When we think of a nuclear family the image that springs to our consciousness is one of a group of people consisting of Mummy, Daddy and child or children. However in reality there are many times that life happens and we see a one parent family. Sadly, there is still some stigma attached to this which makes an already tough job even harder but many single parents have raised well -rounded individuals successfully. Think Barack Obama, T.Y Bello, Michael Phelps, Halle Berry and so many more. Here are a few tips that may help people raising children as a single parent.
Stand tall Like I wrote earlier life happens and whether you are a single parent by accident, incident or design you need to own it. Don’t allow anyone make you feel inferior or judge you. How you feel about yourself will help you became the best parent you can be; ensure you build your confidence so you can instil same in your children. There is a legal maxim that says “nemo quad non habet” (you cannot give what you don’t have) so as your children see you stand tall and confident they too will imbibe the same vibes.
Build their confidence
As a single parent, it is extremely important that you build your child’s self-confidence which is more important than anything. It is natural for them to seek validation, acceptance etc. with empathy encourage them to open up and talk to you as it would definitely help. As you build your child’s confidence you must continually boost it through words of affirmation and encouragement. Let them know that they are worthy, as Oprah puts its it ” I am worthy because I am“. A great way to do this is by helping them establish their self worth in their heavenly father who created them in His awesome image for a purpose and for his glory. Once your children understand this then their sense of worth will be unshakeable!
Talk to your children
Being raised by a single parent can be challenging for a child and not explaining what exactly is going on will make it even more of a challenge. You may think they are too young but if things suddenly change for a child i.e. Daddy or Mummy exit through divorce or demise then you need to talk to them. If you don’t know what to say then consider getting a professional to assist. I am sure we all know people who after losing a parent suffered for years, this pain can be ameliorated by proper communication. A good way is by having an honest conversation, telling them that even though Mummy or Daddy is not present they will not lack your love or commitment as a parent. Also, listen to them too so you know exactly how they are feeling and how you can help. Communication is so important and will help build their confidence as well as make them feel less conscious of being the one who doesn’t live with Mummy and Daddy.
Mind your language
Please try your best not to speak ill about your ex in front of the kids ever! Even if you think he (or she) is a jerk, it’s not your place to tell your children. There are some people who are horrid spouses but good parents so even if things do not work out with you and your ex resist the urge to bad mouth.
This is connected to the point above. It is normal to feel bad when a relationship ends but try your best to forgive and move on. Forgiveness will remove bitterness which your child can unconsciously feed off on and carry for life. Always remember that at the end of the day forgiveness will do more for you than the recipient of your forgiveness.
Ditch the guilt
There are some people who try to overcompensate and end up spoiling their child because they feel guilty about being a single parent. There is the other extreme where some parents end up being excessively harsher. Balance is key so ditch the guilt as it will not help you or your children in anyway.
Don’t worry be happy!
Children will be happy when they see their Parent is happy so try your best to be happy. Make time for yourself and ensure your children see that there is life after divorce/separation / widowhood or whatever the reason behind your single parent status. Make time to socialise and find activities that make you happy and fulfilled.
Look good, feel good!
Take care of your health and physical appearance, this cannot be stressed enough. Eat well, exercise and dress nice not just for yourself but also because our children pick up on the difference in the way you look and can tell how you are feeling even if they don’t know why. Also, we all know that when you look good it perks you up and even your posture and strides change, so take care of yourself for you and do it for them. The health aspect is especially important, remember they only have one full-time parent so it’s best you stick around for as long as possible.
We all need help in one way or the other, whether it’s with school runs, or just having positive role models in your child’s life. The truth is that being a single parent makes the already tough job of parenting even tougher so having loved ones who are willing to help makes it easier on you and your children.
A firm faith in God will help us get through those tough times when they come. Having a relationship with your heavenly father cannot be overemphasised as the Lord is truly our ever present help in time of need. Trust God and he will help you and your children on this parenting journey. Remember the Lord loves you with an everlasting love and no matter what you have had to deal with as a single parent he will see you through and give you all the strength and wisdom you need to raise a well-rounded child.
I would love to hear from you, leave your single parenting tips in the comment section.