10 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Single Dad

Single moms are talked about a lot, but what about single dads? They need support (and some recognition), too! The most recent US Census showed there are over 2 million households with a single dad in charge, making these 10 brilliant brain hacks for the single dad even more important.

  1. You don’t have to feel guilty.

    Single parents, and single dads, in particular, carry around a lot of guilt. You may feel like you failed your children by not giving them two parents under the same roof. You may feel like you aren’t spending enough time with your children or providing for them financially in the way you imagined. Let go of that guilt! You are doing the best you can, and your children see that. All they really want is your love- all the rest is extra.

  2. Make the most of the time you spend with your children.

    Whether you’re doing it all on your own, or sharing custody with a co-parent, your time with your children is precious. Take advantage of any opportunity you are given to make special memories with them. Even playing a board game or going for an impromptu ice cream date is enough to create a lasting memory for your children.

  3. Stay connected.

    Shared custody schedules can be a challenge, especially at first when everyone is adjusting. That’s why staying connected is even more important. Phone calls, text messages, even social media interactions (if your children are old enough) will make a huge difference in their lives. Do your best to make it to their school events and extracurricular activities. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, they’ll remember you were there- and they’ll appreciate it.

  4. Take your time with dating.

    It’s natural for loneliness to set in when you’re a single parent but proceed with caution. The person you’re dating has the potential to become your children’s step-parent someday, so make sure you have fully vetted them before introductions are made.

  5. Keep an eye on your children’s mental health.

    We pay attention to our children’s physical health because it’s visible, but mental health can be harder to manage. Growing up in a single-parent household or in a co-parenting family doesn’t automatically mean your children will suffer from mental health or behavioral problems, but it’s still a good idea to keep the lines of communication open, and promptly address any issues that come up.

  6. Make your mental health a priority, too!

    Single parenthood is HARD, and it’s okay to feel like it is! Men seeking help for their mental health isn’t weak- it’s incredibly powerful! With the help of a licensed therapist, divorce coach, or other mental health professionals, you can thrive as a single dad.

  7. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.

    You’re human, and humans make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and grow. When something negative happens, switch your mindset from “I messed up” or “Why is this happening to me” to “This is a learning experience” or “What is this trying to teach me”. Don’t forget to grant yourself some grace along the way!

  8. Practice self-care.

    Women talk a lot about self-care, but it’s just as important for men. Self-care is not just bubble baths and candles (although dads can enjoy those things, too!). Self-care is anything you enjoy that replenishes your soul. Having a beer with your buddies; going fishing; spending a day out on the golf course; relaxing with a new book; cooking something up on the grill- the possibilities are endless when it comes to a dad’s self-care practices!

  9. Be open with your children.

    Men are often taught from a young age to “man up” and hide their feelings, but your kids need to see your vulnerable moments just as much as they need to see your strength. Talk about your feelings (within reason) with your children. Knowing that their dad has hard moments, but that he learns and grows from them, will help them develop into resilient and compassionate adults.

  10. Be their constant.

    You don’t have to be there physically every day to be a constant in your children’s lives. Staying connected, showing up for the big (and small) things, and consistently reminding them of your love for them are all actions you can take to remain a constant in their lives.

Single fatherhood is a unique experience and one that you can thrive in with the right tools and mindset. Let go of the shame, guilt, and preconceived notions about single fatherhood and embrace it!

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

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Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
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The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

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