Title: How To Be The Best Single Parent You CanAuthor:
"Broken home." This is a derogatory label that causes much pain and misunderstanding. Toooften, children living in single parent households have to contend with negative stereotypes andhurtful remarks made by Insensitive adults. Regardless of whether the single parent family existsas a result of divorce or death of the other parent, the child is clearly not responsible for thecircumstances. However, it is the child who often pays the price: the child who has to write anessay because a parent cannot afford Back to School night, the child who has to sit on the benchbecause he/she misses practices while visiting the other parent, the child who comes homecrying from school, sad when he doesn't know who to make a Father's Day card for because hisfather died. As adults - teachers, coaches, neighbors, family, and friends, we can change ourattitude, be more sensitive and compassionate, and recognize that SINGLE PARENTS RAISEGOOD KIDS TOO!It is difficult and challenging to be a parent today, and it is even more difficult to raise childrenalone. We as parents are often overwhelmed and lacking the parenting skills necessary to do agood job. But good solid parenting has less to do with the number of parents in the home andmore to do with the quality of parenting. Whether the single parent household is headed by amother, father, or a grandparent, raising children alone is an enormous task. Why should wecare? Because the statistics tell us that most of us will live in, know of or be involved with a singleparent family at some point.Since 1970, the number of children living in a single parent family has doubled. In fact, statisticsfrom 1992 indicate that single parent families represent 30% of U.S. households, while 25%represent two parent households. Based on current trends, there are predictions that upwards of70% of children born since 1980 will spend some time living in a single parent home before their18th birthday. These children are not doomed to failure. The following strategies are offered tothe single parent who is determined to raise a good kid despite the myths of doom and gloom.
1. ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
Adults and children do better when single parenthood is perceivedas a viable option and not as a pathological situation. Start with a positive attitude and focus onthe benefits of single parenting, such as less conflict and tension in the home. Many singleparents treasure their newfound autonomy and independence and feel hopeful about the future.
2. YOU ARE THE BOSS
Establish firm, clear boundaries that leave no doubt that you are theboss In the home. Single parents (and two parent households) often make the mistake of allowingchildren to become equal partners or peers, and too many children are running the show. Thisloads to serious individual and family problems. Children need limits. Use consistent disciplinethat provides clear expectations and guidelines for behavior and rely on natural and logicalconsequences. Learn to say, "I love you enough to say NO to you.1' (My kids hate that one).
3. DEAL WITH OVERLOAD
The single parent frequently feels overwhelmed by theresponsibility, tasks, and emotional overload associated with raising children alone. It is extremelyimportant to manage time wisely and to ask for help when necessary. Assign children appropriatechores and tasks. Arrange car pools when possible, and ask other parents for help when needed.My children would not have been able to continue in club soccer were it not for the kindness ofother parents providing rides to practices and games.
4. RECOGNIZE THAT YOU ARE ONE PERSON AND YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOUCAN.
No matter how loving and competent you are, you are still only one person and you are