How to be the perfect single parent for your child !
Being a parent is not an easy job but being a single parent doubles up the responsibilities, duties and the work load. Hence, it increases the challenge of being a perfect or rather a good parent for your child in the first place. A single parent has to fulfill the duties of being a mother as well as a father.
Thus, fulfilling all the responsibilities of being a parent whether emotional, physical or financial. Proper bringing up of the child is very crucial and needs your attention to the fullest. The way one brings up his or her child shapes up the future of the child and the family.
Single parenting is a very delicate yet vital issue that needs to be thought upon wisely taking along the problems faced by the child and the single parent, its benefits and tips that could help you in managing your role as a single parent nicely.
What is Single Parenting
The basic definition of single parenting is a family where the child ( or children) is brought up by the parent alone without any partner. There are various circumstances and reasons that lead to raising children as a single parent.
The most common of these are cases of separation of the partners, divorce, birth of the child without wedlock where one of the partners is not ready for the responsibility of having a child, spouse works abroad, death of a parent or cases where people prefer adopting children and raising them as a single parent.
Hence, in the simplest language single parenting is parenting done by a single individual without any support of the other partner.
Raising a child individually makes you face a lot of problems whether financially, physically or emotionally. It may leave the single parent stressed, tired and distressed.
These problems are different in for a single mother and a single father as the challenges are different in both the cases but one should never lose his or her temper and handle each situation calmly and wisely because whatever you think, speak and act, reflects later on the personality of your child or children.
Parenting Tips for Single Mother
Being a single parent is not an easy task and sometimes the financial and emotional pressure can make you stressful, but as single mother you should know how to tackle the stress and pressure. There are numerous challenges faced by single mothers, but all you need to tackle these is patience and peace of mind.
Challenges faced by Single Mothers:
- When raising a child or children as a single parent, every responsibility of the child falls upon your shoulders whether it is their financial needs, physical needs or their emotional needs. From their day to day care to the facilities they would need, you need to take care of everything.
- As a mother you are automatically inclined to provide the emotional support they would need but taking care of the physical as well as the financial needs simultaneously can be stressful sometimes. As fulfilling your children’s physical needs by being near to them can affect the fulfillment of their financial needs. You may look up to the single fathers who manage well by fulfilling the child’s emotional and financial needs and take ideas from them as to how can you fit into both the roles.
- Also as mother you may find it a little more difficult to be away from your children during your working hours as nothing can take the place of the warmth and care that your mother gives you when she is around. Naturally, God has made mothers in such a manner that they may compromise on anything but are always inclined to be near their children. In such a case fulfilling all needs of your children becomes very difficult.
- All the work load along with the emotional stress can leave you way too tired to focus on the personality development of your child. Due to added fatigue and pressure you may tend to become more irritated which may affect the behavior of your child or children.
- Sometimes, as a single parent you may need a helping hand and support from someone for emotional stability and in lack of that you might have behavioral changes that may affect the bond between you and your child.
Tips to handle the Challenges:
- Shower your children with love, praise and support. Inspite of all the work, spend some time with them everyday where you can read, play , simply talk about their day or help them in their studies.
- Schedule the day as to when your children should wake up, have their meals and go to bed. So as to make them realize the importance of proper routine and being punctual, in life.
- Try to get your parents or your in-laws help in raising your child, so that all the pressure is not on you. In their presence you will not worry about your child’s well being and can concentrate on your work fully. Also, in case of babysitters or daycare centres you cannot rely completely on them as to the way they would treat your child and take care of him or her.
- If you are not able to get your parents or in laws involved, then you may opt for a caregiver who is wise, reliable and tested by your acquaintances.
- Be a little bit strict but not rude in some things like teaching your child the way to speak with others, giving proper time to studies, limiting their screen time and playing time, etc.
- Give yourself some self-time by planning something with your friends. Include regular exercise in your routine along with a proper diet and sound sleep. While going out with your friends for a few hours in a week, you may arrange for a caregiver.
- Talk to other single parents to know the way they handle single parenting and their tips and ideas. Also, discuss it out with your friends, relatives, siblings or neighbors so that the stress does not build up. Reach out to the single fathers to know the way they cope with the household chores as well as their jobs.
- Talk to your child about your day. Tell them to their level of understanding if something is not going right in your life as it strengthens the bond between you two and gives them the confidence to share their troubles with you. Discuss about the everyday challenges with your child but in a lighter and optimistic tone.
- If your child asks you about your partner, do not avoid or ignore as it may hurt them or stress them out. Listen to what your child has to say and answer their questions honestly without any negativity or useless details about your partner. Remind them that inspite of everything your family is complete and you would love them always.
- When being raised by a single parent, your child may have negative thoughts about the other gender. To avoid this set positive examples of the opposite gender in your family, media or your community. Also, introduce your child to your friends from the opposite gender who might serve as role models.
- Keep a tab on your children’s activities, behavioral changes, friends, academic performance, preferences to know whether they are fine or are there any sort of depressing, low self-esteem, being socially isolated thoughts in their mind. In such a case, you will need to have a clear conversation with your child. You can also take the help of a counselor to handle things much nicely.
Parenting Tips for Single Father
Just like a single mother, single fathers also face challenges while raising their children. The challenges faced by single fathers are a little bit different but the tips to handle these challenges are more or less the same as those for single mothers.
These single fathers can discuss and reach out to other single parents who have managed to raised their children well in all the aspects including financial, emotional and social responsibilities. Some of the challenges faced by single dads are:
- Single fathers may fulfill the financial needs of their children completely but they may lack when it comes to their children’s emotional and physical needs. They may tend to get engrossed so much in their work that they may forget about the emotional requirement of their kids.
- Single fathers may hesitate talking about the problems they face with their counterparts or their friends.
- Single dads may fail in executing the rules and schedules that they have made because proper implication of these requires regular checks. This can be an issue with single mothers as well.
- Single fathers may also have inhibitions while having conversations with their children. They may not be able to discuss several matters and issues openly with their children which is very essential to connect with your children at an emotional level.
- Handling household chores may prove to be a difficulty for single dads. They may also feel hesitant while asking for help from relatives, siblings, neighbors, etc. Hence, for household chores they may entirely depend on maids or caretakers which may cause problems in various circumstances.
- Single fathers may tend to ignore the changes in their children’s behavior, thoughts and attitude as they tend to be more engrossed in their work because they want to fulfill every financial need of their child.
Tips to Handle the Challenges
The tips to handle the challenges faced by single fathers as a single parent is more or less the same as those for single mothers. Some more tips to be kept in mind by single fathers are :
- Emotional and physical needs of your child are as important as their financial needs. Hence, do not ignore them. Give them the attention they want. Interact with them as much as you can. Play, read, talk and indulge in stuff with them to strengthen your bond. Children in their initial years need utmost care and attention along with the warmth of your love.
- Do not hesitate talking about the problems you are facing with your counterparts because they too might have faced the same issues and would be having a solution to handle these issues. By discussing your problems you will lighten up your mood and avoid any stress that could have built due to over thinking.
- You should keep a tab on your children’s behavior, their friends, thoughts and attitude. Also check regularly whether they are having their meals on time , going to bed on time and are doing all their chores on time. This would help you in knowing whether something is troubling your children or are they mentally at peace with their surrounding.
- Single fathers should openly and interact with their children. They should ask their children as to how their day was and should tell about their own day as well. Discuss about their hobbies, choices, friends, favorites, etc. This will make your children more confident about sharing their problems with you.
- Single fathers should not depend entirely on others for managing household chores. They should learn some of the stuff, so that the children do not feel the need of having a mother. They should be somewhat independent as a single parent in all the chores and can discuss their problems with single mothers who manage work as well household.
Parenting Tips for Adopted Child
Some individuals prefer adopting children and then raising them as a single parent. They do not want to get married due to their respective perspectives on the idea of marriage. In some cases it may also happen that the individual is fond of kids but due to medical issues, is not able to have one. Hence, in such cases people opt for adopting children and raise them solely as a single parent.
Some parenting tips for proper raising of the adopted children as a single parent are as follows:
- Keep ready all the things that your child would need once he or she comes home, before their arrival, as adopting takes time.
- You should have knowledge regarding your child’s past life. If he or she is a newborn baby, then you will be the only parent he would ever remember but if it is otherwise, then you should be knowing about his life before you adopted him or her.
- By knowing about your child’s past, you would be able to find better ways to establish attachment between you two. Also, you would have a better understanding about your child’s nature and behavior.
- Keep your child’s room clean, tidy and comforting. Do not overdo anything as you do not know the preferences and choices of your kid. Keep everything moderate. Give the room a calming and comforting touch with soft and young girls. Once the child is at home, you can take ideas from him or her and then decorate the room in accordance to them.
- The child may not feel comfortable sleeping alone, so you may ask them to sleep with you or if they are not comfortable with sharing your bed then you may have a small bed for them near your own bed.
- Involve your friends and family in welcoming the kid. Also make everyone interact with the child, so that he or she does not feel alone and gets comfortable soon. Do not burden the child with questions. Just talk about safe and soothing stuff like hobbies, favorites, etc.
- Keep the homecoming celebration a low-key affair. Too much of high beat celebration will make the child anxious and stressful. You can organize a big party after the child gets comfortable with everyone and everything.
- Be close to your child. Shower him or her with love, care and warmth. The child should never feel like an outsider and should never feel like he or she has been adopted. Take care of his or her needs and choices.
- Help your child in knowing everything and everyone. Help him or her in adjusting and give them a sense of being in their own home.
- Take your time in forming the right bond, creating the attachment you always wanted to with your child. Do not hurry up things. Let things flow at their own speed.
- Being a single parent, you need to take care of yourself. Do not stress over things which are not in your control.You both are new to each other and need time for things to be in the right place. Have a healthy diet and proper sleep.
Is Being a Single Parent Restricting your Child’s Emotional Growth?
Whether a child is raised by a single parent or a co-parent, this cannot determine the child’s emotional growth. The only thing that decides whether a child is having proper emotional growth or not is “parenting”. Unless and until your parenting is right, your child will have proper emotional growth.
All the problems that a child faces while being brought up by a single parent can be tackled well. Also, a child that is brought up by co-parenting will face some different type of issues. Being a single parent is sometimes the only choice one has.
Having a single earner at home may sometimes give rise to financial issues which may result in low self-esteem, increasing frustration and anger. A child may also feel lonely, socially isolated, abandoned but all this can be handled well with proper management.
You should concentrate on your work as well as your child because as a single parent, you are the mother as well as the father.
All that affects the child and his or her emotional growth is the style of parenting. Raising your child as a single parent makes your child independent as it gives them a sense of handling things on your own even though there is nobody to help as they would see you fulfilling the roles of both the parents. Children in single parenting, become highly responsible and enjoy a very warm relation with their parent.
Hence, all that affects a child’s emotional growth is the style of parenting whether you are a single parent or a co-parent.
Single Parenting Vs Co-Parenting. Which is Better?
In co-parenting, both the partners are equally responsible for raising the child. Both work in partnership fulfilling all the needs of the children. Like every coin has two sides, both co-parenting and single parenting have negative and positive aspects.
It is not possible to say which is better as it all depends on the style of parenting and circumstances. One cannot fight the circumstances in any case and has to mould in accordance to them. The one who brings out the best in their child under any circumstances is the best parent, no matter a co-parent or a single parent.
In co-parenting a child gets to know the love of a father as well as a mother. He or she shares different equations with his or her mother and father. All the needs of the child are fulfilled without any excessive tension as the load is not on a single partner.
On the contrary when you are a single parent, the needs of the child needs proper attention and can sometimes prove to be a stressing task but it makes the child self-dependent, highly responsible, mentally strong and makes him or her realize that everything in life does not happen according to one’s wish and in any case one should never give up , thus finding a way to survive in all the circumstances and come out as winner !
Sometimes, it is hard to maintain discipline when you are a single parent. Also, as a parent you may become over protective about the child. The income may cause several problems. Sometimes loneliness may take a toll over your mindset. In such conditions, all you need is to be optimistic and be mentally strong.
Never ever let you being a single parent, be a barrier for your child’s development and take a toll over your emotions. Let it be an example for the world to learn from.
In co-parenting, the child gets to witness more arguments between his or her parents, may get ignored as the parents may try to put the duties on each other, discipline problems may as well arise in co-parenting.
Hence, both co-parenting and single-parenting has their benefits and limitations. It all depends on how the individual plays the role of being a co-parent or single parent. The better role played, the better bringing up of the child, the better parenting.
Hope, this article and the tips provided would be of great help to you in bringing up your child as a good parent, whether you are a single parent or a co-parent.