Nobody ever said single parenting is easy. As parents, we all learn with time. However, too often, the pressure of single parenting can be so overwhelming that it’s easy to make mistakes.
Are you one of these single parents? Learn how you can avoid being one:
The Emotional Patient
Most single parents try to be a good friend to their children, which is a good thing. However, a problem arises when single dads or moms see their children as a source of emotional support. Children of single parents need stability and security. A divorce or the death of a parent can be a particularly traumatic experience for them.
No matter how mature or old your children are, avoid making them your confidante on issues such as how much money you have or what a lousy day you had. Don’t rob them of their time to be children. It is unfair to burden them with issues that are difficult for them to handle. If you need to speak to someone, speak to your friends or a counselor.
The Guilt Tripper
As a single parent, it is easy to feel guilty about many things. Not being around when your children need you, not being able to help them with their homework, and so on. The danger with feeling guilty all the time is that some single parents tend to develop a lower self esteem that they may pass on to the children. Don’t be hard on yourself. Learn to take the ups and downs in your stride. And, by all means, don’t try to bolster your self-image by fishing for compliments about what kind of parent you are.
The Permissive Parent
Children need as much love and attention as you can give them. However, some single parents make the mistake of being too permissive and never correct their children when it’s necessary.
Research has shown that the children brought up in overly permissive parenting styles may develop behavioral problems because they do not easily accept responsibility.
Be firm and know where to draw the line. Shower your children with affection but set clear rules and limits. This, of course, does not mean being harsh or too authoritarian. Perfect the art of saying “I love you but a NO means a NO.”
Single parenting can be such an overwhelming experience that many parents simply forget to take care of themselves. With all the effort and sacrifice required to handle regular tasks such as meals and activities, it’s no surprise that many single parents get burned out. Don’t be a martyr. Your children require your time and energy and the only way to sustain it is by allotting some time for yourself.
Pamper yourself from time to time, be it writing in your journal, listening to music, or working out in the gym. Arrange for a babysitter or a trusted friend to look after your children when you are away. Look at it not just as time goofing off, but very important re-charging time so you can get back to the difficult job of being a great dad.