Getting divorced is something that no one plans on when they get married. It certainly isn’t easy to go through. Having a child in that marriage adds a whole different level of challenges. This is such a difficult step in either parents life to go through. All you can do is hope to have a civil, respectful relationship between both parents and equally provide for the child. I couldn’t find myself to be without my daughter nor will I take her from her mom. If both parents are present, then that child needs both parents. It is a lot more work co-parenting but the focus should only be the child.
Raising a child isn’t usually a walk in the park. If there is a parent who doesn’t think so, tell me your secret. Now raising a daughter opens up a world for dads that we aren’t experts at. It can be terrifying! You can feel lost and clueless! Yea sure, she’s only going to be 4 soon so you think you have plenty of time. Well actually you don’t. There are things that you need to know as a parent and also things your daughter needs to learn as she becomes independent. Here are some things that I have found important during this journey.
Learn & Teach: I knew that my daughter would go through changes as a girl that normally her mom would help her understand and teach her right from wrong. As a single dad, I needed to learn these things just as much. How to brush and style her hair. The importance of female hygiene. How to generally be a lady. The steps of becoming a big girl. These are things that daddy’s usually do not have to learn because that’s where mom comes in. In my case, I needed to do my part when my daughter was with me so she doesn’t only learn this in mommy’s house. In addition to these crucial learnings, teaching her to be a problem solver helps her become independent. Now I do have to get better at this as I’m by her side with every lost direction and every fall. Allowing her to think of how to get herself out of a problem and get herself up and brush off the dirt will help her to be more of a leader and solve more problems. Giving her small chores will give her the sense of responsibility. Making her feel like she’s a big girl and that she’s included in the household. After all, kids want to do everything and anything, so use that to your advantage. It will help you with time and help them sharpen those skills.
Family: My daughter knows that her family consist of herself, her mom and her dad. This is hard when the parents are no longer together. So its up to them to bring this important value to her life. Even though we are living our separate lives, us as parents, still have to show her one way or another. I make sure I involve my family around my daughter and her mom does the same. If either of the parents shall choose to move on in another serious relationship, then practicing good family morals is just as important. This new person has to care for your child the way you would. The opposite parent should not interfere with this relationship because that will involve in affecting your child. As long as both parents do not put their child in harms way, there’s no reason for the other parent to interfere. Having the support of women in the family and close female friends is definitely great to have when raising your little girl. Having a role model outside of the parents is not always a bad thing.
Her Knight and Shining Armor: Us fathers want to be the man in her life. And you know how we feel about boys but that’s another story. So its important to be involved, to listen and have open communication. At the same time, letting go and letting her be independent. She’s now 7 years old and I’m not completely letting go any time soon but it’s probably a good idea to start. Giving her that trust and responsibility will help that relationship grow stronger over time. I want her to learn that she needs to be respected and deserves nothing but the best. To be honest, that’s all I really want. At the end of the day, I want her to know that I will be there for her no matter what and when the conversation of “boys” comes up again, she will know how she should be treated.
So this journey so far has been very eventful! There has been some extreme challenges, some of the greatest learnings and some of the most memorable moments. What I want to say to those single dads is; keep your head held high, learn as much as you can, make the time for your little ones and teach them what you learn. But most importantly, show them love in everything you do. You are the GREATEST DAD EVER! Don’t let anyone take that away from you!