February 15, 2021
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Conversations about single parenthood are usually centred around the mother and rarely about fatherhood. Don’t worry daddies, we are here to talk about you. While you can figure out a few things easily, some can get really confusing when you are raising your child as a single father. Based on the experiences of other single dads, here are some tips, hacks and advice for you to make fatherhood more joyous.
Form a Bond
As a father, you might feel like you would not be able to form a strong connection with your child like the mother would. While the role of a father and mother are usually different, when you are playing both the roles, you can definitely try and form the best bonds with your children. A single father of two 11-year old boys says that he feels like he has been able to connect on a deeper level with his children because he is a single father. He believes the same would not be the case if there were two parents involved.
Dedicate Some Time
Spending time with your child(ren) is very important, both when they are just born and during the later stages. They are emotionally dependent on you and crave a lot of attention. Being a single dad, you might not be able to give them your whole day or stay with them all the time, but you surely can dedicate a couple of hours to them. Relax and watch a cartoon show with your child after you come back from work. Laugh with them, cuddle with them and make it a point to have dinner together.
Reaching Out is Good
Everybody needs help at some point. While raising your child as a single father, you might want to reach out a lot, and that is a good thing! While you are at work, you would need a sitter or nanny or a family member to look after your kid. You would also need a few extra adjustments on the part of your colleagues and bosses to accommodate your schedule with child(ren). You might have to pick them up from school in the middle of the day or attend a PTA and at such times, ask your colleagues to cover for you.
Many believe that it is slightly easier for single fathers to manage their finances as in a typical Indian society, it is traditionally assumed that men are breadwinners of the family. Nevertheless, it is very important for you to learn to budget your salary to support yours as well as your child’s needs. Teach your kids how money management works, let them know their spending limit in a month.
Build the Trust
An experienced single father says that trust is the key factor in a father-child relationship. When you are a single parent, the responsibility to maintain and build that trust is relatively higher. You can start with simple steps like keeping them updated about your whereabouts, especially if you have parted with your partner through a divorce and your child has abandonment issues. You can also let your kid(s) know that you are available for them, whenever they need you.
Don’t Be a ‘Yes’ Sir
Overcompensation is never a good thing. Just because one of the parents is missing from the equation, there is no need for you to say ‘yes’ to everything your child asks of you. You can tell them no when they are doing something wrong. You need to be firm with them without being harsh; you balance that equation and you would be a golden dad!
If you are a single father by choice, then you might be well prepared for everything that comes next. But if the responsibility of raising your child as a single father falls on you unexpectedly, then going to therapy can be one of the wisest choices you make. The father of a 7-year-old says that therapy did help him a lot while dealing with the changes in his life which included a divorce and an introduction to single parenthood. Seek help in the form of parenting tips when you need it.
It is a good plan to keep your child informed of his/her mother. If you guys might have separated, or she might have, unfortunately, passed away. Either way, talk to your child about it. Explain why the mother isn’t around. Help them understand how your little family is made up. Train them to proudly answer the questions their peers/friends ask them about your family structure. Of course, wait till your kid develops the emotional maturity to understand these things.
As a father, you can take the best care of your baby girl, but sometimes, she might need a female figure in her life to talk about certain things. She will need a bra or need to talk about her period and at these times, she might find it easier to talk to another woman. Dads, this doesn’t mean that she doesn’t trust you, it simply might be easier for her to talk to someone who goes through the same experiences as her. You could introduce her to a sister or close relative or close friend to guide through these times.
The responsibilities can surely seem overwhelming and difficult to keep up with at times. But a father is every child’s favourite superhero. He/she would love and adore you no matter what. At the end of the day, that’s all it takes to make you feel like it is all worth it. Happy fatherhood, superdads!