Updated: Jan 6
One of the most challenging transitions for a man is becoming a bachelor parent. Specific adjustments and feelings of pain that will come up include grief, anger, hurt, loneliness and loss of a partner parent. It can be a tough road.
However, you need to know that you are not alone! There were 2 million single fathers in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and about 40 percent of them were divorced.
Adjusting to a new reality is truly a major life-changing task. Many problems will occur, but no matter how difficult they may seem, they are not an impossible task to solve. Children of single parents can turn out to be happy, successful and well-adjusted people.
It’s important to remember that the path is also rewarding! All that is required is the right attitude, a good support system, and lots of love to give. Your children love you and want to spend time with you. Be thankful they are a part of your life, and give back to them with your time, attention and love!
Here are 3 steps to take that can help make the transition easier to becoming a bachelor parent.
Step 1: Communication
You have to understand that the other parent still has a role to play. Despite everything that may have transpired with your spouse during your marriage, you still share a child, and their well-being takes priority. Work at being civil with one another. It’s key to keep an open channel of communication between you and your ex.
Your new role includes sharing the well-being of your child, so keep the communication open and friendly, whether it’s through phone calls, texts, e-mails, or the mediation of friends and relatives.
Your actions will influence every aspect of your child’s life, so keeping the peace for your child’s sake is important. When you and your ex constantly fight, your children feel that stress and negativity.
Another thing to remember is to refrain from bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children, because he or she is your child’s parent too. Keep a positive attitude. Your child must not be put in the middle of any conflicts you may have. Remember, the children are not responsible for the relationship between you and your ex. Be a supportive parent; work at making your relationship positive and building self-esteem. You are the role model he/she will look up to.
Step 2: Plan
You are now possibly living on one income and two households, instead of
one income and one household! The financial strain is real, and adjustments will have to be made. Start with knowing what income sources you have. Then determine what expenses you have.
Make a financial plan to create security so you can make wise decisions for all your financial needs. You will have to make adjustments to accommodate. With a plan, you will know what can be done and you will relieve a great part of your stress.
Build a support system
Becoming a bachelor parent can lead to feelings of isolation. No matter how strong you are and how much you have achieved, you will heed to build a support system. Whether it's someone to watch the kids while you run errands or simply someone to talk to when you feel overwhelmed.
You will need to find reliable people you can trust. Look to family, close friends or other parents and community organizations. Reach out for information for you and your child as well. You don’t need to do this alone!
Becoming a single parent can get tough at times and there is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.
Maintain a daily routine
Create routines. Try to schedule meals, chores, bedtimes, and other family functions at regular hours so that your child knows exactly what to expect each day.
A consistent routine will help your child feel more secure, help you feel more organized, and days will run much more smoothly. Children feel far less stress when they know they can count on a consistent routine.
Step 3: Heal
Take time for yourself and have fun
It is especially important for you to take time for yourself. A divorce brings an emotional crisis that you must address to begin your healing process. You are important to both you and your child, and you can only do a good job of taking care of your family if you take care of yourself as well.
Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children. Even if it's something as simple as reading a book, soaking in the jacuzzi, or having a chat with a friend, setting aside a little personal time will give you a chance to refuel your body and mind. This will help you form a strong foundation for good, mental health.
Since your children are dependent on you, it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility. You must be strong in order to provide security and support for your children.
Taking personal time will allow you to come back home with more energy, appreciation, and patience than you had before you left - it will make you a better father!
Move past the guilt
It is common for single parents to go on a guilt trip after a divorce. Single parenting poses several questions in the mind of an estranged spouse and can cause fathers to feel guilty about the time they don't have, or the things they can't do or provide for their children.
For your sense of well-being, it is essential to focus on what you can accomplish and on the things you can provide. This includes the love, attention and comfort you have to provide for your family.
Find the fun things to do and be sure to develop an open communication between you and your child. Express the truth in a simple, positive way, and be supportive in all you do.
For yourself, accept the situation and work through your feelings. Perhaps this is a good time to contact a therapist who can help you overcome feelings of rejection and loss. Do not dwell on the past.
Instead look to the future and create the kind of home you want to have – one of happiness and loving attitudes. You have the ability to create a loving home and family.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and demands of single parenthood. On top of that, you may be experiencing the pain of divorce. In spite of all of your feelings, it's important to maintain a positive attitude, since your children are affected by your moods.
Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. If you're feeling sad, it is okay to share some of your sentiments with your children but let them know that they are not the cause of the problems and that good times lie ahead for all of you.
Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Re-discover and re-define your family values. This will produce a much more stable home environment.
Take Control of Your Future
When you consider divorce, or if you know someone who is contemplating divorce, one of the biggest realities for those in the divorce process is the financial settlement and financial analysis post-divorce. Get the assistance of Kimberly Surber, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®.
Kimberly provides step-by-step guidance on matters related to divorce. With a wide range of experience and expertise related to divorce issues, Kimberly will simplify the process and provide much-needed clarity in areas such as long-term tax consequences, asset, and debt analysis, dividing pension plans, continued health care coverage, stock option elections, protecting support with life insurance, and much more.