Whether you’re a single parent by choice, because of divorce or a failed relationship, or because your partner died, being a single parent can be scary, rewarding, frustrating, and challenging.
The key to effective single parenting is communication with your children, a great support system, and taking time for yourself. Follow these guidelines to achieve effective single parenting:
Form a reliable support system. Choose to surround yourself and your family with people who care about you. Those people could include trusted friends, family members, neighbours, and church members. When you include people in your life, you help to create a family for you and your children, and you can learn to rely upon them to help you with your responsibilities as a single parent. When you need to take time out for yourself, you can turn to them to care for your children.
Make your life routine. Children need routine and stability. By developing daily routine, your children will learn stability and trust. Set aside one night each week for a family night, and make sure you stick to a schedule. When you teach your children that your family night will happen each week, no matter what, you build their trust in you as a parent.
Take responsibility for your own life. Remember, your children did not bring you to where you are in life. Your own choices have determined your current life situation. Never blame your children for your situation of being a single parent. They are not responsible for that circumstance.
Move on with your life. Learn to accept the circumstances that made you a single parent, and try not to hold grudges and anger. If you are a single parent because of divorce or death, stop feeling anger and resentment towards the absent parent and, instead, create a positive environment for your children.
Be dependable and consistent. If you create realistic rules and expectations, and then adhere to the consequences you’ve talked about, then your child will learn to trust you. Since you are the only parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life, and they need to depend on you, even if you are tired and frustrated at the end of the day.
Learn to be frugal. Chances are, you may have only one income, so you will need to become inventive with ways to have fun for little money. Teach your child that possessions are never as important as relationships. Your time spent with your children is worth more than the money you could spend on them. Play in the park, go to the library, ride bikes together, have a picnic, sit on the floor and colour or work a puzzle with them, or splurge on a matinee. Find ways to have fun without spending a lot of money.
Even though you are a single parent, realise that you can create a good life for yourself and your child. Always take time for yourself, because you are important, too. Think of it this way; if you don’t take care of yourself, who will be left to fend for your child and raise him the way you want him raised?