Blogs by Brian S. Pratt
Being a Single Dad
10/24/2007 10:13:11 AM
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--One Father's thoughts
Whenever I tell someone that I am a single dad, more than likely they say, "That must be tough". While on the surface being a single dad could seem a task that would surely suck the life from you, I find instead that it is rather easy going and very rewarding.
I think what makes it so is the effort I have put into my kids early on. Back when my wife and I were still together, I had the role of bread winner and homemaker. My ex-wife did little to help out. Case in point, one time the boy opened and spilled a packed of Cool-Aid on the carpet and it was waiting for me to clean up when I got home from work.
Boundaries were tested. Oh yes they were. My kids didn't want to follow the rules, they wanted to act up in the store, in effect, to make my life miserable to get their way. So my response to that was punishment. You can't be afraid to punish your kids, not even in public.
About Punishment- I was a strong believer in spanking when I first became a parent. But I found that it didn't work as affective as other methods. And keep in mind that different children require different methods. If sent to their room, my boy wouldn't care while my youngest would cry and scream. I found that taking things away from one worked good, but not with another. Putting in corner? One daughter would laugh because she thought it was funny. So I observed how they reacted and modified the punishment accordingly.
My kids know that when I say something I mean it. They know that if we are in the store and they act up, we leave and sit in the car in complete silence for awhile. Any speaking, crying, or other types of disturbances would only prolong the duration. You don't need to hit to get your point across. After several times of this, my kids never acted out in the store again.
Respect is something I've tried to teach kids. Of course, if I don't live it, they don't believe it. So I give everyone respect, don't talk bad about anyone in front of them, and have lengthy discussions with them when they disrespect another. Stupid is a four-letter word in my home.
I put in effort when they were young, and am reaping the benefits now. It only takes a tweaking here and there to get them on the right path. Once in a while it takes more, but not much.
If you don't want your kids to swear, treat the opposite sex badly, think it's okay to be violent, then don't have that in your home. If you watch Jerry Springer, MTV, or other media avenues in which the language is constantly being perhpas you should rethink your priorities. Is that show so important that you'll risk your kids ending up that way? Unless you don't care how your kids act of course. Some parents don't, and I teach my kids that too.
Being a successful single dad is hard and being lazy with them is not an option. I'm a deplorable housekeeper and my home is never immaculate. But my kids act well and respectful to others. They slide occasionally but I see that as an opportunity to do some tweaking and be there for them.
I enjoy my family and love my kids. Sorry if this sounded a bit preachy, but I believe what I wrote and hope that by so doing, I can let others know of my successes which may in turn aid them in their journey as a single dad.
First Rule of Parenting: Don't get mad!
Second Rule of Parenting: Be a Parent not a Friend.
Third Rule of Parenting: Be Consistent. You say it, you
Fourth Rule of Parenting: Be there for them. Don't force
them to go to friends for
advice by turning them away
when you are busy.
Fifth Rule of Parenting: Relax. It isn't that bad.
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