It's tough being a single parent! You have to provide your child with the day-to-day love and care that he would normally receive from two parents. You also have to do all of the mundane things like the housework, school activities, and everything else that your child requires. And on top of all that, being a single parent often means struggling to keep your head above water financially.
But being a single parent has its advantages too, like getting to spend a larger percentage of your time alone with your child than you would if the other parent were in the picture.
Single parenting can be quite a task, but if you step back and consider your options and make wise choices you can make it less difficult than it has to be.
Here are seven suggestions to help you with your life as a single parent:
Try to remember that no matter how tired you are at the end of the day or how frustrated you may become when he's cranky, he needs you to be there for him. Always cherish every moment that you have with your child. Children are the greatest blessings on earth.
- Forgive even if you'll never be able to forget. Let go of any grudges you may hold against your child's other
parent, who is absent from both of your lives. Holding on to negative feelings of anger will not change your situation but it will consume a great deal of your energy (energy you need to devote to creating a positive, loving environment for your child).
If you dwell on your disappointment with and/or dislike of your child's other parent, chances are your child will sense those feelings and suffer in some way from your negative attitude.
- Make the best and most of everything you have. Even if you don't have a lot of money, you do have your child and lots of love and precious time to give to him. Always remember that monetary wealth and material possessions aren't the most important things in your child's life. Your love, support, and time spent together mean much more to him.
You can always have plenty of fun for free. Going for a walk, a bike ride, playing in the park, coloring, painting, singing, or dancing will thrill your child just as much as spending money to go to an amusement park, a toy store, or an arcade.
- Be the very best parent that you can possibly be. Give as much as you can to your child (not necessarily money or "things") without setting goals that are unrealistic for a single parent to reach. Don't beat yourself up for what cannot do. But be sure to recognize what you can do to create a good, stable life for your child to the very best of your abilities.
- Develop a network of dependable resources. Families aren't always biological. Surround yourself and your child with friends you know and trust, people who care about both of you.
"Aunts", "Uncles", and even "Grandparents" who are not blood-related can be just as helpful and good for your child as actual family members. The "family" you create for your child can provide him with the same kind of love and support as a traditional family.
They can also assist you with your many responsibilities as a single parent. Encourage them to play an active role in your child's life. Learn to ask your "family" for help when you need a break. Nobody should have to go it alone and you'll probably be a much better parent by relying on your "family" of close friends to help support you and your child.
- Take responsibility for your own life today! Remember, whatever lead you to where you are today, you're ultimately responsible for another life - that of your child. He isn't responsible in any way for the experiences or events that caused you to become a single parent.
Your child is completely dependent upon you for how his life turns out (through no choice of his own). Don't let him down or hold him accountable for your actions (or the actions of his absent parent). He is powerless and vulnerable to the possibly less-than-ideal consequences he faces as the child of a single parent.
Your role and influence in his life will have a huge bearing on his chances of becoming a happy, productive, and successful adult. He needs you more than his words can ever express.
- Set up daily rituals and regular routines for your child because he needs security and stability. One way to provide this is by developing a daily routine.
Simple things, like eating dinner together each night, going to the park every Sunday afternoon, sharing a treat before nap time, or reading a book together before bed every night will become activities that your child looks forward to and can count on to take place with regularity.
- Be dependable and consistent. Create realistic rules and a high standard of discipline that you adhere to at all times. If you're consistent with your child, he'll learn what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. He will also learn what
you expect from him and what he can expect from you.
If you're dependable, your child will know that he can always count on you to help him with his homework, be there for dinner, or tuck him in bed every night. He has to be able to depend on you. You're the single most important person in his life!
Danielle Hollister is the Writing Host at
BellaOnline. She is a professional freelance writer/editor/researcher with more than 10 years of experience working for websites, newspapers, public relations firms, and private companies.
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