The life of single dads today is more complex than it ever has been before. Some of you reading this might not have even imagined the existence of such fathers 30 years ago, and the concept might still be alien to some.
The fact of the matter is that many single fathers have always existed, but simply haven’t been focussed on with the sort of depth and exposure that single mothers receive.
In this guide we talk about:
Single Dads & Obstacles
First of all, in a world filled with hope & optimism for equal opportunities & progression, there are still many equally imbalanced viewpoints that are ignored and swept under the carpet.
This is even more the case when the topic of discussion doesn’t move with the status quo being promoted at any given time. So with that in mind, how educated and supportive would you say that we are as a global community about single dads?
Could it be that as a society we have become so far obsessed with equal opportunities within gender towards women, that we have created somewhat of a parallel paradox against the very issues surrounding men and more specifically single fathers?
The obstacles and issues facing single dads occur because of:
- a lack of communication and discussion.
- some actually stem from deep rooted bias.
- ideologies and prejudices formed over centuries about men in general.
So for a father, his abilities as a sole parent or guardian are brought to the fore and judged a lot more harshly than in other circumstances. Of course a child needs the influence of both parents in their life. However, there is no reason to doubt that in the circumstances where that may not be entirely possible, the dad would not cope with providing the right levels of care.
There is also no reason to cast doubt over whether a dad can be loving, nurturing or caring enough of his child(ren). Even still, for those single dads out there reading this and feeling like they are struggling…That should be okay as well. We should help those fathers who want to be better and not shun them because at the end of the day, it is all about growing, learning and overcoming barriers.
The single dad view – Jay Badenhorst (@dadduty)
“The biggest misconceptions I found with regards to being a single dad, is the belief that the inherent bond between child and dad can never compare to that of a mum, that fathers lack the ability to solve problems on their own and the essential instincts that are vital as a parent are lacking.”
Single Dads & Work
We have all at some point heard those inspiring stories of how hard single mums have worked bringing up their kids, putting food on the table and holding down a job. This next point is to take nothing away from every single mother who has given her all to be the best mum she can be, you should be proud.
With that said, we don’t hear equally as amazing stories about fathers who go through the same struggle. Is it any less of an inspiring story for a dad to be able to achieve the same feats? The pressures are the same but with less help, advice and awareness available, it may not be as easy for single fathers to obtain support with fears of failing & judgement at the forefront of their minds.
Flipping that perspective of work on it’s head, the reality is that the world is still playing catch-up to the thought of a full-time, stay at home single dad. Is it somewhat more demeaning to treat bringing up kids as a full-time job for a man than it is for a woman?
Single Dads & The Law
The laws regarding dads in general are still dated in many countries across the world:
– In Australia the ‘Lone Fathers Association’ was set up back in 1973 and for decades they have been fighting to support and help single dads fight the unjust laws towards them. For example, 90 percent of dads in that country are responsible for paying child support, and the backlash of the law, media and communities in many cases have lead to suicide that remains unreported. Can we reach a time where the burden of financial care isn’t aimed solely at men per se?
– In the UK, the law state that the father registered in the birth certificate has a duty of care to “take control” of the financial requirements of the child. In the case of single fathers who have custody of the child, they may request child support payments from the mother. However, with the pressures circulating around men to provide, it can feel more overwhelming and discriminatory for a man to expect the mother to pay him child support – although the law is clear.
There are fathers standing up and speaking out across the globe about these types of issues and the laws that were created many decades if not centuries ago. Many are dated, stereotypical and do not represent the best and equal interests of child and both parents. More discussion, coverage & news would no doubt help in that.
The legal view – Helen Kay of HMK Legal
“Whilst single dads have the same rights as single mums in terms of the legal right to request flexible working, many feel that there is a stigma attached to asking to go part time and that it will irreparably damage their careers. The workplace culture needs to change so single dads and men in general can feel comfortable making such requests.”
Life of Single Dads & Dating
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So whilst fighting against prejudices, the law and a work life balance, is it a crime for fathers to start dating again? For many, guilt still remains a stumbling block to finding new partners and love at first. Many single dads fear the backlash from perhaps the courts, the mother or being accused of bringing a state of instability in to the child’s life.
However, dating is pretty healthy and should be encouraged. Nobody expects anybody to spend their life alone or hold back because their previous relationship didn’t work out the way it was meant to. Single men with kids still have a lot to offer as partners and can actually become better, courteous and more responsible because of their experiences. This part of their life does not need to reflect on how good of a dad they are to their kids.
While we are on the topic of single dads and dating, these can drum up fears of their own. Confidence, insecurities or even the fact that you may be nervous about mentioning that you are a dad. There is no particularly right time to tell her that you have kids as it does depend on the circumstances, the relationship or even the person you are dating. One things for sure, it will certainly be a talking point but you should be proud and not afraid of social stigma. If your date can not accept that, then no father should have to compromise his duties for another relationship.
Coming to terms with the fact that a child’s needs will not be sacrificed just because a single dad is looking for a new partner is still a challenge for some. Men are not selfish creatures that can be tarred with the same brush universally based on what might be a very small percentage in comparison.
The dating view – Daniel Ruyter of Dadtography
“The thing that surprised me most about dating as a single dad was the effort that it required. I thought dating would be a breeze, now that I was older and wiser. Balancing a personal life, family life and career was a much bigger challenge than I ever expected.”