There is an absence of research regarding whether single fathers are better parents. However, single fathers can be as good a parent as single mothers. In terms of income and education, single fathers tend to be in a better position than single mothers.
Being a single father is extremely challenging. While society may assume only mothers are nurturers, single fathers are equally capable of being loving, caring parents.
The circumstances surrounding single fathers in comparison to single mothers differ greatly. A single father’s ability to be a good parent depends on various things such as his emotional availability, his financial position, and the presence of a good support system in his life.
Potential advantages that single fathers have over single mothers
Here are two potential advantages that single fathers may have over single mothers.
Single fathers tend to be in a better financial position
Finances play a large role in how a single parent is able to fulfill their parental duties.
Research indicates that single fathers are more likely to be living in poverty in comparison to married parents. However, it has been shown that single fathers are less likely to be experiencing poverty in comparison to single mothers.
A single father is more likely to be a better parent if they are able to financially provide for their children. However, financial provision is not the only aspect of parenting. Therefore, financial provision cannot be a defining point in determining whether single fathers are better parents.
Single fathers are seen as rare jewels in society
Society tends to hold single mothers to unattainably high standards, frowning upon them if they make the slightest mistake as a parent.
Conversely, single fathers are often praised for doing the bare minimum that is required of all parents. In this sense, single fathers are often seen as “chick magnets” for being present in their children’s lives, whereas single mothers are seen as liabilities because of their parental responsibilities.
While single mothers may be excluded from social events due to their parental responsibilities, single fathers and their children are often greeted with joy, praised for the fact that they are taking care of their children.
Challenges single fathers have to face as parents
Here are two of the main challenges single fathers experience as parents.
Lack of a support system
Mothers tend to have an extensive support system in terms of family, friends, and support groups specifically designed for single moms.
On the other hand, due to single fathers being far and few between, single fathers tend to struggle to have reliable support systems and rarely have access to support groups specifically designed for them as single fathers.
This lack of support can take a huge toll on single fathers’ mental and emotional well-being. The ability to show up for their children despite the lack of support indicates great strength on the part of single fathers.
Society tends to look down on fathers as less competent and unable to raise children in the same manner that mothers can.
As a single father, these views are heightened when people make assumptions regarding the father’s parenting capabilities. Often, single fathers experience judgment in their parenting skills, have their decision-making skills questioned, and receive unsolicited parenting advice.
These negative externalities can cause emotional and mental strain on single fathers, and pose a great challenge to their experience as parents.
Characteristics of good single fathers
Here are a few characteristics of good single fathers.
A good single father spends quality time with his children
Time is a scarce resource and an even rarer commodity for single fathers who have all the parental responsibilities on their shoulders.
A good single father makes time for his children. He expresses a sincere interest in the things that interest them and makes time to teach them valuable life lessons.
A good single father provides a secure environment for his children
A good single father ensures his children are secure from harm. The security he provides is not only in the sense of physical protection but also financial protection.
He ensures that he has the means to meet their basic needs and protects them from the harshness of the world, nurturing their mind so that they have a positive outlook on life.
A good single father leads by example
As a single father, it is important to be aware of the flaws that one has. A good single father embraces his flaws and is vulnerable with his children. He treats others with respect and does not hold his children to a standard he cannot meet.
A good single father is open-minded
Children are complex beings who have their own interests, beliefs, and ideas. A good single father encourages his children to explore their beliefs, challenges their thinking, and supports their goals regardless of his own opinions.
He is open-minded and allows his children to freely express themselves, supporting them in their personal development, irrespective of the aspirations he may have had for their lives. He understands that their path is theirs to choose and ensures that they are physically, emotionally, and mentally equipped to chase their dreams.
Reasons why society believes single mothers are better parents than single fathers
Here are two potential reasons why society believes single fathers are not as capable of being parents as single mothers.
The traditional view of mothers and fathers
Traditionally, fathers are seen as the breadwinners who come home from work exhausted and have no time to spend with their children. They are known to be closed off emotionally, easily angered, and uninterested in the lives of their kids.
On the other hand, mothers are seen as homemakers and nurturers who are viewed as naturally good parents based on their maternal instincts.
The traditional view of mothers and fathers is harmful to single fathers who are doing their best to be excellent parents to their children. Additionally, the traditional view has the potential to negatively impact children of single fathers who are led to believe they are missing out because a single father raises them.
Media portrayal of parents
The media has a history of portraying single mothers as independent women who are worthy of praise, while most men are portrayed as incompetent parents, unable to look after children without the presence of a maternal figure.
The lack of representation for single fathers in the media upholds the traditional view that single fathers are not better parents. In this regard, the media has failed to give equal justice to single fathers who are equally worthy of praise for their parenting skills.
Due to the absence of research, it cannot be expressly said whether single fathers are better parents than single mothers. Each parent does their best to look after their child based on their available resources. The best parent is a parent who provides a loving home for their child, where their needs are met in a safe environment.