Single Dads & Consistent Words: 5 Things to Avoid

by Matt Haviland

How often do you think about the words you use? Even more:

Do you understand the long-term impact that your words are having on your children?

I was a single father for more than nine years, sharing parenting time with my daughter’s mom. As my daughter has grown and matured, some things have gotten easier. She and I can have more “grown up” conversations and she is becoming more discerning about her parents’ situation and how it has affected her. But I can’t take this for granted.

As I’ve written before, if there is inconsistency in the other home, that makes consistency in your own home that much more important. Of course, consistency comes in many forms, but I’ve narrowed the focus here to the importance of single parents using consistent words. Below are five negatives to avoid. (In a few weeks I’ll be back with five positive habits to pursue.)

Avoid: Emotions getting the best of you

Granted, slip-ups like this are not exclusive to single parents. But I speak from personal experience: our children arouse strong emotions in us like few other things in life. And when conflicts arise that involve your kids—whether you feel undercut as a parent, the children are being used as pawns against you, or you’re left out of important parenting decisions—that’s a time to tune into your emotions and beware. Do all you can to prevent that built up aggression in your heart from translating into words you will later regret.

Avoid: Slamming the other parent

Many years ago, a friend of mine who worked with coparents taught me that children find their identity in both parents. So when a child hears one parent say the other one is stupid, lazy, incompetent or selfish, it’s likely that the child will take on those negative qualities as part of her own self-perception. We all have flaws, and it’s unfortunate that many adults never address their flaws in a healthy manner. Still, as a father who is leading his kids towards adulthood, your job is to set a standard they can follow for the rest of their lives. Don’t let negativity be the main characteristic of your influence on them.

Avoid: Retaliation

We are taught it as children but forget so quickly as adults: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Once again, emotions can get heated, so it’s important to resolve now, when you’re clear-minded, to never retaliate with hostility—even if you’re being verbally assaulted. Whatever the situation may be—and especially if you anticipate a confrontation ahead of time—protect your children from becoming collateral damage and guard your heart (and theirs) prior to the conflict. By doing so, you will provide your children with some of the best life lessons they could ever experience.

Avoid: Gossip

Oh boy, here we go. I’ll just put it this way: going down the gossip path not only smears someone else’s character, but yours as well. I’ve experienced this many times, like the single dad I worked with who would constantly gossip about and slander his ex-wife. Not only did I not want to hear it, but I actually found myself avoiding him sometimes. It’s a habit that can easily grow, become out-of-control, and eventually seep out in front of your kids, on social media, and into other areas of your life. It’s an extremely slippery slope, so nip it in the bud now.

Avoid: Irrationality

Things that are considered irrational lack normal mental clarity or coherence; they aren’t governed by sound reason. But during more emotional moments, they may seem like natural tendencies or reactions. In coparenting, I would consider the following to be irrational: keeping score against the other parent (how many times she has done or not done something), getting even, and impulsive or even damaging behavior (especially behaviors that may land you in legal trouble). I know there can be strong urges toward some of those behaviors, but you simply have to resist.

I know it’s tough, but I also know it’s worth avoiding—or even better, outgrowing—these negative words and habits. Enlist a friend or a professional to help you if needed. Your children need to see a positive example of a respectful, mature dad, even if you’re dealing with big and unbearable issues with their mom.

Read more from Matt at here.

Matt Haviland is the director of Alpha Men’s Center, a division of Alpha Grand Rapids, in Grand Rapids, MI. He is married to his amazing wife, Christy, and is the father of a wonderful teenage daughter. He and Christy are currently in the adoption process as well. Matt has been working with fathers since 2008 and understands just how valuable dads are to their families and communities. A native of Grand Rapids, he enjoys family time, reading, playing golf, and almost all outdoor recreation.

Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.

Slot Dana Slot Luar Negeri Slot Maxwin Slot Thailand Slot777 AyamJP Login Resmi AYAMJP Robopragma Robopragma Robopragma Robopragma CUPANGJP CUPANGJP Slot Server Amerika Slot Server Asia Slot Server China Slot Server Eropa Slot Server Filipina Slot Server Hongkong Slot Server Internasional Slot Server Jepang Slot Server Kamboja Slot Server Malaysia Slot Server Myanmar Slot Server Rusia Slot Server Singapore Slot Server Taiwan Slot Server Thailand Slot Server Vietnam Slot Server Luar Server Amerika Server Asia Server Eropa Server Filipina Server Hongkong Server Internasional Server Jepang Server Kamboja Server Luar Server Malaysia Server Myanmar Server Rusia Server Singapore Server Taiwan Server Thailand Server Vietnam