Every parent’s top priority is to build a happy and safe home for their children. Taking on 100% of the workload and responsibilities that come along with bringing up a child is no mean feat. That being said, single parenting is probably one of the most challenging tasks ever. It’s a constant struggle and, truth be told, a constant excuse for any bad behavior or acting out on the part of the child.
Single parents have to walk a fine line, never giving into the urge. Initially, almost every child asks whether they are the reason the parents are splitting up. It is absolutely important parents remove all doubts from their children’s minds as soon as possible. If not done early on – and probably more than once – it could cause the child to internalize guilt and shame about your divorce. Having a positive and encouraging attitude is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your child.
You may be wondering whether children can thrive under the care of a single parent – especially when the other parent is not sharing co-parenting responsibilities or has become an absent parent post-divorce. What can you do to make the adjustment to a single-parent household easier for them – and for you?
Here are four ways you can ensure your child’s wellbeing when single parenting.
1. Accept What Happened and Do What Needs to Be Done
Being separated from your partner obviously leads to a sensitive situation around the household. There is a lot of tension and mixed emotions. Explain to your child what is going on and how things will be from now on. Be gentle and honest about your feelings and give them a platform to speak about this issue too. Deal with their questions; reassure them that whatever is happening is none of their faults.
Being able to accept what happened will help your child be more open about their feelings and opinions. This will provide them with a humble base for building their emotional stability and get all the support they need. Spend time with them more often; find time to catch up on their day. Share an experience together; take up a new hobby that interests both of you.
Invest in their lives, pay attention to their stories, and follow up with them. Maybe your child once mentioned something interesting about what happened at school. Ask about what happened after you go home from work to show them that you remember and care enough to ask. This mutual understanding will go a long way in the future.
If one of you has sole custody of the children, you should still make sure your child spends plenty of time with the non-custodial parent. Both parents must reassure their children that they will love them forever – that their parents’ split doesn’t affect their love for their children in the slightest – and that the divorce is not their fault.
There are some rewards attached to single parenting, including the opportunity to teach and influence your children without the other parent’s criticism. With reassurance, consistency, and love, your children can learn to be more adaptable to change in the long run.
2. Clear Communication and Interactions
An upset in family life causes a lot of imbalance and stress. Let’s face it – your child will lash out emotionally from time to time. They might be harboring a lot of anger, resentment, and possible guilt. You have to let them know that their feelings are valid and completely normal – but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to trash their room or get into fights at school.
Establishing an open line of communication will help to set some ground rules. Ensuring your child is not having behavioral issues is also very important. Address their feelings on the matter, pay attention to what they are telling you, and encourage them to share accordingly.
Set aside some ground rules when they are in your care. If they watch you following these rules, they will get encouraged to do so too. Have a one-on-one session where you decide on what rules both of you will be comfortable with. Most importantly, it is wise to show them that the separation has not changed any previous agreement that you had with them.
Discipline your child and be persistent with the rules you created for them. Times are tough; there will be heated arguments and some bad blood. Sometimes, you might want to give in. It may have to depend on the situation entirely. It’s wise to pick your moments and know when not to.
Finally, avoid talking in a disrespectful way about your ex-partner. If you want your children to be respectful, you have to model respectful behavior for them. Vent to another adult when your child isn’t around.
3. Motivate Yourself to Power Through Challenges
Since there’s a lot of pressure on a single parent, this may affect your behavior and relationship with your child. Your tenacity and spirit towards an effective lifestyle will encourage your child to have a positive outlook. When your child sees you powering through obstacles, they will get motivated as well.
Having said that, give yourself a break from time to time. There are going to be times when you’ll be having a bad day and feel defeated.
Be honest with your child. Create a safe and secure platform where both of you express yourselves to the T. Share some of your hardships with an adult or your child if they are of age. Focus on yourself and your child to build a better future. Motivate each other, look out for each other. Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
4. Take Care of Yourself
It is important for you to take care of yourself, especially in these troubled times. Try to be healthy, fit, and on-the-go. Take time off for yourself to relax and unwind.
Adjust at your own pace and take things as they come. You can’t control everything, so might as well focus on what you can actually control. It is so important to influence children positively to change or improve their outlook towards life.
Set new goals for yourself and your child and focus on building a better future together. Befriend other single parents and share your experiences with them. You may even be able to rely on them to understand any problems you might be facing.
Thoughts and Concerns About Single Parenting
There will be many challenges ahead. It can be frightening and difficult at first, but it gets better with time. There’s a lot of patience involved in single parenting. Take everything in stride and always look forward to the next goal you’ve set to work on.
In this day and age of technology and modernization, single parenting has become much easier than in the past. With a touch on your smartphone or tablet, you can discover tips and information about what to do when facing difficulties in raising your child. There are a number of websites and services out there you can put to good use. So, don’t worry, be happy!
Stepheny Jason is a content writer at Feedfond. A single mom herself, she feels the need to share her experiences to help others who are experiencing the challenges of single parenting. Feedfond.com.