Tailing off part one of this topic, we can reiterate the fact that there are many traps single fathers can fall into. These are just a few more examples, like loss of identity and temptation.Find encouragement that though you may have stumbled into any of the ones listed, there is a way out and the ability to stay free once and for all. Let’s dig a little deeper…
1. Loss of Identity
To the single father who may have recently lost his marriage and/or children– a lifestyle that seemed unbreakable– this can be a crucial time to regaining any sort of foundation. If, in fact, you are coping with a loss of identity as a man, husband, provider, or father, now is the best time to begin the rebuilding process. Begin necessary steps such as growing in your faith or surrounding yourself with a strong support system. Stay in open communication with your children. It only takes a few loving words from our sons or daughters to pump life back into us! Know that you are an invaluable part of their life, whether they live with you full time or not.
2. Sexual Temptation
Billboards. Magazines. TV ads. Clothes (or lack of!). Sexual temptation is one of the forefront battles men face continually. Wisely set firm standards for our personal life. If inappropriate sexual thoughts are left unaddressed, small temptations can become larger snares down the line. Even seemingly casual surfing on pornographic websites can cause long-term disasters and addiction. Make the necessary changes now to abstain from sexual temptation later. Set the bar for your children so when they encounter the same struggles, you can lead them through it. Our children learn from watching us and modeling our behavior, even if they don’t know the full details. Be the standard for how your son should treat a woman and for your daughter on how women are worthy to be treated.
“Set the bar for your kids so when they encounter the same struggles, you can lead them through it.”
3. Mismanagement of Time
I remember when the term microwave society first came out. Now we don’t even have the patience for that- we want microwaves on steroids! If the average parent already struggles to effectively balance daily life tasks, how can a mom or dad who is carrying the workload of two stand a chance? Perhaps you were thrust suddenly into single parenthood and you are trying to figure up from down, but the world keeps moving on anyways. Eventually, life does tend to back off for a bit, leaving a great opportunity to get your bearings back and recalibrate yourself. Don’t try to do it all at once- a little here, some over there. Make a list of REALISTIC goals and prioritize them, starting with the most urgent. Just like any lifestyle change, it will take effective planning, discipline, and yes…time. After establishing your core priorities and timing, stick to your routine as firmly as you can and cut out as many distractions as possible. Please hear me- I am not saying cut all fun out too. Be sure to add those special times in with your children. You all will come out ahead when time gets balanced out a bit more.
Though your troubles may be new to you, find joy knowing that these tests can lead you to a greater place of strength and fatherhood- if you apply the right tools along the way to overcome.
SOUND OFF: How do you avoid these traps?
Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the co-founder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit.