5 Steps To Successful Single Parenting
No one plans to wake up one morning and find themselves a single parent. However, with such a high rate of divorce in many countries, it can and does happen and becoming a successful single parent is an eventuality that many parents are going to have to face. How successful you are, and how happy and well adjusted your children turn out is going to be up to you. Here are 5 steps to successful Single Parenting.
Keep A Positive Outlook
Being a single parent can be difficult and there are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed and even depressed. However, keeping a positive outlook, and focusing on the good things you have and the future is going to help your children feel more safe and secure even in the midst of divorce, changing homes, or even schools.
Children look to their parents for guidance, especially when traumatic things occur in their young lives, and when you keep a positive attitude your children will feel that things are going to be all right, and that they have you to lean on and guide them through all the different emotions they are feeling.
Make Time For Your Children
While making time for your children may seem like a given, single parents often have a lot to juggle, what with your job, paying the bills, keeping your home in order, social commitments it can be easy for your children to get short changed when it comes to having your time and attention on a regular basis.
Setting aside time every day to spend with your children eating dinner, overseeing homework, or just hanging out is going to make a huge difference in how well adjusted your children become. Planning special week ends on holidays with your children will let them know that you enjoy spending time with them, and that you can be fun as well as the bread winner or disciplinarian.
If you are the non-custodial parent and only get time with your children on weekends and alternate holidays, then it is even more important to spend quality time with your children when they are with you. Be available by phone or send emails back and forth do whatever you can to ensure that your children know that you are there for them.
Set Limits And Enforce Rules
Whether you are a custodial parent or not, setting limits and rules for your children to follow is essential if you want to be a successful single parent. Children need rules and limits to grow up to be responsible adults and all too often single parents don't follow through out of guilt over the situation, or because they simply don't want to be the “bad parent.”
However, most children feel more secure and loved when parents spend the time following through on the rules they have set for their children. Yes, your children are going to test those limits and boundaries, but that is part of being a child and becoming more independent. It is the parents job to parent, and your children will love you for it as they get older.
Accept Help From Others
Some single parents feel that they have to go all alone. This couldn't be further from the truth, almost every parent out there has extended family or friends who are willing to help. There are also single parent organizations and groups where parents help each other with advice, support, and often with concrete help such as fixing dinner if you need to work late, running your child to piano lessons, or sports practice, or simply babysitting so you can get a little down time.
You need to allow others to help when and where they can as it makes your life a little easier, gives you more time to spend with your children, and actually teaches your children the true meaning of cooperation as well as allows them to spend quality time with adults and children. All of which is good for you and your children.
Take Time For Yourself
One of the most difficult things for a single parent to do is take time out for themselves. They feel, and rightly so that their children need to be their first priority. However, it really doesn't do your children or you any good to live your life through them and their activities. This will only make you a clingy and stressed out parent.
You owe to it to yourself and most importantly to your children, to show them that you can be a good parent and have some type of life of your own. You need to understand that you can burn out on parenting, just like you can get burned out on a job and that you need to have some time away to rest, relax, and recharge your batteries, so that when you are with your children you are calmer and happier and really enjoy the time you have with them.
Continuing on with your life and being happy with who you are will only help your children to feel more secure. It will let them see that you have moved on with your life and are happy being part of a single parent family that they can be happy as well.