As a single parent, raising kids can be a difficult task. Single parenting will require you to be a sympathetic mother plus a strict and providing father at the same time. It is no wonder that single parents can be very stressed.
Here are 10 tips that will really help out single parents in their lone parenting journeys
What I’ve learnt is to respect the child as a person. If you have rules for them, they would like the same for you. For example; I don’t allow my daughter to watch TV during weekdays, instead we talk, play games, tea-party, read, art & craft projects etc. – this is my rule for her. In return her rule for me is no blackberry, work or internet.
Before we make decisions and rules of how to raise our children, it is important that we first look at how we were raised and the importance of passing on similar or different values to our children. When i look back at the way i was raised, i would not raise my daughter the same way.
– Role modelling values is such a simple and strong way to impact children in a positive way, but is often forgotten in this fast-paced way of life most of us live today, but is a very important fact in raising children. The rule is very simple.
You behave the way you want your child to behave.
If you shout, scream etc. – your child is likely to do the same back to you. Children learn what they live!
– Clear instructions are a must!
We always assume that when we tell children to do a task – they understand what we mean, but they don’t. When i used to tell my daughter to clean her room – she wouldn’t. She didn’t know what exactly to do. After 30 min when i’ll go back to her room, and it will be in the same state as i left it – i will ask her; ‘Why haven’t you cleaned your room’? And she’ll either say ‘It’s already clean’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’.
Then i started giving clear instructions like; ‘Books in the bookcase, dirty clothes in the laundry basket, make your bed etc.’ When she received those instructions, it took her less than 15 minutes to clean her room. Having said that (now we are going back to role modelling); she said; ‘How come i have to clean my room and you don’t?’ We then put up a blackboard in the hallway – with rules / tasks that apply to the both of us. And i have to say – it’s really works!
– Schedule Time to be Alone!
Time is a very powerful tool. It will bring you healing, hope, and perspective. Right now, it’s important that you create pockets of time in your life when you can just be. Time when you’re not accountable for completing a task or responding to questions. Time to sit, to think, to ponder. This is one of the most important tips for single parents, and it’s one that you simply must make time for.
Have a life outside of parenting and your children. Join a club, have regular workouts at a local gym, take yourself out to eat or out for a day of fun with your friends. Allow yourself time at home to be alone, like enjoying a long soak in the tub, free from phones and other demands. This might mean enjoying the tub when the kids are at school, or, you might even hire a babysitter for a couple of hours. Whatever it takes, find unique ways to keep your kids occupied that also give you a chance to recharge your own batteries.
– Special time! This time for your child only – where he /she is in charge of how to spend it
They choose what they want to do, and you do it with them. When we spend special time with each child individually, the message to our children is that they are important and likeable for themselves. This will make our children feel good. Special time builds our child’s self-esteem and enhances the parent child relationship. The rule for you as a parent is: NO questions – NO directions – NO criticism. LISTEN to your child, REPEAT what your child says, ASK QUESTIONS to help your child think, SHARE INFORMATION about yourself.
– Identify What Gives You Strength. In the past, how have you handled challenging times in your life? What most energizes you and reminds you that you possess the strength needed to meet the current challenge? Focus on what has worked for you in the past.
– Focus on the Positive. This is important, especially for single parents. This is a time of new growth in your life. Take the time to think about the things that are going well for you. Having a positive attitude – even in the midst of extreme circumstances – can empower you to move ahead and provide your children with a tangible example of the coping strategies you want them to adopt.
– Tear Down the Walls.
Most single parents have been hurt in the past and as a result, have built walls to ensure they won’t get hurt again. Because of this past hurt, they tend to put potential relationships through various tests in an effort to determine their sincerity or test their love. These tests seldom work and if you are looking for something to fail, it probably will. Instead of devising tests for the other person, work on becoming a person who sets strong and clear boundaries and avoid the chance of being mistreated. Become your own person who is not reliant upon others for your emotional well-being. Be secure in yourself and who you are.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You’re just one parent, and you can’t always carry the load alone. Know when it’s time to lean on others to get things done, or for support to help get you through another trying day. You’re no less a parent when you have to lean on others. Besides, you may be the perfect person to let another single parent lean on you, in return. Look for ways to network and connect with others for support. Join a single parents’ group. Form a network with colleagues and friends.
– Ethnic background / Religion:
Although life is hard, there exists an ever-present Greater Spirit to guide, nurture and protect. It is important that our children become aware of how Spirituality fits in to their everyday lives. We need to instil in our children the idea of forming a personal relationship with the Greater Spirit. In my case; Me & Khushi visit the temple every Sunday. Alongside praying – Khushi attends Punjabi class to learn about her ethnicity, religion and language. She shows very much interest and we explore and learn about our religion and background together.
By Kiran Singh, Interior Architect , Founder of Vivacious Mums & Mum to Khushi
A great article for all single parents to read. Kiran definitely encompasses what Mum to Millionaire is all about; making the most of your life, being happy, inspirational mother and enjoying time with your child.