It is the first day of the 7th academic week in the third term, the class representative had been called earlier to receive the letters the school had written to parents. Without opening the letter, it was obvious to anyone that the letter was inviting parents to attend the forthcoming Parents and Teachers Association meeting, which was slated for the weekend.
Names were called, alongside surname. Students received their letters with mixed reactions; students who had committed grave offences in the school, or those who were never early to school. Every student received their letter with a different demeanor. Unlike every other student, Tunji received his letter, threw it into his locker, with no intention of giving his dad. If asked why he fails to inform his dad about school activities and events, he rather keeps mute than give a response.
Deborah had just lost her mother to the cold hands of cancer. It had been a tough phase for six years of her life and she had learnt to depend on the affection of her relatives and teachers. At age 15, her dying mother had to enrol her in a boarding school, so her father could take care of himself. Her mother never wanted her children to go through trauma, hence she made sure the children never came home except she had just received a few doses of chemotherapy. It was a rough path. Debbie’s father was busy with caring for his wife, paying bills and working hard, while the children were left in the hands of housemasters during school, and grandma during the holiday.
One cold night, Debbie’s dad drove to her grandma’s house unexpectedly, asked Debbie and her siblings to get their bags, because they would be returning home. They knew something was wrong, they all returned home to a new structure. A home without their mother, but a father who has tried getting over the death of his loving wife: weak and scared of losing his children to some strangers.
John and James are beautiful twins, everyone loved them when they were growing. Like some elderly people say, twins are children trained by everyone. The story of John and James were no different, trained not only by their parents. At age 8, the storm of life hit their parents’ relationship, and it ended with a divorce leaving the two boys in the custody of their father. It has been 7years since their parents divorced, these boys can only but wish there was a change in family.
When asked why, “Our dad does not seem to care about us” is their mantra.
I could go on writing stories of different teenagers who are living with a single dad, for different reasons. Looking at our characters at different levels, they are all teenagers who yearn for the love of their father and parent.
I was sharing with a group of ladies what this series is all about and what I intend to achieve with it, and I understood something from their contribution. Most single dads are men who have been forced by nature to move into a phase that is not natural for them.
A single dad has to be a cook, a nanny, a chauffeur, attend PTA meetings, change diapers, create time for holidays, become very jovial, be a good listener, and lots more, which on a good day some men are not good at this.
While a single dad is bothered about bills, holiday sessions and how he has to pay for your summer classes, the clothes, feeding and lots more, he is also bothered about your upkeep but he might find it difficult to express himself.
He does know that you have started your period because you are already 11years old, but he does not know if it is right to talk to you about it.
Let’s have a good look at our second character, Debbie. Her mum died when she was 15years old, after battling with cancer for six years. After the demise of her mother, her father was greatly affected. He wants to show love to the children, which was what prompted him to drive the children back home. On the other hand, he is becoming over protective, because he does not want to lose his children to strangers.
I read a friend’s post about his dad on Father’s Day, and I realized children should not be judgemental about their parents fault, or flaws.
I am writing this post, so you can practice these tips, and let it become a part of you.
Ways to Cope with a Single Dad
1. Be patient enough to know the back story
There is always an epilogue in every love story. You only know the ones you were told. Have you taken time to ask your dad how he met your mum? How he felt when she accepted his proposal? Why he has decided not to remarry until you leave for college? Why he still wears his wedding band despite losing your mum 10years ago? There are lots of questions that need to be asked if you must know the back story.
Some single dad are filled with regrets, disappointment, love, hatred, bitterness, grief and lots more. Understanding what fills his heart helps you know his struggle and how you can improve your relationship with him.
2. Pray for him
After knowing the back story, what do you do with it? You pray! After my last post got published, I had to read a post I wrote on Fathers’ Day 2018, I mentioned that children should pray for their fathers.
The question is, why?
Fathers who are in the will of God, fathers who love God and are obedient to the ways of Christ, will help you live a great life.
I watched a movie, titled ‘I can only imagine’. A man was so abusive that his wife left him and never returned. He abused his son so much, and was always violent in giving instructions. The young boy grew up hating his father, but he had nowhere to go. Eventually, he left home one day and proposed to never return. Although, he returned, like the prodigal son, and saw that his father had received Christ. Due to his father’s new life, he asked for forgiveness from his son. At the end, love was restored into the family and the boy fulfilled God’s plan.
You should pray for your dad. Pray that bitterness, anger, hatred does not dwell in his heart. Pray that God helps you to love him more, and help you to forgive him, should he have hurt you in the past?
3. Communicate with him
This could be so difficult especially if you and your dad are introverts. Recently, I told my dad to talk to my younger brother more, because I believe he would listen better if my dad gave him some guide on how a man should act, rather than I giving him.
If you are like Tunji, even if your dad is the busiest man on earth, you could still write him a letter.
You can start a conversation by asking how his day went, what time he got to work, if his mechanic would return his car the next day. If you love football as your dad does, then you should talk about ball.
Sometimes, there are not always ‘good times’ to talk to my dad but I like to break rules by just saying something like ‘what is your shoe size, dad?’. This is not because you want to buy it for him, it is just because you care to know.
4. Respect him
Last year, I saw a girl, who should be about 16years old, act so disrespectful to her dad because her mum gives her more money than her dad does. You should not disrespect your dad. I know some situations prompt teenagers to act rebellious to their dad, but you have no right to.
5. Talk to a trusted counsellor
Some things cannot be written in a blog post, even a book on how to improve your relationship with your dad might not help you because you need someone to talk to, hear your story and share theirs with you. This is one of the reasons we have coaches and mentors on Teens Meet Online to help you through whatever you are going through.
On a final note,
The fact that your dad acts like he does not care about you doesn’t mean you should be filled with hatred for people around you. This is why you need to heal up. I hope you find your healing soon.
Have you bought your dad a gift? If yes, share in the comment. If no, you should get it soon.
What do you think about single dads that I haven’t mentioned? Do leave a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.