Being a good single parent is a challenge. We have a great responsibility to effectively educate our children so that they grow up healthy - physically, mentally, and emotionally. We must be prepared to carry out this task with little help, while also attending to our personal, professional, and familial commitments. Below you will find five ideas to inspire better parenting.
|Do Not Pretend To Be Both Mom And Dad When You Are Only One Person.|
Often times single parents think they need to "duplicate themselves,” being both a father and mother at the same time. "The all mighty.” This is impossible and unhealthy for parents and for children. If you are a father, be a father. If you are a mother, be a mother. This will avoid confusing children and will not foster the idea that, in the future, they will have to play the role of father and mother in one person. The clearer our verbal and visual messages are, the more likely our children will grow with full understanding and without confusion of any kind. It is possible that the "absent" party, the father or mother, can be a conflict for adults - but this should not be a problem for children. Children are born with a predisposition for "adaptive behavior,” meaning they are flexible, creative, and witty. Do not let a rigid ideal defeat their natural adaptive behavior, which is essential for them to continue their life in an evolutionary manner.
|Do Not Feel Alone. Seek Support.|
Meet other parents who are single like you. This can be of great help. You can also participate in a support group for parents without partners, which will be very useful in discovering successful strategies for similar situations in which you are living. Attend, at least once a month, a private consultation with a professional therapist so you can express all the distresses you feel while supporting the healthy growth of your children.
|Have Contingency Plans Ready.|
Do not wait for your children to have a fever to find out that you do not have medicine on hand. It is important to be prepared for any emergency. Remember that our children receive our anxieties, fears, insecurities and stress. Educate yourself on how to be forewarned of ailments for the health of your children as well as your own health. Have an "emergency list" of friends, relatives, or people you trust so they can assist in cases of sudden emergencies.
|What It Is To Be Imperfectly Perfect|
Pretending to be a perfect single parent is not advisable. No one can achieve perfection and this would create a misconception for our children about adult life. Perfect parenting for single mothers and fathers truly is: IMPERFECT. Our children see us as vulnerable, but they never feel guilty about our state of vulnerability. It demonstrates that we are human, and that we sometimes feel fear in difficult times, but these fears do not prevent us from advancing. In the contrary, our fears inspire us to develop the courage to face problems with faith. That when problems appear, they are welcome, because they stimulate us to develop the part of our brain responsible for producing "ideas and solutions." Therefore, problems exist to help us adapt and evolve.
|Our Children Imitate Us|
Our children get their cues from us. They learn from the examples we give them, and this is a good opportunity to motivate them to imitate the best of us. Inspire in them positive values or their life, and to also contribute positive behaviors in their future families and communities. Parents are an important influence on the lives of children, and we must be always aware of the role models we are. There is nothing better for our children than for us to provide opportunities where they are exposed to situations that allow them to interact with children from other ethnic groups and cultures. This is necessary in helping them to develop human, emotional, and intellectual values hat will prepare them to face the challenges of a world that is growing in complexity.