Whether you are recently divorced or have just had a child with a woman you are not married to or are separated from, its tough being a single dad. Regardless of the reason you and the child’s mother are no longer together, you should not let your relationship (or lack thereof) with the mother affect the relationship that you want with your child. A child needs his or her father in life, and should always have someone to depend on, look up to, and trust.
Many single fathers find themselves a little lost when they first start out as a single dad. Whether you are a brand new dad trying out fatherhood for the first time, or you are recently divorced from your wife who handles more of the childrearing responsibilities in your relationship, you might be unsure how to move forward with your relationship with your child. How do you transition to this new life? How can you be a good dad?
Dads Are Positive Role Models
You’ve taken a first big step by accepting your fatherly role in your child’s life. Your child is going to look up to you as a role model and a person who has all the answers. That is why it is important to be nurturing, supportive, and positive when communicating with your little one. Positive reinforcement of good behavior and giving out praise and compliments when your child acts responsibly, smart or properly is a good way to encourage growth and curiosity.
Make Rules for Your Child, And Stick To Them
You will need to teach your child the importance of following rules, and that there are consequences for breaking them. But your child will not respect your rules if you inconsistently enforce them. If you decide to make a rule, you need to stick to it. For example, if bed time is 8:30, letting your child have “just 5 more minutes!” can gradually turn into a half an hour, then an hour, and before you know it your child will have no set bedtime.
Plan Activities That You Can Share And Enjoy Together
You want to build a strong relationship with your child, and it won’t happen overnight. You’ll need to work at it. It is important to spend quality time with your child building memories together. Planning activities that are age-appropriate and fun will make a lasting impression on your child, which he or she will remember fondly throughout life.
For example, if you have a very small child, he or she might not remember much of what you do together, but the things you do together will set a stage from which your child can grow and learn. It is important to focus on activities for small children that help them develop and learn. A few ideas include attending child-parent playdates, reading and sharing picture books with your small child, and playing with toys with your toddler while talking. These activities will help your child learn language and interpersonal skills, all while having fun.
For elementary aged children, it is important to ask questions about what’s going on in your child’s life, to answer questions that your child might have, and to engage your child in learning and growing. This is a good time to teach your child about taking care of him or herself. You can teach your child about hygiene, good eating habits, the importance of an active lifestyle, manners, responsibility and the importance of following rules, all while enjoying each other’s company.
As children become older, it is easier to do more adult-type things with them. For instance, a toddler will not appreciate a hands-on museum the way a 9-year-old would. A pre-teen might think childish games are lame, but would think going to the movies or an amusement park would be cool.
Contacting A South Carolina Family Law Attorney
If you are interested in being a father and having an active role in your child’s life, you will need to enforce your rights as a father. Contact the family law attorneys at Sarji Law Firm, LLC. Our professionals can help you fight for your rights as a father, or can help you become a single father either by assisting you with a divorce filing or by helping you establish paternity. Please call us today at 843-323-4341.