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Good Dads: A Look At Positive Co- Parenting
One Divorced Father's Story.
1 out of 3 children in the U.S. live without a father in the home.That's Approximately 15 million children.(SOURCE:U.S.Census Bureau) These stats are alarming. Figures like these are not pleasant. While some fathers check out completely after divorce,others are clear they will remain a part of their children's life regardless of the geographical location.
While some fathers play a major role in their children's lives during their marriage; for others it takes losing the marriage to be clear about the level of involvement they want to have in their children's life after divorce. Tom Matlock ,an investor and father of two, quit his job and move to Boston to be closer to his two children. He recounts part of the experience."For two years I didn't have a job.I went from corporate titan to sitting on the floor with Seamus on my lap surrounded by mothers and toddlers singing silly songs.The S.A.H.D.(Stay At Home Dad) had yet to be come commonplace. Some mothers on the playground initially looked at me with some skepticism.However, when they saw me passionately chase my kids around the playground structures,they grudgingly accepted me as just another diaper changing parent." (Source:NYC.Times)This story is not uncommon with fathers who may at first decide that providing for their children is first. When divorce happens they are left to reevaluate what is most important and some decide that being present in their children's life is first.
A look at single, divorced and nontraditional co-parenting
Roughly half of all american marriages end in divorce and some studies suggest 60% of those splits involve children. According to an article written by William Marsigilio and Kevin Roy of New York Russell Sage" For decades the USA has seen the evolution of the meaning of fatherhood. This definition went from the ability to support their family financially, whereas contemporary expectations include men's direct involvement with his children."
The men in my life; partner,brothers, and uncles do an admiral job of co parenting. For example, one of my brothers, who was a single father for years. He had his kids over on weekends, went to school functions, welcomed his children in his home when their mother was finishing college, and is still in constant communication with his children. My partner was a single dad for years.
He made huge sacrifices to put his three children through college. He communicates regularly with two of his kids that have taken jobs out of state. My ex and I have a good relationship, our son lives with him. Our son has the flexibility of living with either parent. it's nice. My mother was a single mother of four. Her brothers were a constant presence in the lives of her children. And when my older brother became unruly my uncles were there to discipline him. They were there for good times and laughs as well. We are all very fond of my mother's brothers.
Some Characteristics of a Good Dad
Here is a list of characteristics of a good dad.
A good father
- considers fatherhood an honor and a privilege and a lifetime commitment
- believes he plays an important role in the lives of his kids
- values input from his children's mother and speaks well of her
- puts his kids needs first practices positive parenting
- enjoys spending time with his kids
These are some of the key attributes that good fathers display.
Effective co -parenting begins with cooperative parents who understand what is at stake. The well being of their children. When that is established then the journey can begin to heal the family unit. Children respond to stability and consistency so the parents must be willing to exhibit those characteristics as well. I have outlined other factors for effective co-parenting.
- Clear Boundaries-parents understand which areas are safe to work with in, for example they understand that homework and t.v. time are up for discussion with the other parent and not who the other parent is dating.
- Predetermined Schedules-they have set up a schedule that works for everyone and they live by that schedule. For example,dad knows its his turn to pick up Jimmy from basketball practice, mom's at work.
- Willingness to Be Flexible- effective co-parents are flexible they understand unforeseeable events and that they may need to exercise some patience with the other parent.
- Defer to One Another for Child Care- it is a common courtesy to ask the other parent to care for children before calling a babysitter.
- Basically Agree- effective co parents agree on major issues such as education,health,and spiritual upbringing. They negotiate successfully on minor issues such as play dates,parties,and other social events.
- No Effort to Manipulate- They do not use gifts or money as bargaining chips to win their children over or turn one against the other parent.
- Talk to One Another About Schedule Changes- if something comes up effective co parents are excellent communicators.They talk to each other about those changes and make needed adjustments in their schedules to accommodate these changes whenever possible.
- Their Children Think They Get Along Pretty Well- there is a general consensus among the children that their parents got on well. These parents have a healthy respect for the others views even if they do not agree with everything.
- Are Able to Attend School and Extra Curricular Events Without Tension -they can attend school functions without drama. They are aware of the importance of their presence for the sake of the kids.They put the children's needs first.
- Recognize Each Other as Significant Influences in Their Kid's Lives- They understand the value of both parents being in their children's lives.They have formed a healthy alliance for that purpose, it takes work.However, they know the rewards are greater than the sacrifices.
Single Dads on Co Parenting
Single dads for me has meant unwed fathers. The definition has been extended to newly divorced fathers.I have chosen to take a look at the former.I have had the pleasure of watching single men rear their children and I admire their efforts.I decide to probe deeper into this phenomenon for evidence of other single men's experiences. I find their voices are important. This father talks about the shift he made upon rearing his daughter. John ,a plumber,bought a house so that he could have custody of three year old daughter, Tonya." A lot of things have changed when I became a father,especially a single parent.But it was a change for the good. Because I would be doing things that I probably shouldn't be doing, if I didn't have a child.It put me in perspective.I was no longer living recklessly,so to say.I was thinking more into the future. I became a whole better person from having a child and being a single father. I'm more of an understanding person and a more thoughtful person as far as thinking of others is concerned."
Are You For or Against Nontraditional Co-Parenting
Non Traditional CoParenting
Non traditional co-parenting is defined as unmarried,extended family,gay parents, surrogate mothers,etc. It is any combination of above couples the key is that these couplings get together with the focus of rearing a child. They are parents in the non-traditional sense.I have provided an expert from an article written by Roberta Coles. This except comes from her interview of ten fathers.One of the interviewer's name was Richard,a black gay father.
"Just to go see a movie ,it's hard getting a date. There are a lot of gay men around here who say, Oh,I 'd love to have children some day. That would be just wonderful. But when it comes to face the reality and the commitment issue,they don't want to deal with it.I tell people right away that I have a son;if they don't want to be involved with that part of my life,then they really don't want to be involved here,so why hide it."
It is clear that the dating scene changes after children still this father is clear about who is first.His son, in my mind,he is a good father.
Great Quotes from Good Dads
I have chosen a few quote by famous good fathers .I hope you enjoy them.
- Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe.How committed are you to winning?How committed are you to being a good friend?To being trustworthy?To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate,a good role model?There's that moment every morning when you look in the mirror:are you committed or are you not?-Lebron James
- When one has not had a good father one must create on- Friedrich Nietzsche
- I think I am a good father but that's taken a lifetime of experience-Mike Oldfield
- A good father believes that he does wisely to encourage enterprise,productive skill, prudent self denial, and judicious expenditure on the part of his son.-William Graham Sumner
Last Words On Good Dads
Single,divorced,or nontraditional all these fathers are good because they showed up . They made changes in their life to be an important part of their child's life. Statistics can be daunting and they do reflect what is happening in America. I find it just as important to put a voice to the few good men who are willing be present and fully participate in the upbringing of their children.They should be recognized and respected for their contribution to the lives of their children and the many generations that will come behind them.