Surviving as a Single Parent: Seven Simple Suggestions to Make Your Life Easier

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By Danielle Hollister
Nov 8, 2004, 23:51


Summary: Danielle Hollister is the Quotations Editor at BellaOnline and Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine.

[Note: The Guest Authors’ area is made available as a courtesy to our readers. The advice and opinions expressed therein are not necessarily those of, and their appearance on the website is not an endorsement of the articles, their contents, or their authors.]

1 – Forgive even if you will never be able to Forget –

Let go of grudges you may hold against your child’s other parent, who is absent from BOTH of your lives. Holding onto feelings of anger will not change your situation and will probably consume a great deal of your energy – energy you need to devote to creating a positive environment for your child. If you dwell on your disappointment with and/or dislike of the father or mother of your child – chances are your child will sense your feelings and suffer in some way from your negative attitude.

2 – Make the most of everything you have –

Even if you do not have a lot of money, you do have your child and your love and your time to give to him or her. Try to remember that monetary wealth and material possessions are not the most important items in your child’s life. Your love, support and time together mean much more to them. You can have fun for free. Activities like – going for a walk or a bike ride, playing at the park, coloring, painting, singing, or dancing – will thrill your child just as much as spending money to go to an amusement park, an arcade or a toy store.

3 – Be the best parent you can possibly be –

Give as much as you can without setting goals that are unrealistic for one parent to achieve. Don’t beat yourself up for what cannot be. Do recognize what you can do to create a good life for your child to the best of your abilities.

4 – Develop a network of reliable resources – Families are not biological.

Surround yourself and your child with friends you know and trust – people who care about both of you. ‘Aunts’ and ‘Uncles’ and even ‘Grandparents,’ who are not blood-related can be just as beneficial to your child as actual biological family members. The ‘family’ you create for your child can provide him or her with the same kind of love and support as a traditional family. They can also help you with your responsibilities as a single parent. Let them play an active role in your child’s life. Learn to turn to your ‘family’ when you need a break. Nobody should have to go it alone and you will probably be able to be a better parent by relying on your ‘family’ of close friends to support you and your child.

5 – Take responsibility for your life today –

Remember whatever lead you to where you are today, you are responsible for another life – the innocent life of a child, who didn’t ask to be born. Your child is not responsible for the experiences or events that made you become a single parent. Your child is completely dependent upon you through no choice of their own. Don’t let them down or hold them accountable for your actions (or the actions of their absent parent). They are powerless and vulnerable to the possibly less-than-ideal consequences they face as the child of a single parent. Your role and influence in their life is paramount to their chances of becoming a happy, productive, successful adult. They need you more than their words will ever tell.

6 – Set up daily rituals and regular routines –

Your child needs stability and security. One way to provide this is by developing a daily routine. Simple things like – going to the park every Sunday afternoon, eating dinner together each night, sharing a treat before nap time or reading a book together before bed every night, will become activities that your child looks forward to and can count on to occur with regularity.

7 – Be consistent and dependable –

Create realistic rules and a standard of discipline that you stick to all the time. If you’re consistent with your child, he or she will learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not. They will also learn what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. If you’re dependable, they will know that they can always count on you to help them with their homework, be there for dinner or tuck them in bed at night. They have to be able to depend on you. You’re the most important person in their life. Try to remember that no matter how tired you are at the end of the day or how frustrated you may become when they’re fussy – They need you to be there for them. You should cherish every moment with your child – they are the best blessings on earth.

Danielle Hollister is the Quotations Editor at BellaOnline and Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine

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