Here are some guidelines for single parents to make the most of your family life and situation. They might seem general at first glance and it will be up to you to find practical ways to put them into practice in and for your family.
Tip # 1 : IT IS A GREAT THING!
- Value being and having a single parent
- Rediscover and redefine your family life, roles and responsibilities.
- Tackling the new and uncertain future ahead together with gusto.
- Make it a partnership and dynamic team effort. DO NOT BE A LONER OR ISOLATE!
Tip # 2: LIFE GOES ON!
- Foster closeness, bond and connection
- This goes for you and your child/children
- Estranged spouse, divorced parent, family, friends, new role-models, support groups, school etc.
- Set the rules and stage for success, socializing and contact with others – you are not an island – DO NOT GO IT ALONE OR EVEN TRY TO! IT IS NOT WORTH IT… ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT!
Tip # 3: FOSTER CONFIDENCE, NOT POWERLESSNESS
- Enable and empower yourself and your family to succeed
- Individually and as a new family unit
- Everyone allowed to deal/cope with situations at their own pace, time and in their own way NO TWO JOURNEYS ARE THE SAME
Tip # 4: MAKE EMOTIONAL RECOVERY A PRIORITY FOR ALL OF YOUR, INDIVIDUALLY AND TOGETHER TO MOVE FORWARD
- Single parenting is a skill-set that develops and refines over time
- Make it a priority to be the caretaker of all areas and aspects of family life, including feelings and emotions – they are real and should not be denied!
Tip # 5: BE ENGAGING, INVOLVED AND FAIR
- Spend time with your kids as often as you can and make every moment count!
- Enter boldly un-chartered waters where you and/or your kids have never been before and embrace your new status and life as a new family
Tip # 6: ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE AND AVAILABLE
- Remember the old, without dwelling on it, embrace the new, discovering it together
- Be the helping hand when your kids need it (even when they/you think they do not!)
- Connect with other peers and adults, family and friends
- Be spontaneous, honest and have some FUN together
Tip # 7: BE THE ROCK AND PILLAR OF STRENGHT (TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST, SO YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF OTHERS (BETTER!)
- When things are rough, changing and unfamiliar, dangerous, engaging and tune in to the needs of you personally and those of your child/children (whether only child or multiple children).
- Everyone in the family matters – make it so!
Tip # 8: TRY AND SEE THIS FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES AND FROM YOUR CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE AS WELL
Tip # 9: REESTABLISH LASTING CONNECTIONS, BONDS AND TIES THAT DEFINES WHO THIS FAMILY IS AND WHAT THIS FAMILY WANTS, SET PRIORITIES AND HAVE A PLAN
Tip # 10: Encourage confidence and have some fun, rebuild and strengthen one-step at a time, laugh together, empower and engage your family
Tip # 11: Sometimes follow your kids’ lead, let them take on roles and responsibilities and share the load
Tip # 12: Take charge when necessary and discipline accordingly, consistently and fairly
Tip # 13: Learn to love what you hate and try new things together, set boundaries and guidelines that make sense to all of you
Tip # 14: Accept that emotions, roles and people change and that strong feelings, even disagreements are part of life (their and yours)
Tip # 15: Sometimes rethink and revisit what you are doing as a single parent – rethink the way you are disciplining, cool off, use good judgment
Tip # 16: Always tell the truth! Be honest, trust and respect each other.
Tip # 17: Respecting each others being, preferences, sharing and socializing with others are all important lessons to learn in the family and at home to prepare better for life
Tip # 18: Recharge your own energies and load your batteries, take time and space for yourself to better help and support others
Tip # 19: Make the most of every opportunity to show your family that you love, care, support and champion their best interests
Tip # 20: BE YOURSELF! Nothing more is required. You do not have to be a super-single parent, hero, warrior or champion… just you. The loving parent that your kids want and deserve to have!
You will surely be able to come up with a couple of your own rules, guidelines and family-set of play/game-rules, add your own identity and family flavor to. MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT! It does not all have to be an uphill battle. Being and becoming a new family is an exciting journey, even if it starts out a little rough… make time for each other and remember that you are never traveling down this path alone. Many have come before you and many will still yet come.