There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful or well-balanced as children living in two-parent homes. A critical detail that we must take into account when comparing single and two-parent homes is the stability of the household. Experts say that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in academic abilities and behaviour when there is stability in the household. But providing stability is not always easy. WOW takes this opportunity to give a big shout out to all those single parents who are doing their best despite the challenges and the moments of self-doubt. In this issue, we have put together a few tips that may help you in your journey as a single parent.
Self-Care. Before anything else, you must learn to care for your own needs adequately. You can only do your best for your child when you are well rested and healthy. As single parents, you often tend to put your kids needs first and struggle with exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. That never helps. Make time for regular meals, rest, workout and your hobbies. Your children depend on you and you must take care of yourself first to be able to take care of them well.
Build a community. Your family, friends, other single parents may not always understand you but they can always help when you need it. Build a community of people you feel comfortable with. Don’t be a superhero, you will only burn out. These people want to help you and maybe they do not know how but if you are willing to share with them, they will do all they can. Your asking for help doesn’t make you a bad parent, it allows you to build a pool of resourceful people who can be there for each other.
Plan for emergencies. As a single parent, a backup plan is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.
Create a routine. Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine. If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Share with them the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.
Stay Positive. Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. Stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family when things get tough. This will help create a more stable home environment. Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. A home filled with laughter and love gets the family through tough times. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you are able to provide for your children.
Be Honest. Don’t sugarcoat the situation or give inaccurate answers when your child wants to know about certain things. Depending on their age, explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings. Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest.
Let Kids Be Kids. Your kids are not equipped to take on more than their age and may not understand many details within an adult relationship. Sharing such information with your child can cause confusion and resentment in your child. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues. Spend time and effort in making lasting memories and allowing them to be their age.