Parenting is the most rewarding job in the world. It’s also the hardest job in the world. It’s made easier when you have a partner in your life that can assist you with the daily challenges. When you are a single parent, the task of raising children can be both daunting and frustrating. However, there are steps you can take, to help make your single parent family strong and united. Try the 10 simple tips below to help your single parent household run in an organized and positive fashion!
1. Focus on Children but Balance Priorities
Make your children a top priority. This might mean you will have to make sacrifices. For example, you may have to miss the opening night of that great movie coming out, in order to attend your son’s kindergarten school performance that is scheduled in the same evening. Attend the school performance and enjoy it! Your son will appreciate the attention. At the same time, don’t neglect your personal well-being, or inevitably, you will come to resent the burdens that fate has placed upon you.
2. Positive and consistent discipline structure
Even if you don’t feel calm and strong, try to assert your discipline in a non-emotional and assertive manner. Ensure that your discipline is consistent and ensure that your children are away of the consequences of their misbehaviour. Threatened consequences have to be acted upon.
3. Open communication
Parents generate open communication in their household. Ask your children about their school day. Ask them about their after-school activities. If you know that your daughter likes to talk about her soccer practice but doesn’t like to talk about her math class, initiate conversation about her soccer. Focus your energy on ensuring that your children feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings and activities.
4. Honesty of Emotion
If you express anger in the presence of your children in a situation which did not merit those reactions, recognize the shortcoming and explain it. For example, if your children saw you lose your temper badly in a traffic jam, take a breath, and acknowledge to them that sometimes adults lose their temper, just like children, but that there is a better way to handle the situation, and tell them that you will demonstrate that „better way” next time you are in the same situation. Accept that you lost your temper and… move on.
5. Organization of Home and Finance
Successful single parents manage the family needs well. You probably already have a calendar, but if you don’t, get a calendar and start using it! The two-parent family can “slack off” with home and finance organization but it’s absolutely essential that the single parent household be well-organized in these areas.
Plan your week’s activities. Be aware of the requirements for each activity, so that you are not running around at the last minute, trying to find your daughter’s karate outfit and rushing to the store for a last-minute birthday present. As for your home chores, again, planning is key! If cleaning the house in one day is not feasible, organize your week so that the cleaning is spread out in a realistic manner. Children should be assigned their own home chores, which will differ depending upon their age. Make them responsible for task that is age-appropriate. It will teach them responsibility (and it will make your life a little easier). Follow-up to ensure that these assigned tasks are getting done. Once the tasks are ingrained into a habit, you wont have to worry about the „follow-up”.
Try to maintain rituals such as a bedtime routine. It will help to maintain stability and organization in your household.
7. Co-operation with the Other Parent
Try to maintain a positive relationship with the children’s other parent, and, so long as it is feasible, encourage the children and the other parent, to be involved in each other’s lives. Even if you feel angry and resentful with the other parent, you still need to make an effort, for the benefit of your children, to involve him in your children’s lives. Of course, if the other parent poses an actual threat to your children, it’s best for him to be involved in a protected degree or not at all.
8. Positive Perspective
Even when you are faced with a challenging outlook, try to keep a positive outlook. Your perspective will color the attitude of your children. If you remain positive, particularly in a challenging situation, your children will hopefully adopt your attitude. A positive perspective will help you, and your children, survive and prosper in otherwise difficult times.
9. Spend Time Together
It’s important to spend time with your children, and sleeping does not count. Spend time together doing enjoyable activities, gardening or playing ball in a local park or taking a trip somewhere new and different. The shared experiences will help you develop a bond which will help you through any difficult experiences which may arise with the passage of time.
10. Appreciate your Children and Let them Know it
Even if it seems obvious, let your children know that you love and appreciate them. Reinforce to them that you are lucky to have them. Before they leave your house to take the bus to school, give them one more hug and plant a kiss on their cheek or nose! You might also want to remind them how lucky they are to have such a great mother, too!
by Terri Mann is a divorce lawyer and the Founder of www.womandivorcesupport.com