One of the best approaches to being a single parent is to allow the relationship with your child to flow, without being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Medical advisor: Claudia María Moreno Gómez, psychologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
When people talk about single parents, we tend to hear more about single mothers than about single fathers, and there are plenty of statistics to demonstrate this. For example, 6 of every 10 women in Colombia are the heads of their household. But one about men?
There is no official report in Colombia that gives an account for single fathers in the country. But it happens. Whatever the reason may be, fathers also must take on a parenting role without the support of a partner. According to psychologist Claudia María Moreno Gómez, there should be no difference between women or men who suddenly find they must take on this responsibility.
“Fathers first tend to question how they will replace the role of the mother, but more than anything, the most important thing is that they take on their own primary role. There are certain laws of nature, such as love and understanding, that do not have to be expressed through a specific characteristic trait such as gender,” she states.
The advice of Moreno is that a father should never take on the role of a mother or try to replace her natural abilities. The more spontaneous their actions are, the better the relationship will be with their children. This helps prevent a situation from becoming burdensome and turning out to be contrary to their intention, where their role is seen as an obligation and not for what it truly is: an act of genuine, fatherly love between a father and his child.
Don’t give into social pressure
Sometimes, single fathers are subject to social pressures that encourage them to take on the role of the mother; this can be problematic, however. “If the person tries to fulfill those ideals, this is when the most mistakes are made, as they will be pretending to be something that does not come naturally to them,” the expert sustains.
Moreno suggests not being afraid to ask for help if you need it, as people often find themselves in this situation unexpectedly and it can therefore be difficult to get used to. Having a support system of family members or of people who are close to you is therefore very important.
“It’s not the same to be with somebody else who can share this responsibility with you, as doing it alone. This can mark the difference when a man is surprised with a new situation.”
Because of the trust they establish with their children, being a single father may lead the father to want to establish a friendship relationship with them; while this isn’t a negative thing, they should not forget that their role continues to be that of someone who can guide and raise them, and set clear limits and rules.
“As an adult, I am a source of guidance and development, so I must take on and maintain this role, providing my child with guidance at all times,” she adds. Most importantly, affection should always be available to them, allowing emotional aspects to flow naturally for the good of the relationship and for the future of that child and adult•
What if I didn’t want to be a father?
For a variety of reasons, a person may have not chosen to be in a situation where they are a single father. However, once this stage is accepted and their role has been taken, they will understand that being alone with this responsibility has nothing to do with the temporary or permanent circumstances in which they live, and they will learn to value this state.
Is it the same if the child is a boy or girl?
Whatever their gender may be, the relationship should be the same. As our psychologist recommends, of course topics will arise involving their physical growth and development where the father-son relationship will flow better than the father-daughter relationship. In such cases, the suggestion is to ask for parenting guidelines, depending on the case.
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