How To Be a Better Dad on SingleDad: What’s Wrong with My House?

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How To Be a Better Dad is the Fatherhood and co-parenting section on SingleDad. This month, learn about a Divorced Dad wanting to know why his daughter won’t do more social activities at his new house. Single Parent Advice on SingleDad

How to Be A Better Dad: What’s Wrong with My House?

Dear SingleDad,

My name is Mike and I am a
46-year old Divorced Dad with a 14-year old daughter living in San Diego,
California. I have been a single parent for over 3 years now and I have noticed
a strange behavior in my daughter and I want to know if most Divorced Dads have
experienced what I am going through.

My ex and I have a "reasonable
, which means we often agree to disagree but always put our
daughter’s overall wellbeing first.
Both of us now own our own homes and live approximately 5 miles away
from each other. I bring our living proximity into this conversation because my
daughter does not want to invite or organize any "play dates" over at my house. When it comes to after school
activities, birthdays or special events; all activities are focused around her
mother’s and I often find out about these events after the fact.

I tried to ask my daughter about
these activities and she doesn’t give me a straight answer. If I ask her about
scheduling the next event at my house, she just says, "Maybe Dad" but shows
very little emotion or motivation.

What’s wrong with my house?

Do you have any SingleDad
members that can relate to this predicament? If so, I would appreciate your
thoughts, advice and feedback.

father and daughter

Dear Mike,

Let me assure you Mike, you are
not alone when it comes to this particular situation. Your daughter just
happens to be in the age range where everything in her life is compared to
others her age. Tweens and Teens like to compare all social aspects of their
lives with each other and there might be one "hiccup" in her life called
divorce that she is not too crazy about because of various reasons. Now, I am
not a Child or Family therapist; I am just a Divorced Dad like you and I have
experienced these same feelings before.

There are many things going on
in your daughters mind and I can only tell you that right now you need to be as
calm, cool and understanding as possible. I am probably going to guess that the
house you live at is not the original house where you once lived when you were
married. I can also guess that your ex-spouse has probably kept the "old house"
or lives in close proximity to it. These things are tangible and emotional
fixtures to your daughter and it may be that she is trying to keep as much of
her past into her present life with her friends and activities.

My best advice is to make
contact with the parents of your daughter’s friends and reach out in a friendly
way to sponsor a weekend activity. I want you to think of this approach as,
"One Family at a Time" approach which means you will have to find one of your
daughter’s friends parents that are a good "fit" for you and your socializing.
Try day time events that are easy to say "yes" to. Things like an ‘Ice Cream
Social’ or meet-up for a breakfast or brunch are great ways to building a
foundation of friendships with other adults. One word of caution; do not bring
a friend/gal-pal/girlfriend to any of these events. There is always time to
share your significant other when you have established your friendships with
others. I am sorry to share the simple fact; you have to focus your activity on
your goal on winning your daughters confidence with you and your house. Life of
a Divorced Dad is different; there are a lot of variables involved especially
when it comes to the health, safety and happiness of your children.

Good Luck and Keep me posted.

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Parent Advice?

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Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of,
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RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
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