By Julia Renick, Guest Writer
Cooking, cleaning, running the kids to soccer practice, bath time, bedtime. When hearing these kinds of obligations, most people think of a mother. That is not always the case. Sometimes it’s a dad who has to take the reins and handle those jobs. Single dads have been given the reputation that they cannot raise a child sufficiently without the help of the mother. My father faces this problem often and strongly disagrees.
Being a single dad has a lot of obligations, the same as any single parent has. The difference is that fathers have to do all the things that any parent has to along with the stigma that comes with it. Just like most situations, there are advantages and disadvantages. William Renick explains, “The hardest part of being a single dad is making sure all your kids stay on the right path and sometimes watching them make missteps… making the wrong decisions. The best part is my kids. How much I love them, how much I get to watch them grow up, and their successes in life.” Being a single father of five children has been difficult for him, but he says it is the most rewarding thing he has ever done.
There are many other misconceptions about dads caring for their children single-handedly. The first reason is the circumstances that lead to the situation in the first place. Often, the father must take care of the child because the mother is deceased or not fit to be a guardian, rather than a co-parenting plan that is at least fifty-fifty. Another man expressed how upset he was about the assumption, because he believes that both parents are very important in raising a child. Malcom Roan, 32, a single father of a 4-year old boy expresses how offensive this expectation is. “People are afraid to ask if my child’s mother is still alive,” he said. “It seems like a morbid curiosity and follow-up question sometimes, as if that is the only reason a single dad exists.”
A lot of mothers have the concern that a father cannot do the same things that a mother does. A few of those worries are brushing their daughters’ hair and being able to provide a strong female figure in their life. Another worry is being able to teach their sons a submissive way to behave in situations that would motivate them to act aggressively. A great deal of dads beg to differ. Many of them, including my father, have to help their young daughters in ways such as braiding their hair, or in the beginning of adolescence, and encouraging her to be able to confide in him when they have any sort of issue. If a dad can accomplish that, why wouldn’t he be able to show his sons the same care and teach them to stay calm when is it necessary in a situation? There is no difference in being able to teach a child these skills, whether a mother of father prepares them for it.
This issue often goes under the radar and isn’t getting the same attention as the issues such as gender equality, net neutrality, and the other political debates in 2018. This does not change the prejudice of the problem. Any present dad deserves as much praise as a mom does. I would not be the person I am without all the lessons and other skills that my dad has taught me. The children who are solely raised by their father are fully rounded people, with or without a mother.