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Single parenting skills after a death in the family

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 16-05-2009

One PGA golfer is using text messages and nightly telephone calls to maintain a relationship with his two teenage daughters while he’s out on tour.

Paul Goydos, 44, told the New York Times the calls helps him sleep better and he insists they call him when they go out with friends or are leaving work, despite how late it may be.

"I do think that sometimes he can worry too much," Chelsea, 18, told the Times. "I try to tell him we can handle ourselves. I’ll say, ‘If we need you, we’ll text you.’"

While the daily contact is important for their father-daughter relationship, Goydos told the news provider it’s also a way for him to be "hyperalert" to his daughters’ emotional state.

In January, Goydos’ ex-wife and mother of his daughters, Wendy, died unexpectedly, according to the article. It was reported she suffered from an addiction to prescription medication she took for migraine headaches.

Since then, Goydos said he has encouraged his daughters to seek counseling for their feelings, especially if they feel like they can’t speak to him.

"To be honest with you, I think the last thing they want to do is talk to me about those things," the golfer said.

Death can be a difficult subject for children to deal with and how they handle the situation may depend on their age.

Younger children may not be able to process the concept of death or the finality of it. While it may be tempting to hide the pain from children, studies have shown that in the long run it does not benefit them.

Instead, fathers should use their single parenting skills to approach the issue honestly and directly, and to be prepared for tears.

With teenage children, it is important for them to express their emotions, either through some artistic endeavor, talking to a counselor or talking to you. Not giving a teenager an outlet to express what they’re feeling may lead them to bottle up their emotions, which can cause psychological problems in the future.ADNFCR-1662-ID-19173136-ADNFCR