After divorce, we all know everything changes. For the nearly 13 percent of divorced fathers in this country, that transition is more difficult for some than others. Being a single father is not only about surviving but about thriving. You want to show your child that although life is going to be different, everyone is going to be okay. Children need this reassurance as their parents go through a divorce.
But, many fathers need some help when it comes to learning how to thrive as a single father. If you find yourself in this category, check out these tips to help keep you on the right path after divorce.
Maintain a Routine & Set Rules
While it may be difficult, it’s important to maintain a routine and set rules. Kids need structure, especially after divorce. If it’s a new living situation, it’s more important than ever to establish rules and what’s expected.
Besides setting rules, maintaining a routine is just as important. Kids need a routine when it comes to school, bedtime, activities, and just everyday living. Maintaining routine and setting rules is also a good way to establish authority so that kids know who’s in charge. It can be a confusing time, so knowing what’s expected, what’s planned, and who’s in charge is always a plus.
Spend Quality Time Together
Besides setting rules and having some type of structure, many kids just want to spend quality time with their fathers and know they’re loved. This doesn’t mean an expensive trip or a crazy day at an amusement park. It can be something as simple as a bike ride, playing catch, or just watching a movie together. Spending quality time and feeling loved goes a long way.
Take Time for Self-Care
Taking care of the kids takes a lot of time, but be sure to squeeze in some moments for self-care. If you’re feeling drained and stressed, you may take it out on your kids. But, getting enough sleep, exercising, and making time for yourself can help get more balance into your life and ultimately be a better parent.
Don’t Overcompensate and Buy Affection
Some dads may feel guilty about the divorce and may try to shower children with gifts and expensive outings. Don’t overcompensate for divorce by buying a child’s love and affection. You can show your child they’re loved by your actions, not by what you buy for them.
Don’t be Hostile with Your Ex
No matter how much you disagree, don’t be hostile with your ex. Your children don’t need to see this type of behavior. You don’t have to be best friends, but being civil is the best course of action for everyone. Your children can see that although you can’t be married, you can have a relationship that will benefit them.
Keep the Other Parent in the Picture
If your child’s mother is still around and there is a healthy relationship to be had, be sure to keep her in the picture for your children. They should still have a relationship with their mother even if they are not living together. If it’s possible, you should support your child in having this relationship.
Beware of Social Media
If you have teenagers who may be on social media and may have access to what you post, you’ll want to be careful not to slam your ex. You don’t want your children to see anything harmful about their other parent.
Also, be careful what activities you post when you’re not with your child. You don’t want to appear irresponsible or be seen with a date if you haven’t quite gotten to the point of introduction to your children just yet.
Redefine Family Traditions
While the family traditions you used to have when you were married can no longer happen, it doesn’t mean you can’t create new ones. Kids may be sad that some of their old activities aren’t what they used to be, but getting them excited about new ones can help fill that void. Get them involved with planning and with all the details. It will not only help to redefine family traditions but is also a great way to spend time together.
While it can take some time to get adjusted, it is possible to thrive as a single father after a divorce. There may be some trial and error, but in the end, you’ll get into a groove in your new role, and both your children and you will benefit.