Pappachinosays header for blog articleAdvice

Parenting SINGLE DAD style

They were all so cute and noodley when I held them for the first time.  Vowing to protect, educate and empower them as I cradled them.

Each one getting their own speach about how dad is going to provide for them, comfort them and teach them all about life.

Now they are 7, 9 and 12.  They’re little balls of stink and noise and questions, soooo many questions and they don’t even listen to the answer!  They just go… “Yep… uh hu… ok.”  Two minutes later… “Hey… Dad.”!

I try to be as middle of the road as I can with them.  I like to think I have a friendship as well as authority figure thing going on.  That’s definitely been tested a few times by each of them in their own way.

Instead of taking the, divide and conquer method when dealing with them, I’ve tried to reinforce independence and reliability on their siblings.  If they can’t figure it out or deal with something each one has to go to the next to find a resolution.  If it doesn’t resolve it’s self or causes an argument then dad jumps in. 

In watching how this played out from time to time (it doesn’t always work out well) I figured out a few tips that will you maintain a balanced relationship with your kids.

Through all this, I have gained the respect of my kids.  I see alot of parents, whether it’s mom or dad, having a hard time creating that finite understanding of authority.  Where what you say goes.

I figured out a few tips to help you get there with those little rug rats.  It came from being tired of constantly having to coddle them into understanding.  I want independence for them not an unjustified sense of deservedness.

So here it is 5 Tips to help parents solidify their authority.

1. Discipline:

Kids need it they strive for it and alot of the time we are doing it wrong.

Ever find yourself threatening punishment to your kids.  Telling them… “This is your last chance”, only to repeat the phrase without following through?

That has to stop.  If you tell them they are going to recieve punishment they need to recieve punishment.  Otherwise you are teaching them that the behaviour is ok because consiquences don’t actually happen or matter.  This eventually leads to an adult that can’t handle adversity.

So follow through on punishments, if the kid flips out that’s ok, that’s them learning how to cope with rejection, dissapointment and failure.  Its better they throw their hissy fits when they are little and at home.  Not when they are 25 getting passed over for a promption at work. 

2. Clean up:

Get them to clean up the spaces they inhabit.  If they have a toy room, game room or art room.  Make them clean and organize the rooms.  The sense of accomplishment you give them is amazing.  They get so proud of themselves when they clean up a space.

If they use a shared space make sure that you have them participate in cleaning that as well.  Get them to clean up whatever part of the mess they may have contributed. 

Help them with this it will show them first hand that everyone needs to do it and ultimately it gives you a chance to teach them how to organize.

Also in shared spaces it’s best to get them to clean up a mess as soon as they are done doing whatever it was that caused it.

3. Chores:

They hate it, they hate you for making them do it and they stomp around huffing and puffing as if the world is ending.  Sounds kinda like us when it’s time to do the dishes no?

It instills discipline, care and a strong sense of accomplishment which translates into a good dose of pride. 

So their rooms should always be tidy, if they can’t walk in it and get to all their stuff, its clean up time and nothing else happens until its done.

Occasionally I get the three of them to do the dishes together making them work together and hold each other accountable.  It’s a good task that promotes unity.

If you’re not all ready I highly reccomend making a chore checklist, that way they can monitor and rate their own progress.  Remember to hand out chores that are age appropriate.  The goal is to build them up and show them they can accomplish what they put effort into.

4. Manners:

I feel like I’ve won on this one, as long as my kids are saying their pleases and thank yous to others.

When we’re at home, manners generally revolve around how they treat each other, how they act at the dinner table and the inflection in their voices.

They are good kids and they do appreciate what they get, they just forget to express it some times.  So i have to remind them to show their siblings appreciation when one does something nice for the other.  Sometimes they even do things to help me out, that’s rare but awesome when it happens.

If you can get them to notice and understand the feeling they are giving off when they talk, meaning, their tone and whether they start with a positive or a negative introduction, then you’re teaching them how to deal and cope with adversity, as well as reducing finger pointing and blaming.  Ideally this puts them in a better position to deal with their emotion rather than have it engulf them.

5. Show them love:

No matter what the situation, argument or trouble they caused, whether you yelled, blew your top and maybe over reacted, you need to find a time when your all settled down to show them you still love them.

We all compete with our jobs, personal lives and obligations to get what we want.  They didn’t ask to be a part of that, you chose to bring them into it and it’s next to impossible to keep your shit together 100% of the time. 

So have a discussion after the fact, let them know why you reacted the way you did, appologize if you did over react and point out the issues that are easy for them to fix and then remind them that you are there to teach, guide and help them.

Most importantly keep in mind that all they want is your time, your affection, dedication and most importantly your love.

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