Just because you and the mom are not getting along does not mean your children should suffer. Don’t be missing in action. Be in action and never missing. These are the first things that I have decided to get a grasp on as I face this new part of single fatherhood.
1. Don’t get into an arms race with your ex: This sort of goes back to not being a Disneyland Dad, but don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep up with all the things your ex is buying or doing. Yes, you might hear “I’m so BORED!” enough times to make you want to insert sharp sticks in your ears, but this will allow you to spend quality time that doesn’t involve piles of money and unlimited gadgets. It’s not a contest between you and your ex. Indulgence will only create entitled, ungrateful brats. You don’t want that and neither does anyone else who deals with your kids.
2. Let your kids get dirty: This applies to sons and daughters. Let their mom be the one who freaks out about dirt on the carpet. But you’re a dad…a former boy…and we don’t care about mud tracks or knee scrapes or dirty faces or messy hands. When my kids ask if they can stomp in a puddle, I always say yes unless we’re on the way to church or some other respectable place. A few weeks ago, we went to have dinner on Clearwater Beach. The wait was an hour, so we go outside and right away the kids ask if they can play in the sand. “Absolutely!” I said. Well, playing in the sand became rolling in the sand which turned into two filthy kids. Years from now, they won’t remember what they had for dinner that night, but they’ll always remember Dad letting them get dirty before dinner.
Read the column from last week here:The Dad Chronicles: Married Dad Headed To Single Dad
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