3 Tips to Healthy Single Parenting
Although there may be times when you feel you are struggling and that no one knows what you are going through trying to raise a child or children on your own.
The fact is, there are many single-parent families today and each has their own challenges to raise a child that is happy and well adjusted.
The fact is, if you can give your child the basics for survival, a good emotional base and are able to guide them in their behaviour, with clear boundaries, they will most likely turn out okay.
Being a single parent can be tiring, especially if you do not have a large support system.
Having to care for a child, work and handle all the other pressures and stresses of everyday life can leave you fatigued.
You may also suffer emotionally and mentally yourself and not always offer consistent discipline and support that a child may need, which can lead to behavioural problems.
Statistically, single parent homes work with lower incomes and may also have less access to general health care.
There is also usually a lack of a social life when taking care of a child on your own.
You may also be concerned about the lack of role models of either gender if your support system is small or non-existent.
MAKING IT EASIER
1. Set a routine and structure in place for your child
This helps your child know what to expect.
This will also help you plan your day and ensure there is enough time for not just the essentials but also play time and time to just enjoy each other’s company.
If you are working, you will also need to find good childcare to take care of your child when you are at work.
Do some research, meet the carers, and examine the environment.
You need to feel secure in the knowledge that your child is safe and receiving the right type of stimulation during the day.
When it comes to after care if you need someone to take care of your child for a period of time while you are not at home, try and get a member of your family or a close friend that you trust to look after your child.
Beware of teenage babysitters that you don’t know well or new friends that you are still getting to know.
2. Set clear boundaries
Your child will need to know and understand the house rules and you will need to enforce them. You will also need to decide on how to treat deviations from them.
Anyone that you have to look after your child at any point will also need to be aware of the rules and boundaries so that these are kept consistent.
As the child grows older some of the boundaries will shift, so you will need to re-evaluate the rules on a regular basis as well.
Don’t spoil your child or allow them to get away with breaking the rules out of feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
This will only result in long term problems if your child feels they can manipulate you.
3. Take care of your own health and wellbeing
You are a single parent, but you are also a person in your own right.
You need to ensure that you still have time to pursue your hobbies and interests as well.
You also need adult company and perhaps some time alone now and then.
While your time may be a little more restricted, you should still make some time for yourself so you can recharge.
If possible, build a strong support system with family, friends and other parents.
You can even join single parent support groups. Some single parents are able to seek support in their faith communities, through neighbours and even social services.
There will be some rough patches and there may be times when you feel you can’t cope, and that is okay.
This is when you can reach out to people to support you and help you get through it.
TALKING TO YOUR CHILD
If you are a single parent due to a bereavement or a divorce, your child may also be affected by the strong emotions related to these events.
You can tell your child that you are sad and that it is okay for them to feel sad or angry.
Allow them to express how they feel as well. Assure them that none of what has happened is their fault.
Try and explain as best as possible, depending on the child’s age, what is going on.
You can also talk to them about some of the issues you will be facing as a single parent household and allow them to ask questions so they can understand.
Reassure them that they are loved.
Be as honest as possible without being negative about the other parent.
You can also look at having your child talk to a counsellor, especially if they are showing signs of emotional trauma or depression.
Statistically, children from single parent households are generally just as happy as children from two parent or dual parenting homes.
Being brought up in a loving environment where people care about him or her is the most important factor to a good outcome for the child.
So, whether you are a single parent, co-parenting or part of a two-parent family, all you really need apart from the basics is to show interest in your child.
Give them one on one time, appreciate the special moments together and shower them with love.
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