Parenting: a guy's perspective

I had a meeting the other day with the MD of a well-known advertising agency. I guess he’s in his late thirties or early forties and he recently became a single dad.

He came across my columns and mentioned how “interesting he found them”. The reason I raise this is because he made an interesting point about how he battled to find appropriate literature about raising kids from a man’s perspective, that was also written in an easy-to-read format.

“The only place we guys can discuss parenting or get a guy’s perspective is at the pub, chatting about it under a fun pretence after a couple-a-beers,” he said to me.

I realised that for the average guy, there aren’t that many options open when you’ve suddenly been thrown into the single-parent deep-end of the pool. And looking at some of the posts by single dads on this site, it's clear that some of us battle with the emotional aspects of parenting, and of more concern, acknowledging, the pain, trauma and fear of becoming a single parent. I think most single dad’s whether they were married before or not, at some point, feel “screwed over” by the mom.

Even more of us probably feel so overwhelmed by the responsibility and reality that it’s easier to hand the kid over to the new girlfriend, or grandma or whomever. But, things are changing. Since I began writing this column, I’ve met several single dads who are showing a surprisingly mature response to parenting. I find guys asking me questions about my experiences that I’d usually be discussing with my female friends. I think as with all things, the wheel is turning.

As women become more independent and occupy more high profile positions in business, men are being forced, some kicking and screaming, others quite willingly, to step up to the plate and be involved and responsible parents. Reading the more emotional posts by men on these columns, about how they are deprived from seeing their kids and how “unfair” the women are. You really do need to understand that it just isn’t real.

It might seem like the world is against you, and it's so unfair etc etc. The truth is you will only get what you want, when you are ready to deal with it. Once you understand that your love and bond with your child can transcend any negative energy from a woman or anyone else, you will get your wish. Don’t get hung up on the negatives life is too short and kids grow up too fast.

Do you think gender roles are changing? Should there be more "single-dad" literature available?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams
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