The key to successful single parenting is to reflect daily upon the importance of preparing for your new life and accept that change is necessary. It’s important to adopt a positive mindset and to set a good example for your children by using effective coping strategies.
It will take time for you and your children to adjust to your new lifestyle but maintaining an optimistic outlook will help ease the transition. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and acknowledge when things are difficult and you need support. Strive to embrace a balanced perspective that includes having time to develop your own interests and devoting special time to your children.
It’s worth mentioning that there is a silver lining to being a single parent. Fortunately, many parents gain self-confidence in their ability to handle challenges and their children become more determined and independent after a divorce.
However, making the transition from married to single parenting life will have ups and downs. It takes time to adjust to financial changes and child care responsibilities. It’s essential that you develop daily habits and routines to smooth the way for you and your children.
Here are seven habits to keep in mind while embarking into single parenting inspired by Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
How can you embrace this time of your life as an opportunity? First of all, it’s imperative that you focus on the things that are truly important and learn to let other things go. Single parenting involves making a commitment to helping your children adjust to your divorce and practicing amicable co-parenting. Working together with your ex and communicating effectively is ideal. However, if this isn’t possible, either because your ex is absent or adversarial, you can still become a successful single parent.
At times, you may feel guilty about putting your children through a divorce but don’t let that stop you from setting effective limits and boundaries. For instance, allowing your children to stay up late or sleep with you may backfire because you both need your space and sleep. Be aware that kids play parents off each other and may say things like “Dad (or mom) lets me stay up until midnight.” Even if this is true, you can say, “Your dad (or mom) has his or her rules, but in my house bedtime is at 9 p.m.”
As a single parent, it is of primary importance that you help your children cope with your divorce and develop a mindset of being a positive role model for them. In order to do this, you must take care of yourself. Embrace your new life by taking care of you and modeling a healthy lifestyle for your children. For example, sign up for yoga or an exercise class (alone and with your kids), eat healthy, and schedule in social times with friends. You will be a more effective parent if you are rested and feel connected to others.
As a parent who is taking care of his or herself, and gaining confidence, you are equipping your child with the best tools possible and the self-esteem to move forward with their life. Developing a sense of adventure and new rituals such as family game night or taking walks together will help you stay connected with your children.
Your divorce can be seen as a transforming event, and you alone are responsible for creating a new kind of family for you and your children. Learning to go easy on yourself and focusing on the big picture will enable you and your children to make a good adjustment to divorce.