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Wisconsin Parent

Single Parenting: The Male Perspective

Jul 28, 2014 03:00AM ● By Brooke McGee
Being a single parent is hard enough, but when you are a single father, one thing that is often neglected is your side of the story. After taking the time to talk with some dads about the topic, I was surprised when I realized, being a woman, I had not ever really truly thought about their side of the story. Dads, this one is for you!

To begin, fathers here are very fortunate that Wisconsin is a “pro-father’s rights” state. This is largely due in part to a Wisconsin law that was changed in the year 2000 that greatly protected paternal rights: (Wis Stat. 767.41(4)(a))

We are all aware that, historically, women were considered to be the necessary and expected provider of care for their children. However, with more women taking jobs outside the home (unfortunately, sometimes because of separation or the loss of a parent) more and more men are becoming single parents, either entirely or partially, with 50/50 custody and placement.

dadatbaseballgameDespite the letter of the law, a father of one with split custody expressed frustration in the idea that women often do not take the father’s feelings into consideration while making choices for their children. Haircuts will be given without his consultation, medical treatment will be administered without sharing information, and decisions regarding school and other important matters are done without his consent.

The frustration that was shared with me was genuine and obviously emotionally painful. “She doesn’t trust me as far as she can throw me,” he said. “I cherish my daughter with all my heart. Why can’t she see that?”

The more single fathers I talked to, the more I found a similar thread. “For dads, it seems if there isn’t a court order in place, a lot of times we aren’t able to see our children when we were promised we would. I’ve had to sit on my ex-wife’s front steps waiting just to give my daughter a hug and tell her I love her,” another dad said.

dadwithsleepingbabyWe all can acknowledge that not every parent is perfect, despite his or her gender. Regardless, there are some absolutely amazing fathers out there who are discredited just because, well, they are not mom, and “mom knows best.”

For more on this topic, for both fathers and mothers, please take a moment to read “The Art of Co-parenting.”

Are you a single dad? We would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts with Wisconsin Parent below in our comments section.