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About Richard Jaramillo

Here are my most recent posts

Single Parent Advice- Apology

As a single parent of three children, I am bound to have communication challenges and disagreements with family members. I have two teenagers and a soon to be 10-year old and when arguments ensue, I have made my share of mistakes. As a father, I never want my children to be angry with me, however, I also want my children to know the difference between good and bad behavior. There is a fine line between having a mutually-respectful relationship and letting your children run out of control. Apologizing after a disagreement is an important parenting tool that requires a few important steps.

In this article, I want to share four easy steps that I learned on how to navigate family arguments and how to create an apology that is effective, sincere, and lasting with your child.  Take a look at my steps and see how many of these items can help you understand the power of an apology.

1.Respect.

I live by a rule of respect in my household. You can never give your child enough respect. What I mean by this statement is communicating to your child that you respect them and their feelings. Yes, as a father, I literally take a moment to say those very words and state my feelings of respect and make sure that they feel that the conversation is going to be safe and respectful. People can disagree and that is being human. Making a statement of respect will ensure that the ensuing conversation is lasting and heartfelt.

2.Timing.

Sometimes waiting after an argument is important for all parties to reflect on what has happened. I feel that rushing into an apology gives the wrong impression to the child and it can often create more animosity. This is especially true when dealing with a teenager. My post-argument apology has worked better when I have explained to my teenager that both of us need to discuss our argument after a specific period of time to “cool down”. It is important to note that you do not want the cooling-off period to go overnight or for an unspecified period of time. This can represent disrespect or a lack of a priority with your teenager.  Make it known that you want to talk to your child and create a resolution with him or her. Request a time and stick with it. If your child refuses to speak with you after an argument, remember to give a little time to cool-off and then write a hand-written note to your child and slip it under his or her door. Tell them that you want to discuss the argument and that you want to understand their position and to apologize for any misunderstandings.

3. Be Present.

Allow yourself to be dedicated to listening to what your child has to say. Listening is the new way of “speaking” to your child during an apology. Do not interrupt or defend yourself during the apology conversation. Interrupting will only invalidate your attempts to seek a resolution and your future dialog with your child. Show patience by listening to what is being said. If you don’t understanding something, literally use this phrase, “ So what you just said was…” and repeat exactly what you just heard from your child.  This gives your child an opportunity to repeat or correct what they are trying to communicate to you with the validation that you are listening. As a father of three, I have discovered this stage to be the most effective in creating an apology after the argument. After feelings are expressed and you are listening and being present, now is the time for the apology.

4.Sincerity.

I used to think that mothers and girlfriends were the only people that could sense insincerity, but I was wrong. My children can sense how sincere my apology is and I realized that if I was going to complete my post argument apology, I was going to have to be authentic and meaningful. To make sure I am in the right mindset, I remind myself what I want most, a connection with my children. In order to have a connection, you must reach out to your child, especially in an apology. Something like this, “I am sorry for arguing with you and I want to apologize for my actions. I want to have a meaningful and loving relationship with you that is built on trust, respect and love. As your father, I am human and far from perfect. I am sorry that we had an argument and that I hurt your feelings.  I have also learned that I will do a better job as your father by listening to your feelings about…”

Richard “RJ” Jaramillo is the Founder and President of SingleDad.com. With over nine years of experience helping other single parents with advice, support, and resources; RJ is excited to share his company and personal mission on teaching others how to “Make Life Happen…Again!”

Back to School Checklist for the Single Parent

Yes, it is time to get our kids back on a school schedule. This article is a reminder for some, and a very important checklist for the new single parent. I have gathered a lot of suggestions from our SingleDad.com members who wanted to share their tips for getting prepared for the school year.

Clothes Inventory

Keeping an inventory of clothes between divorced parent’s households has its own unique challenges. Depending on the relationship status, it is perfectly normal to label your child’s clothes for the sake of inventory exchange. I would strongly recommend disclosing your reason for marking the clothes. Your goal is to make every effort to keep an open dialog. Offering a bi-weekly clothes exchange will help keep both household’s clothes inventory balanced and communication between all parties peaceful. Make sure your markings are distinct to you, but not embarrassing to your child.

Clothes Shopping

Depending on where you live and the late summer/early fall weather, it is smart to wait to buy school clothes after the school year starts. Most department stores and clothes retailers will offer additional discounts on school clothes after the school year has started. If you don’t mind a smaller selection of styles and sizes, waiting can pay off big with your wallet. In addition, keeping an eye on some of the discount stores such as Ross, Marshalls and TJ Max can also save you money. If you don’t mind sorting through the selection, I have found these stores can offer some huge savings on quality clothes at less than half the department store price. Another concept that has been gaining popularity is called a clothes exchange. These are organized events that your local church or a community group will sponsor. It is like a clothes-only garage sale. Most of the time no money is required, you just bring your kid’s clothes to offer in exchange. Finally, the thrift store has become the new “cool” place to exchange clothes. Check your local thrift stores to see if they will offer you exchange credits for clothes that you bring in that you can use to pay for new clothes from the shop.

Your Child’s  Sleep Schedule

The best advice our members can offer on this subject is to start early. You do not want to attempt to get your kids started on a proper sleep schedule the night before school starts. There is nothing worse than hearing about the whining, complaining and lack of attention that will happen at school from the lack of sleep. Furthermore, it is embarrassing to attending your first parent/teacher meeting and having the entire discussion about your child’s well being. Sleep is as important as food and water. If you are newly divorced, make sure you and your ex set a time for your child’s bedtime. It is recommended that your child gets 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.

Emergency Contact and Health Insurance Information

For a variety of reasons, some single parents do not have the participation of the other parent in child’s daily school life. This is where it is especially important to have your emergency contact available and shared with another family member, friend, or relative. I have a “Gal Pals / Guy Pals” in place which are other friends of mine that I can rely on as back up for any emergency related to my children and school activities. Make sure your emergency contact has a copy of your health insurance information, family doctor’s name and phone number. Another important tip is to save this information on your cell phone but make sure this information is typed in backwards so the information will be harder to understand by anyone else but you if you ever lose the phone.

At the beginning of every school year, your child’s school will ask for all of your personal information and it is perfectly normal and important to disclose on the information packet that you are a single parent and if you are sharing custody or have sole custody. Make sure your school knows your status and how they can contact you. Don’t make assumptions; make sure your child’s teacher has your contact information as well. It is also perfectly normal to request a teacher’s contact information like an email address. This information gives you the opportunity to send an e-mail with all of your contact information directly to your teacher and gives both parties a direct method of communication. This is especially important if you are co-parenting. Staying up-to-date on homework and school activities through e-mail avoids any miscommunication between parties.

Richard “RJ” Jaramillo is the Founder and President of SingleDad.com. With over nine years of experience helping other single parents with advice, support, and resources; RJ is excited to share his company and personal mission on teaching others how to “Make Life Happen…Again!