Single Dads

Tim Jackson —  September 25, 2012 — 4 Comments

In the interest of fairness, I heard back from readers (both males and females) that single dads are also struggling to make it as solo parents. And they’re right. I had no intention of slighting single dads. The fathers out there who are invested, involved, and making their parenting a priority in spite of the obstacles thrown at them are to be championed as well.

Guys who are laying it down for their kids are every bit as much “heroes” in my book.

In the past, one of the obstacles single dads have faced regarding parenting time with their kids has been how the courts have viewed the whole child-custody issue. In a divorce, are the kids better off with their mom or with their dad? That’s the decision the courts have been forced to mediate between opposing parties who either can’t or won’t make wise decisions regarding the well-being of their children. And let’s face it, a husband and wife who couldn’t agree on how to stay married are probably not going to agree on how to raise the kids now that they’re apart. Sadly, the courts are left to decide . . . and that’s messy no matter how it goes down. Everybody—dad, mom, and kids—lose something.

As divorce escalated in our culture, the courts traditionally sided more with the mother as the primary caregiver of the children. However, that’s beginning to change. As things have become more equal in the eyes of the courts, fathers are getting more consideration in the custody issue. Splitting time equally between parents has become more accepted in the courts’ decisions than previously seen.

That trend bodes well for dads who are lovingly involved in their children’s lives, especially when the mom has been the negligent party in the home. I’ve worked with dads who have altered their careers just so they can be more involved in their children’s lives. These dads aren’t deadbeat loser dads. They’re engaged and want to be meaningfully involved in parenting their children well.

These are the dads who don’t “provoke anger” in their kids (Eph. 6:4). Instead, they are about nurturing, training, and teaching their children in ways that honor the God who has called them to be fathers (Deut. 6:5-9).

So when you see these guys out there doing the parenting solo thing with the kids, remember: They need our encouragement and support too.

Those are my thoughts. How about yours? Feel free to share your thoughts and stories as a single dad, about the single dad who raised you, or on how God has encouraged you to reach out and encourage a single dad.

Tim Jackson

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Tim Jackson is married to his college sweetheart, Cole. They have 3 adult children. Tim is the producer for the HelpForMyLife.org website, writes Discover Series booklets on a variety of counseling issues and hosts webinars for RBC Ministries. He's also the founder and president of Still Waters Counseling & Equipping Ministries, PC, a local counseling practice serving individuals, couples and families. When not in the office, you will probably find him up a tree with a bow, in a duck blind or fly fishing on one of Michigan's many rivers.

4 responses to Single Dads

  1. I unfortunately have been divorced twice. Both times I was awarded custody of my boys. I am not the best dad in the world but I try my best. Must first son was 4, my second was was 6 when the divorces took place. Both of my boys are now married, the unfortunate thing is now after 12 plus years with my current wife,she is filing for divorce. Very very unexpected. (I must not have been designed to be married). My son is 11 and I would like to get custody of him also. I have asked my soon to be ex-wife if we can split custody. One week with her then one week with me. We still both live in the same school district. She wants nothing to do with that. She has only let me see our son every other weekend since she left. I am very hurt. I have been praying everyday asking God for direction. Just asking for more people to pray. Thank you for all you do. I have been reading The Daily Bread for years. My soon to be ex and I read it every day together. I think she is going through menopause. She denies any such thing

    In Christ’s love and service.

  2. Ernie,
    Our hearts ache for you, your wife and son. Divorce is always devastating and the ripple effects last for years afterwards. We will be happy to pray for you all during this tragic time and that God’s love and peace in the midst of turmoil will strengthen you for the days ahead. Please continue to try and work through these painful issues (whatever they are) that have brought about the separation and work toward providing the best you can for your son.

  3. I’ve been sort of a single dad for almost six years now. My wife suffered a brain injury, had been in hospitals and nursing homes for over five years and is now living with her sister. She needs 24 hour supervision and cannot be left alone. She knows who I am and who the kids are, but doesn’t remember that we are married or that her two children are hers. She thinks I am her boyfriend and that her children are her niece and nephew.
    My life has been turned upside down. I have felt a disconnect with God, but still try to praise him for what He has blessed us with. It’s been hard; I commute to work round trip for up to 2 1/2 hours. I feel the desire for companionship,but feel inadequate around single people because I am still married.
    Being a single dad and a christian is an extraordinary challenge. I pray for all that are going through it.

  4. Anthony,
    Wow! I can’t imagine the challenges you described. Kind of a single dad’s no-man’s land. You aren’t a single father because your wife is still alive, but her TBA has torn her away from being an active co-parent with your 2 kids and being an engaged wife. You have suffered a death–a loss of the woman you once knew and delighted in. You long for companionship but have none. The aloneness must be devastating at times. I pray God will give you the courage and strength, as you put one foot in front of the other each day caring for yourself and the needs of your children. And may He embrace you with His presence in those lonely times so that you are comforted with His tenderness, because He does care about you, your precious wife, and your children more than you can imagine.

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