I know my husband is not a single dad anymore, but it took us one year to move in together and I didn’t see his daughter very often. His daughter, then 4-years-old, used to walk all over him and he didn’t see it. It was driving me crazy. First, I didn’t want to say anything, but I knew this was a recipe for disaster if I didn’t speak up. With my help and support he is now winning the game.

Here are 5 things he had to learn, and every single dad should too

1. Say ‘NO’ & being in charge

If you have your children only every other weekend, single dad guilt can really kick in. Mr K. is always exited to see his daughter, but he didn’t want to upset her and ruin their weekend by saying NO. He always gave her options for trips, activities, movies, food etc. She was the one who was in charge. Slowly but surely, he learnt how to say no and be in charge. His daddy weekends used to be physically and mentally draining, full of tantrums, kicking, screaming and even a few hits.  Don’t forgot that parents are in charge not the kids! As soon Mr K. got this, he gained respect and love from his daughter that he didn’t have before. Btw being in charge doesn’t mean military style parenting.

 2. Kids need boundaries

Following ‘no’, having boundaries is the most important thing your children need, without them they’re confused and don’t know where to stop, what is ok and what not acceptable. Can you imagine our society without boundaries? It would be total chaos and people would do crazy sh** because they would think that’s ok. I establish the boundaries with my step-daughter from day one. I supported him to create a ‘framework’ we want to keep his daughter in, so she understands where the line is and what happens if she crosses it. We have only three rules in the house: Love, Respect and Team work. And you can create your ‘framework’ on these too

3.  Weekends are not just for fun

I get you want to have a great time and don’t want to worry about cleaning, cooking or stuff around your house, but you can make these fun things to do as well. As a bonus you have a chance to teach your kids something good and they will learn more about you and your life. Mr K. used to do only ‘fun’ things with his daughter, but we could see that she had no idea what cleaning is, so how we could expect her to understand why she needs to keep her clean and tidy. The same with cooking, she just assumed this is a hotel and we’re her servants. Get kids involved in the real-life game, they need it! You’re not running a hotel, you’re a dad, they need to respect that and understand it’s hard work.

4. Co-parenting vs two homes two sets of rules

You and your ex might agree on some sort of rules such as no lying, being nice, no sugar after 6 pm. With Mr K. we have certain rules in place in our house and we worked very hard to create it. The ‘framework’ includes daily routine, her chores and the way she can talk to us. But she has different ‘frame’ with her mother.Lately we could see this doesn’t work because she is getting confused, started acting out again and trying to play us. Mr K. is now going to take co-parenting to another level to help all of us including his ex. They might not agree on everything and that’s ok. Just keep in your mind your kids need to respect both of you.

 5. Trust yourself and speak up

Mr K. is great dad, he loves his daughter and was literally heartbroken when he couldn’t see her every day. I can see how this affected his parenting skills and confidence. He was completely lost and didn’t know what to do and where to start. He had to ask me for help and he’s still asking. Deep inside you know what you want for yourself your children! I can guarantee you that things can be done just trust yourself and speak up! If you and your ex are not on good terms, fix it! get coaching, work on your approach and communication.

Thank you for reading

Veronika x 

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