Single Father’s Help
Fathers who have been divorced, unwed or separated from the child’s mother may face challenges that they were not expecting. Even if the other parent is still involved in the child’s life, becoming a single parent will have major changes as physical and emotional shifts occur.
Both the children and the parent will be affected by the change of living conditions, custody arrangements, and financial adjustments that take place when becoming a single father. Sometimes this can place a strain on the father during the adjustment or if life throws a tough situation to get through.
In the past it was typically thought that only single mothers need help, because it was much more unheard of for a father to raise the children on his own. It was more accepted in previous generations that the children would go to the mother or even the mother’s relatives before the father would take sole custody.
However, through the Single Father’s Movement, a trail has been blazed for helping single fathers being recognized as capable, worthy, dependable and attentive guardians.
There weren’t always resources available for single fathers, which is why we have put together a guide to help navigate what to expect as a single father.
How To Get Help As a Single Father
Help that a single father may need is unique to his family’s situation. In some cases, these resources may not be as readily available as they are to single mothers. It wasn’t always recognized that a single father may need the same or equivalent help as a single mother might need.
Since 1960, the amount of single fathers has been on the rise. As the traditional family is not always “traditional” in this day and age, many fathers have become single fathers. This can be due to any circumstance, whether the single fathers were divorced, never married, separated or widowed.
However, regardless of a child’s family structure or scenario, we must do our best to give all children a leg up in this world. There is an enormous strain on any parent while raising children and those who are the sole provider may encounter additional hardships as they raise their children.
Single parents may need help with day to day expenses or in the event of an emergency. There are many government programs that offer assistance to help the family unit to get through tough times:
- Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)
- Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
- Child Care Tax Credit
- Emergency Food Service Program
- National School Lunch Program
- Summer Food Service Program
The community has a lot of support to offer a single father. Joining groups specifically made for single fathers allows those who have previously been in the position to offer their guidance for those who are currently experiencing being a single father.
A single father can join local or online support groups that can help him with:
- Emotional support
- Parenting support and ideas
- Strategies that others found success with
- A sense of belonging in a community
- Lasting friendships with those who have common situations and experience
How To Be A Great Single Father
As a single father, you may find yourself tasked with many responsibilities and juggling many different roles. Fatherhood can be challenging for anyone and you may find yourself in tough situations or questioning your choices and abilities. However, single fathers are able to raise their children well and create a life of fulfillment while being a great single father.
The transition into becoming a single father can take a toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing and it is important to remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you are struggling to take care of yourself, you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed or unable to provide parenting to the best of your abilities.
If you became a single father due to divorce, be mindful to not speak badly about your ex-wife in front of your children. It can negatively impact them in the long run to hear things being said by their father about their mother. Even if the divorce was not on good terms, try your best to be a good role model for your children through this difficult time.
Remember to charge your batteries when you need to. Single father’s can feel isolated or as if it’s them against the world but you can remember to lean on the support that you have when needed.
Reach out to those around you such as relatives or friends if you need help as a single father. A little help can go a long way for both you and your children and if your support structure is willing to help you, be open and willing to receive help from those around you.
It’s extremely important for single fathers to take care of their mental health. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress or anxiety such as healthy eating and utilizing mindfulness activities can help build a strong foundation mentally. Mindfulness activities that can provide an outlet for a single father to take a step back and relax include:
- Yoga and Stretching
- Keeping a Journal
If you ever feel as though you are overwhelmed with balancing all the areas of your life, that is completely understandable being a single father. There are ways to help you balance different aspects of your life to help you rise to the occasion of being a full time father.
For example, speak with your boss if you find work life is out of balance with your family’s schedule. You may be able to arrange working from home or readjusting your hours to better fit your family’s needs and routine.
Helping A Single Father
Remember, single father’s play a multi-faceted role and balance many different aspects of not only their life, but their children’s as well. Single fathers have a lot of potential challenges to overcome, but there are resources available to assist you such as government programs, mindfulness techniques and support groups.
If you are a single father, know that you are enough. You are capable and able to raise your children and have the ability to raise them well. Your children need a parent and a strong role model in their lives. If you are trying your best, your children will love and respect you for all that you do.
Single fathers can be great dads regardless of their circumstances. Father’s that are up for the challenge of fatherhood can do amazing things for their children. For more information on how to be a great dad, check out our blog Being A Great Dad!