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Over 200 top tips and words of advice, to help you really get the most from the time you spend with your kids
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Searched for: 10/28/2021 - Found: 7/30/2008 to 8/5/2008
Cautionary Tales For Children
Wonderful witty poems great for reading to your children. The stories and rhymes will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Research has shown how important YOU are to your children and how as a dad the things you do, and keep on doing, really count, whether you live with them, or you are a single dad and are only able see them once a month, once a week or more, what you do really matters. This site is dedicated to all dads but will be of special relevance to the single dad. Remember, you are half the reason your children exist and they need you whether you live with them or not. As their dad, you have what it takes to make their lives successful and fulfilling no matter how often you see them. This site is about all the positive things that we as parents have to offer our children.
Microblog Microblog

Mummy says we need a haircut

By Chris Barnardo

You’re separated, divorced even, it’s been tough but you’re through it, mostly, and yet you still feel that your life and the things you do are being controlled by your ex-partner... ring any bells? It’s certainly a common complaint. It might be that the children come to you (or come back to you) with a list of things they need, or things they have to do, or things that they are forbidden from doing, all of which can leave you thinking that you’re not really separate at all, but in some form of twisted relationship limbo, where your ex-partner still seems to want to control you and the things you do with your children.
. . . Under the guise of taking your side, your friends or your new partner may actually make you feel worse. They escalate the exchange with shows of indignation on your behalf, or by telling you to stop giving in to such demands, or worse, that your ex is a control freak, still desperate to exert her (or his) influence over you, and you are letting her (him) walk all over you. Secretly, you know that the children need some form of continuity of care and if you could stand back from the affront of being “told” what to do, deep down, you know you would agree that at least some of the demands are justified. Nevertheless, even taking this into account, it’s likely that at times, you will still have a strong feeling that your ex-partner is trying to control you over and above what is required to make sure the children are adequately looked after.
. . . The need to control is generally a result of anxiety. As separation and divorce provides the most anxiety inducing life event you are ever likely to encounter, it follows therefore, that the controlling part of our (and our ex-partner’s) personalities is likely to surface at this time. Further, separation provides a fertile breeding ground for controlling tendencies to flourish; new situations, single handed care and an absence of feedback, leave the other parent anxiously worrying that things are not under control or not being done properly or safely.
. . . So when you feel the demands piling up, how do you deal with your feelings of being controlled? Well, the first thing to remember is that no one really can control you unless you let them. Take charge of your life and feelings. If your ex-partner tells you something that the kids need to do or require, while they are with you, step back from the conflict of your relationship and view what you are being told as a request rather than a command, then judge if the request is valid and reasonable. Engage the adult part of your personality, stay calm and appraise the request as a dispassionate grown up would.
. . . Do not personalise the request. It doesn’t help to view the request as an attack on your personality, or ability to manage your life or your children’s welfare. Instead think of it as useful information about the children’s needs that will help make your day go better and more importantly, make your children happier.
. . . Be patient, when people are anxious, they need to feel reassured that things are going to be ok. Anxious people need to feel that their point of view is being heard and at the very least considered. Don’t escalate the situation, ask relevant, adult questions to help you understand the request or perceived need, so that you can move on and agree what has to be done (or what can be done given your resources and what you had already planned for the time you were going to spend with your children). Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. When anxious people become controlling, they are usually doing so because they feel threatened and vulnerable, often feeling as if they are the victim in any exchange, which is doubly confusing for the person on the receiving end of their controlling behaviour.
. . . If you feel that what you are being asked to do is unreasonable, then remember that as the children’s other parent, your point of view is valid too. If what you are being asked to do makes sense, then do it if you can. However, if it does not make sense, or is difficult to do given what you had planned, then either say that you will think about it, or if it is safe to do so, say you can’t help on this occasion and if possible briefly explain why. Try not to leave it as a blank refusal, suggest alternatives or consider a compromise that will work for both of you and gets the children what they need.
. . . Don’t let your friends wind you up. After all, they don’t have to care for your children. Tell them about your children’s need for continuity of care and ask them to support you by giving you commonsense advice, and not by telling you that you’re weak when you do take on board things your ex-partner asks you to do for your children.
. . . So next time you pick the children up, or they come home to you, and your ex-partner says, they need a haircut or a new pair of trainers, think about it... maybe their hair is a bit long and could do with cutting, or maybe it is your turn to buy the shoes, and maybe, just maybe doing these things could be a fun part of the time you have together with them.

MicroBlog Archive
WEEK 14, 2009
Dad… can we make something?
Making something with the kids for homework can turn into a memorable and heroic enterprise.
WEEK 13, 2009
How to stop arguing: Part 2
How do you stop an argument if you are already in one, here are our top ten tried and tested ways of halting an argument in its tracks
WEEK 12, 2009
How to stop arguing: Part 1
Ten reasons actually why people argue (and that's not including what they argue over) to help you avoid the argument traps and habits
WEEK 11, 2009
Getting ready for a new arrival
When you become a dad for the first time your life changes dramatically,so here are ten top tips on how you can prepare practically for the new arrival
WEEK 10, 2009
Don't say goodbye...
Ten top tips for dealing with all the goodbyes a single dad has to say and keep on saying.
WEEK 9, 2009
Can I do that again?
Think twice before you dismiss your kid's quirkiest comments, because children approach life with such an open mind, that there is often a great deal of sense in even the strangest things they say.
WEEK 8, 2009
Food of the gods
Chocolate isn't all bad, in fact it's mostly good, see our top ten reasons why chocolate is good for you
WEEK 7, 2009
The last thing I remembered was...
Everyone has their own way of recognising the importance of the moment, but here are my top ten tips, conveniently sorted in to Mind, Body and Soul.
WEEK 6, 2009
Caring for a sick child
Caring for a sick child is never easy, but if you are divorced or separated then you might find these top ten tips helpful
WEEK 5, 2009
On Passion, Love and Happy Endings
My top ten couples through history and how they measure up on Passion, Love and Happy Endings
WEEK 4, 2009
Another Place at Breakfast
Introducing a new partner to your kids in the right way can make things so much easier for everyone, read our top ten tips for getting it right
WEEK 3, 2009
What's better than a New Year?
We can learn some good lessons from the traditional values upheld at Chinese New Year, we pick 10 customs that would be worth following.
WEEK 2, 2009
Who needs New Year's Resolutions?
Ten of the best New Year's resolutions designed to help you make 2009 your year.
WEEK 52, 2008
Christmas is here
Christmas is here!
WEEK 51, 2008
Christmas without your kids
Every parent's nightmare and many single dads' reality, is a Christmas Day without your kids. Here are ten top tips on how to have a great Christmas even if you aren't able to see your kids on the day itself.
WEEK 50, 2008
Finding dad a date: Part 2, The Dates
Read the second installment of James's search for a new partner with the help of the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show team
WEEK 49, 2008
Finding dad a date
Finding a date is never easy, but it is doubly hard when you’re a single parent. Read the first part of James's story here
WEEK 48, 2008
Christmas and the kids
10 top tips on how to make the most of the Christmas season with your kids when they don't live with you.
WEEK 47, 2008
What do you do about holidays?
10 practical top tips about how plan and negotiate your access over the holidays.
WEEK 46, 2008
Tackling a teenager
10 top tips on how to maintain a sense of fairness and discipline and yet still managing to remain friends with your teenager through those difficult teenage moments
WEEK 45, 2008
Reliable routines
When parents split up their children’s routines are the first casualty. New routines need to be set up quickly; we've ten top ideas here
WEEK 44, 2008
Rules for Rules
With the right kind of rules kids feel confident, here's our ten top tips for getting getting the rules right in your home
WEEK 43, 2008
Smack or snack
Post separation discipline can turn out to be a problem, so here are our ten top tips for basics of discipline and how to get things working smoothly in your home
WEEK 42, 2008
Getting it right on your first date
Ten tips on how to make sure that a first date turns into a second date
WEEK 41, 2008
Ten great first dates
Where you choose to go on your first date says a lot about you as a person and how you think, so make the most of it with these top ten tips for a great first date venue
WEEK 40, 2008
Getting started with internet dating
Internet dating is a good way to meet new people, so here are some top tips to help you get the most out of online dating
WEEK 39, 2008
How to encourage your kids to read more
So, everyone knows how good reading is for their children, but how do you encourage them to read, or read more. Here are ten top tips to get you started and get your children reading books.
WEEK 38, 2008
The best ten British TV comedy series shows ever
The beneficial effects of laughter 10 of the funniest British TV comedy shows to help start you laughing your way to health
WEEK 37, 2008
Ten ways to be positive
Ten practical ways to be positive when it's tough, from the queen of positive thinking, Dawn Stannard
WEEK 36, 2008
10 ways to grow your kids' creativity
Developing your children's creativity is your job and a very important part of their upbringing, here are ten ways you can help them develop their creativity
WEEK 35, 2008
Relativity: When dark days feel like months
When you are experiencing the trauma of a serious relationship break up, ironically Time seems to slow down, dragging out the pain and making things much worse.
WEEK 34, 2008
Feeding the machine
It's Randomised Variable Interval Reinforcement that makes gamblers gamble and traps normal people in destructive manipulative relationships where they feel unlovable
WEEK 33, 2008
Avoiding pain: Why we stay where it hurts
How can the avoidance of pain be the main human drive when we tolerate so much discomfort in our relationships and our day to day lives?
WEEK 32, 2008
Burning Building
Internet dating is like being in a burning building looking for someone to help get you out, but the only people who can help you are trapped in the same building with you
WEEK 31, 2008
How far have we come?
Humans have been evolving for 1 million years and it's been 10,000 years since Cro-Magnon man developed the family unit, how far have we really come?
WEEK 30, 2008
Who put that cup there?!
What is it that is so seductive about blame? No one is immune to its satisfying qualities and its effects ripple through society at every level. Our kids are an easy target...
WEEK 29, 2008
Winners and Losers?
A thoroughly modern school sports day, that's more about taking part than about making one winner and loads of losers out of us
WEEK 28, 2008
Living apart together
Society is changing, and more and more people have two places they call home, so why is Shared Residence still such an issue?
WEEK 27, 2008
The Children Act, 20 years on, so what's going wrong?
A TV documentary asks what exactly is going wrong with the Children Act, 20 years after becoming law. You can take part and have your say.
WEEK 26, 2008
Mummy says we need a haircut
Do you feel like you're being told what to do by your ex-partner? We explain a little of what's going on and how you can deal with it.
WEEK 25, 2008
Alchemist's Dream
Single parents achieve the alchemist's dream of putting separated things together to turn lead into gold for their kids
WEEK 24, 2008
Happy 100th Birthday, Father's Day
100 years after the first Father’s Day, is this day just another “Hallmark Holiday” or a special time we can use to say what we really mean.
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