Being a newly single father and adjusting to what your life looks like now comes with more than its fair share of challenges, but one of the unique opportunities it presents is the chance to really focus on the impact you have on your children’s lives. When you spend time with your children as a single parent, it often involves more one-on-one time, which means it’s more important than ever to make sure your actions and lifestyle have a positive impact on them.
Here are 8 positive ways you can impact your children’s lives as a newly single father:
1. Take Care of Yourself
Often the most obvious ideas are the easiest ones to ignore, but don’t forget that you can’t take care of anyone if you’re not taking care of yourself first. If you’re going through a separation, consider finding someone to talk to about your feelings to make sure you’re learning how to cope with them in a productive way. Develop and maintain healthy habits like exercising regularly, taking time whenever possible to relax, and cooking healthy meals for yourself and your children.
2. Avoid Negative Talk About Your Ex-Partner
A crucial requirement when it comes to making a positive impact on your children is refraining from any negative talk about your ex-partner. While you may have legitimate concerns and frustrations about your ex, your children are not the audience to share those with. By maintaining a mature attitude and working toward a collaborative relationship with your ex, you can show your children that separations can be amicable and ensure they feel safe and comfortable.
3. Keep a Flexible Schedule
When you become a single parent, you have to learn how to be flexible. Whereas in the past you may have been able to negotiate with your partner about who would pick up the kids when they were sick, if they get sick on your watch it’s on you to pick them up. Especially during the early days after the separation, your children may require more attention than usual and keeping your schedule open and adaptable will help you accommodate their needs.
4. Make Time for Vacations
Don’t just set aside time when your children are sick or need something specific — proactively make time to schedule fun things they’ll want to do, like going on vacation or trying new activities together. Not only are vacations and special events great bonding time, they can also help your children stay occupied and busy after a separation, when they may be feeling especially isolated or alone.
5. Respect Your Children and Expect it Back
Major changes can be disruptive for children, because they lose the comfort of their old habits and routines. While it may be tempting to be lenient and overlook some of the rules during this time, the resulting lack of structure could actually be harmful to them. Consciously enforce boundaries and treat your children with respect when you become a single parent, and ask that they show the same respect to you. This could be as simple as setting up a household chore chart at your new house and recognizing them for doing a good job following it.
6. Develop a Support Network
We always hear that it takes a village to raise a child, and with good reason — your “village” will be critical for you in these early days and beyond. As a single father, it’s essential to grow a support network to help provide your children the well-rounded community and care they need. Whether it’s fellow parents, your siblings, friends, or your kids’ teachers, don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your circle and develop strategies to ensure your children have everything they need and you have people to go to when you need help.
7. Lead by Example
While a “do as I say and not as I do” approach may make a good occasional punchline, it doesn’t necessarily make for good parenting. Your children look up to you as a primary role model, hanging on your every word and watching your actions. If you want to ensure you’re having a positive impact on them, lead first by example. Do your best to exemplify the morals you would like them to emulate.
8. Stay Positive
Finally, while you can’t be all smiles all the time, one of the biggest things you can do to make a positive impact on your children’s lives as a single father is staying positive. Remembering that the hard times will eventually pass can help put things into perspective. Building a supportive network, taking care of yourself, and spending meaningful time with your children will hopefully help all of you find the silver lining.
We’re here to help you be the best single father you can be. Get in touch with Father’s RIghts to ensure your custody and/or visitation rights are fair and balanced. You and your children deserve it.