding to it learning how to play the role of mother and father can leave a single father confused and uncertain of his abilities.
When I first went through my divorce, it was hard to face the fact that I would no longer have my partner with me – my now ex-wife. It was hard to imagine that all her and I had worked so hard for had all but vanished. The only thing I had left to show for was my two children. I have struggled to find myself, while not allowing my children to suffer from my own lack of surety. Thus, as I sit here looking back on all I have overcome, I felt it would be good to share some things that helped me become a good single father.
1. Being Honest With Your Kids Is Paramount
Our children are smarter and much more intuitive than we think. They may not totally get what’s going on around them, but they definitely get that something isn’t right. Call it intuition, reasoning or whatever you think it might be, but I have experienced it with my own kids. Even before talk of divorce came into the discussion, my oldest daughter was asking her mother and me if we love each other anymore.
What is so interesting is that babies can understand other people’s emotions – they understand the difference between a happy voice and an angry one. This means you can’t necessarily fool even your youngest child into thinking everything is hunky-dory.
A lot of times children can grow resentful once they have found out that we have lied to them or withheld the truth. Furthermore, the issues we face as adults shouldn’t be hidden from them. There is a possibility that they’ll understand more about what we’re going through than we imagined. We have to give our children some credit.
2. Never Talk Badly About Their Mother
Whether it was divorce or a breakup from a domestic relationship, there is a reason for that breakup. Place the blame where you want, it really doesn’t matter when it comes to the children. You might be the one who is taking care of them, but children still need a mother, and no matter what the issue is, don’t be the one who paints their mother in a bad picture.
Studies show that saying negative things about your ex can affect your children in many bad ways. It causes insecurity and anxiety; it raises their fear level; it decreases their trust level – this can mean their trust of you or even themselves. But most of all, it causes them to suffer a certain unhappiness in their lives that they don’t deserve nor need.
Psychologists advise not to compare negative behaviors your children do with things that remind you of what your ex did. Not only can this backfire on you, but this can also become a source of insecurity. This type a behavior can become a bad habit to break.
3. It May Be a Good Idea to Change Careers
There are a lot of wonderful success stories about successful single moms who rose from destitution by starting a business from home in order to spend more time with their kids. Yet a quick Google search brings few results about single dads. That is because most of the time in our society thoughts of single women raising children alone are the first thing to come to mind.
As a single father, I learned how not to separate my life as a father from my life as an entrepreneur – the both are like breathing and walking at the same time … they simply happen without thinking.
It isn’t hard these days to find small business lending institutions these days – they’re everywhere. I can attest from personal experience that when I first ventured out into business alone, there were moments I wondered if I was doing the right thing. If I failed, I would be stuck paying off a loan and out of a business. Reading articles pointing out how nine out of 10 startups fail didn’t help much for my self-confidence.