Parenting is hard. Single parenting is much harder.
When one is a single parent, priorities which are important in a two-parent relationship become even more important.
Try to keep the focus on the following priorities, which will help to ensure that your single-parent household is run in an organized fashion, and your family is strong and united.
- Focus on Children – Successful single parents make the family their highest priority, which can translate to sacrifice. Focus on being the best possible single parent, which can putting the needs of your children before your own.
- Positive and consistent discipline structure – Even if you don’t feel calm and strong, try to assert your discipline in a non-emotional, and assertive manner. Ensure that your discipline is consistent and ensure that your children are away of the consequences of their misbehavior. Threatened consequences have to be acted upon.
- Open communication. Successful single parents foster open communication – Ask your children how their day was. Ask them to identify the best part of their day, or maybe the worst. In any event, focus your energy on ensuring that they feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings and their activities.
- Organization of Home and Finance – Successful single parents manage the family needs well. If you don’t keep a calendar, you better start! Plan your week’s activities, and for every event, plan ahead. As for your home chores, again, planning is key! If cleaning the house in one day is not feasible, organize your week so that the cleaning is spread out in a realistic manner. Children should be assigned their own home chores, which will differ depending upon their age. Make them responsible for a task that is age-appropriate. It will teach them responsibility (and it will make your life a little easier). Follow-up to ensure that these assigned tasks are getting done. Once the tasks are ingrained into a habit, you wont have to worry about the “follow-up”.
- Make Time to care for yourself – the children are a priority. However, there are ways in which a situation can be a “win-win”. For example, substitute a night out with friends at a party for an after-dinner bowling party with friends and their children. You will all have a good time! Sometimes, however, you just need a break. Enjoy it, and allow the time to refresh your spirit.
- Try to maintain stabilizing forces such as bedtimes rituals, religious traditions, or other.
- Try to maintain a positive relationship with the children’s other parent, and, so long as it is feasible, encourage the children and the other parent, to be involved in each other’s lives.
- Even when you are faced with a challenging outlook, try to keep a positive outlook. Your perspective will color the attitude of your children, remember that!
- If you express anger or sadness in the presence of your children in a situation which did not merit those reactions, recognize the shortcoming and explain it. For example, if your children saw you lose your temper badly! in a traffic jam, take a moment and explain to the children the situation. Take a breath, and acknowledge to them that sometimes adults lose their temper, just like children, but that there is a better way to handle the situation, and tell them that you will demonstrate that “better way” next time you are in the same situation. Accept that you lost your temper and… move on.