Divorce with kids changes us as parents. Sometimes for the better, other times for the worse. Every situation and person is different. In this article, I focus on the men who are seriously stepping up to their roles following a separation and make really good single dads.
This is an important topic for me as I know a lot of brilliant single dads and I hate that they get such a bad rap.
Some were great dads when they were in a relationship with the mother of their kids so it figured they would continue rocking the “great dad” role after separation. Others however, sat back and let their partner do all the parenting when they were in a family unit. Then, after separation, they embraced their role as a single dad and become super involved as a parent. This can only be a good thing … for them and their kids.
I love seeing this and from my experience and observation, I have put together seven reasons why I believe divorce can make men better dads.
1. THEY BECOME MORE INVOLVED IN THE NITTY GRITTY
For some single dads, co-parenting is a baptism of fire.
They may have had little to no involvement in the nitty gritty of their kids’ lives. Like what they eat, the clothes they wear, when they go to bed, and how/why/when they wake up at night.
Suddenly, as a co-parenting single father, they need to get their heads around every aspect of their children’s lives.
Doing so can make fathers more involved and interested in the little things. They have valuable input and opinions about parenting which they can put into action when it is their turn to parent.
Having more control over parenting and making choices they believe in helps single dads feel more connected to their children and more comfortable in their role as a parent.
2. SINGLE DAD’S CAN BE HEALTHILY COMPETITIVE PARENTS
Let’s be honest, there is a certain level of competitiveness involved in co-parenting, whether we admit it or not!
Both mum and dad want to provide the best level of care they can … which is often accompanied by a desire to be better than the other parent.
This can be toxic when parents take it too far in their one-upmanship and lose sight of what really matters – the well-being of our kids. Yet, it can also bring out some game-changing parenting skills.
If a single dad wants to compete with mum, he will have to up his child-rearing game, which is great news for everyone, most especially the kids who will love dad being all hands on deck.
3. PARENTING BECOMES MORE ENJOYABLE FOR THEM
For couples in an unhappy relationship, parenting can be an unenjoyable and unhappy experience. There are lots of big decisions to disagree over as both parents passionately fight for what they feel is best/right for the children.
Once separated, many of these arguments become null and void as both mum and dad make choices that work for themselves and their kids in their own homes. This is particularly true for ex-couples who parallel parent.
Without the difference of opinions and disputes, single dads start to enjoy parenting and find it rewarding for themselves and their little ones.
4. THEY LEARN NEW SKILLS!
Who doesn’t get a buzz from acquiring new skills?
And learning the single dad ropes is no different!
Take the brilliant story that went viral about divorced father, Greg Wickherst (also known as The Hair Dad), who tirelessly taught himself to put his 2-year-old daughter’s hair in a ponytail. He then learned more complicated styles and went on to teach other single dads. According to USA Today:
“That led to Wickherst to create his own Instagram page and YouTube channel where he posts photos and video tutorials. His most popular YouTube tutorial is how to make straw curls with 421,000 views.”
This a perfect example of how single dadding can open the door of opportunity in many fathers’ lives in a positive and very sweet way.
5. CO-PARENTING SUITS THEM
Shared parenting suits a lot of parents because it allows a breather between parenting stints, which has many advantages.
It can suit single dads (as well as single mums) to have one-on-one time with their children before handing them back to the other parent. They can then use this time to recoup energy, get work done and prepare for the next shift.
Often fathers find this a less relentless, more balanced style of parenting that works for them and allows them to hone their skills as single fathers.
Further reading: 7 Perks of shared custody for single mums.
WHY DIVORCE MAKES GOOD SINGLE DAD’S
6. SINGLE DAD ROLE MODELLING
Being a single dad is a great opportunity to role model to their kids what it is to be a good father. They can also demonstrate how they are just as capable as mum when it comes to parenting and proves that gender doesn’t restrict a skill set.
Dad can cook a great dinner, provide a pukka-packed lunch, help with homework, do all the sound effects in the bedtime story and be there for a cuddle in the dead of night.
Setting a good example and being a sound role model to their kids allows single dads to instil important values that matter to them in their kids.
Further reading: Finding positive male role models for your children.
7. THEY LOVE THEIR KIDS
Nothing shows kids how much you love them like hands-on parenting.
For dads who were grappling with parenting whilst partnered with their kids’ mums, they now have the chance to roll up their sleeves, get involved, and really care for the children they love so much.
Being an integral part of their children’s everyday life and fathering with confidence in a way that works for them will create a strong and lasting bond between themselves and their children.
For single dads who have found their groove, life with their kids is love-filled … and life for the kids is even better!