Being a single parent is one of the toughest positions to hold. Whether it is by choice, pregnancy and birth outside the legalities of marriage, separation, or divorce, it’s a tough boat to keep afloat.
Here are some essential things to keep in mind to get you through the rough times.
1. YOU are the parent.
Remember that you are responsible for another life: your child’s. So take charge of the situation. In their book Baby And Childcare, Benjamin Spock, M.D., and Steven Parker, M.D., say that it’s easy for parents to confide their feelings, hope, and dreams to their child, “but by treating your children as peers, the line between parent and child is blurred. If you feel upset about something, they will feel the responsibility of parenting you and attending to your needs.”
Keep in mind that children need to be “children”; they should not be expected to share the responsibility of their parents just yet, especially at an early age. Give your kids time to do the things that kids do. Let them be with their friends, play sports, or do their homework. It’s important to make them feel that they have a dependable and responsible parent looking after them—one they can count on to help them with homework, read a bedtime story with, or cheer them on during a soccer game.
2. Stability and consistency is the key.
It’s important to keep changes at a minimum level, especially when it comes to caring for the kids. It’s best to have a regular routine to be able to keep things consistent. Mealtime, bedtime, study time, and even “alone” time should have their own space in the day.
The same goes when it comes to disciplining the child: the single parent should have set rules for the children to abide by. A sense of security and consistency is essential in raising well-grounded and stable children.
Click here to read more advice for single parents.