Thursday, September 11, 2008

Resource for Single Fathers

Men and grieving -- should they or shouldn't they? Is it a sign of weakness if they do? What about grieving in front of their sons? Is that setting a bad example? Men have been debating this for quite some time. There are some widowers I know who won't shed a tear -- "I want my son to be tough," they say. Others are freer with their emotions, "I want them to know how to handle emotions." My opinion? I firmly believe kids need to see their dads cry and be emotional and work out their feelings.

In book The Complete Single Father, written by Michael Shimberg and Elaine Fantle Shimberg (2007, Adams Media), the authors write, "There's no time limit for grieving...our culture, unlike many others, doesn't have specific rituals for handling grief...forget the myth that says 'men don't grieve.' They grieve alone because they thinking it isn't manly to show emotions...Let your kids know you're hurting too. Otherwise, kids suffer in silence, thinking it's wrong to cry or show your feelings...Your kids depend on you. This is no time to start drinking to forget or start using drugs, over-eating, etc....You may feel anger for being left alone, abandonment (she was the one who kept track of birthdays and social events), and absentmindedness. Be especially careful driving...Watch for depression in your kids (and yourself)...Don't let others remove her things until YOU are ready. They may think they are helping, but you have to be the judge when you're ready...It's not unmanly to seek counseling for yourself and your kids as well."

The book also includes information on:

* Communicating effectively and showing affection
* Making your house or apartment a home
* Remaining consistent while juggling each new day
* Coping with teens
* Balancing work and parenting
* Handling special circumstances involving widowers
* Celebrating holidays, dealing with extended family, and maintaining friendships
* Dating again, raising daughters, cooking foods that kids will eat, fielding common childhood maladies, and more

This is a terrific book for single dads and comes with accompanying website where you can submit questions to Michael (who is a single dad through divorce has has two young children, 5 and 7).

(I'm trying to see if Michael will answer some of your questions in a future post. Feel free to comment with questions and I'll pass them on. Stand by...)

Until next time,

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