Single Parenting: Three Important Tips
Single Parenting ...
... is challenging, but you can function as both mom and dad. I say this not to devalue the importance of a child having two adults in his life, but to inspire those who are alone. There are many examples of fine men and women who have been raised by mom or dad. In this article, we will explore the effects of this and offer some important tips.
The effects of divorce have been well documented. Children of divorce have a higher risk of problems associated with adjustment, behavior and social skills. This is most likely due to the stress and trauma created around the break-up. If parents can handle divorce in an amicable way, still coming together as a team to support the best interests of the child, then the risks decrease.
When we talk about single parenting, we can't assume that these are children of divorce. Some parents have never been married. Others have survived the death of their loved one. These parents are impacted by the same issues faced by divorced parents: isolation, lack of support, financial struggles and emotional overwhelm. When an adult is constantly stressed, the child absorbs and mirrors these feeling states.
- Get Support. You need to have friends, relatives or a support group that can help you manage your stress. Remember, your child reflects your feelings. If you are not relaxed, your child cannot be either. If there is no support group in your area, start your own. Get together to talk about your experiences. Offer to watch each others' children to get some time on your own or take care of things that you can't do with your child. It is important to have some alone time, away from your child and job, so that you can unwind and regroup.
Find a Mentor. In a perfect world, adults would work together to help each other raise their children, providing role models of both genders for every child (and perhaps this is something you can facilitate if you start a group). A role model can be a coach, a teacher, someone from a group or association or someone from your church. Make sure you know who this person is before you let them be around your child. Know that adults who prey upon kids often volunteer their services in order to get next to children. These people will seem normal and will work hard to gain your trust, but in your gut, you will feel that something is not right. Trust yourself and protect your child. Proceed carefully and wisely, but don't underestimate the importance of a mentor of your child's gender.
- Connection and Communication. Single parenting means working twice as hard to forge strong bonds with your child. Bonding is all about connection, communication and being there as guide and witness during the tough, triumphant and mundane moments of your child's life. Every child needs someone to feel safe with, someone with whom they can let down their guard. In a two parent marriage, one partner may provide support when the other is unavailable for a variety of reasons. As a single parent, you are the sole support. Despite this, connecting and communicating with your child in a positive manner feels good and will energize you in ways that will allow you to meet your child's needs.
- Engage your child in activities she loves. Be an active participant in your child's growing awareness of the world and what interests her. When you do something with your child, remember that children are process-oriented, while most adults tend to be goal-oriented. In order to truly engage your child, you must allow yourself to become process-oriented when you play with her or engage her interests. This is how a single parent creates a bond that goes beyond meeting the child's physical and emotional needs.
Although single parenting can be tough, it is rewarding and fulfilling. If you incorporate these important tips into your life, you are sure to create a healthy, loving relationship with your child. Your child's physical, emotional and spiritual well-being now and in the future depends on this.
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About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of
Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting
This award-winning book combines ancient native ideas (such as child stewardship) with child development to show parents (of any creed or color) how to raise children to develop their natural strengths and lead uniquely purposeful and fulfilling lives. It is an excellent resource for single parents.
Secrets to Creating a Blissful Relationship - finding and creating the relationship of your dreams
Copyright © 2004 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written permission of the author. However, you may link to it from your forum or web site. Insights into the Core Issues Today's Parents Face
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