After working with men for over the years I’ve realized that no matter how hard they work at being wonderful single fathers, there are myths that surround them, and they don’t seem to cease.
I want to shed light on the 3 biggest myths about single dads with the hope of helping someone out there who may not have the other side of the story.
We’ve all heard this first one before and let me say right here and now just how untrue that statement is. In fact, in over 10 years of being a divorce coach for men, none of the fathers I have known were “deadbeat dads.”
To be honest, most of my clients are not only paying child support (and oftentimes spousal support on top of that), but they also wind up paying even more than their share. Yep, I’m going to go there. Dads are often made to feel guilty about the divorce and the changes in the financial status of the family, therefore, will oftentimes spend more money on their children on top of the child support they are already paying.
The second myth is about how at dad’s house there are no rules, and he gets to be the fun parent. Mom gets to be the disciplinarian.
Why is it that people paint this picture of all hell breaking loose at the single dad’s house?
Fathers have boundaries and rules no differently than households run by mothers. They do homework, dinnertime, chores, bedtime, etc. It’s no different than any other household.
Most fathers I work with— who are co-parenting with their ex, do their best to keep things very similar to their other home to maintain stability for their kids. Children adjust better if both parents can have similar rules and boundaries because children thrive on consistency. They like to know what the rules are because it helps them understand the consequences of their behavior, and it also reminds them that their parents are there as a safety net.
Society has convinced people that men are not up to the task of raising children. If you end up in divorce court fighting for the right to see your children and be involved in raising them, you may feel like the court thinks that fathers are incompetent. It may seem that the courts even defer to women and act like fathers couldn’t possibly raise their children on their own.
Part of the problem is that modern entertainment continues to portray fathers this way.
Think about the father figure in many TV sitcoms. These men are often shown as people who can barely figure out their own lives, who make numerous astounding mistakes, and who are unfit to raise the kids. Time and time again, the mother must sweep in to save the day.
Now, the trouble isn’t that the court is thinking about the idea of a sitcom dad when making decisions, of course. Rather, the issue lies in the fact that society just accepts and even expects this on a deeper level. That expectation is both reflected in and perpetuated by sitcoms, movies, and other types of entertainment.
As a result, the first thing that many people think about single fathers or post-divorce fathers is that they must be frazzled and unfit to parent on their own. This is certainly not an accurate portrayal at all, since most fathers are terrific parents.
As fathers who were raised without a father demonstrate, being a parent offered them the opportunity to be the father that they never had. It motivated them to bond with their sons and daughters and heal them from painful childhoods.
Many men raised by single mothers I’ve worked with have shown the same impressive tenacity and dedication as mothers. By loving their children so deeply, they also stop letting their past define them.
This is not only false but very hurtful to fathers as well. Many of my clients struggle when their kids are not with them. Going home to an empty house is just as difficult for them, and they worry the same way mothers do when their children are away.
It’s a ludicrous idea because most single dads care deeply about their children and think about them just as often as mothers— especially when physically separated. Society has caused many people to think otherwise because men usually don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve, suffering in silence when their kids are away.
In summary, single parenting is never easy and there are always a few bad eggs, however, most single dads are doing the best they can with their set of circumstances and raising happy and healthy children. Instead of judging and being patronizing towards them, let’s offer them support and uplift them.
So, the next time you hear someone speak badly about fathers, speak up and remind them there’s always more to the story!
The Divorce Coach For Men