Single parents face all sorts of challenges. But whether a parent is single or parenting as a couple, a child’s happiness is one of the things that matters the most. If your child is happy, you are far more likely to be happy. If your child is not, how do you raise a child to be as happy as possible (in this crazy world) as a single parent today?
Find Families with Similar Circumstances
Both children and parents need socialization. Kids with kids, and adults with adults. Doing activities with families in similar situations (i.e., sleepovers, watching each other’s kids, etc.) are perfect opportunities for that kind of socialization. But alone time is important, too. Families in similar situations can help with that as well. Parents can take turns watching each other’s children so that the other parent can take a break for some personal time. Next week, the tables can be turned, and the other parent watches the kids. Getting several families involved in this kind of swap spreads out the load.
Congratulations for a Job Well Done
Because of the stress of single parenthood, people can frequently be a little too hard on their kids and themselves. You’re so busy juggling and balancing schedules and events that you might forget to take time out to congratulate your child on an accomplishment. It’s important as well to give yourself credit when credit is due. Teach your kids to complement each other.
Be Thankful and Teach Thankfulness
Sometimes, families with single parents may feel like they are missing out on certain things that other families might have or enjoy. The thing is, you need to teach your children that what you do have is special, and that they need to be thankful for it. There’s no sense in wishing for other circumstances. Take what you have, make the best of it, and count your blessings. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. But such is the challenge of raising a family in the world today.
Do you have your health? A roof over your head and four walls? Is there food on the table every day? Most people don’t think of being thankful for things such as these – but there are many out there that wish they had what you already have.
Provide Plenty of Attention, Praise, and Love
Though parenting couples and single parents both face a multitude of challenges and may feel that they are not providing their child with everything they would like to provide them with, this frame of mind can be more common with single parents. But your child doesn’t have to go to the most expensive summer camp, wear the basketball celebrity-promoted sneakers, go on the priciest outings, or receive the most lavish gifts to know that they are loved. Memories can be made through the simplest of experiences. Praise your child, make sure they know that they’re loved, and pay the appropriate amount of attention to them whenever you can.
Children Need Structure
Structure, schedules, and routines help a child be happier and take some of the stress out of a single parent household by providing predictability. And while routines and schedules may be easier to keep during the week (with school, work, afterschool activities, etc.), it’s important not to stray too far from the norm, even on weekends That said, it’s okay if part of your weekend routine consists of a picnic, relaxing in front of the TV, etc.
The Mind and Body Christian Health Group offers primary care for everyone from children all the way up to older adults, and everything in between. Whether you are a single parent or parenting as a couple, when you need advice or somewhere to turn, our team is here to help.