I am a single dad. I am also a holistic life coach. I have a passion for single-dads because I am a single-dad and the challenges faced by us are as ominous as they are self-defeating. Single-fathers face daunting challenges of access and visitation, communication skill-sets when dealing with a hostile co-parent and how to best conduct themselves while in court.
The last fifty years has seen a veritable explosion of single-dads in American society. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of households headed by a father has increased dramatically – from 300,000 in 1960 to 2.5 million in 2011. Some of these men are sharing custody but a sizable number of them have sole custody.
Within this context, far too many men – black, white, brown, rich, poor and from all walks of life – who want to be a part of their children’s lives face hostile circumstances and even threats of death.
Every day it seems we hear a litany of stories over the news media about single-dads, guys who love their children no more or no less than you or me, getting arrested for crimes against the mothers of their children.
So I took action! I formed a group called Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy and got busy trying to convince every single-dad I could of the folly of using violence to settle disputes with the mother of their children. I was unsure of any progress.
I decided I would use my holistic life coaching skills and emphatic communication skills and offer direct coaching – either directly or through groups – to encourage and equip single fathers on three important outcomes:
One: effective strategies for resolving conflict between themselves and the co-parent. Two: personal achievement skills, because I think it’s important for single-dads to focus not only on their relationship with the child, but also give due diligence to their own becoming.
Through my C.O.P.E. program I coach single-dads to live in a state of confident, optimistic, positive, expectation.
This forms the basis of our coaching mantra: Better men. Better fathers. Better communities!
The third area I coach single-dads on is what I call access and etiquette – the do’s and don’t’s of courtroom appearances. I emphasize simple tips on how to dress for court, how to address the judge and how to self-represent if they cannot afford legal advice.
I share my own experiences from being in court before a judge and from participating in mediation. I am not playing legal expert here; I resource legal advice and consultation to a family court attorney who works with my organization.
I hope to help at least one dad take the high road and to always remember that, when it comes to the children, their eyes are watching us.
For more information on my program visit Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy on Facebook and Eyes on Daddy on Twitter.