The idea of the “typical” or “nuclear” family was outdated the moment it was introduced. In reality, there have always been millions of families with separated or single parents. The stigma around these scenarios implies that kids cannot be raised properly or be happy, but that simply isn’t true. It is possible, but successful parents follow these tips to ensure their kids have the best possible childhood.
Schedules and structure allow children to understand predictability while enjoying a sense of security. This lowers their stress as well as yours, but also adds a positive structure that builds responsibility. Bed, television, meal, play, and homework times are a cornerstone for happy families. That’s true for single parents and otherwise.
Love, Praise, and Attention
Every parent deals with financial challenges and the guilt of not always being around for their kids. Single parents have it harder in this regard, but it’s essential that you remember finances do not equal happiness for children.
Instead, focus on providing quality time when you have the time to give. Offering affection and creating wonderful memories are what will ensure their happiness throughout life. Low-cost activities like a picnic or baking cookies are all it takes to build happy memories and show your child you love them.
Children in single-parent homes may realize they lack some things that other kids have. Less money, dealing with rules set by a child custody and visitation lawyer, and having only one parent at school events become easily recognizable to children.
Instead of allowing them to focus on these life factors, teach them to be grateful for what they do have and to focus on the positives in their life. Helping them enjoy the little things, like a favorite food in their lunch or you watching their favorite TV show with them, sets them up to be happier individuals now and as adults.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Single parents are often harder on themselves than those with two parents in the picture. The juggling act you pull off everyday takes its toll, but you have to give yourself credit for what you accomplish. When you start appreciating yourself for your efforts, you can translate that to praising your child for theirs as well.
You can begin this process by scheduling a once a week compliment session before dinner. This teaches you to better support yourself while helping your child have better self-esteem, self-worth, and the ability to praise others for their good qualities or actions.
This is easier said than done, especially when custody battles are dragging out in court. Hiring experienced family law attorneys to handle complex aspects of a divorce, like QDRO and others can help take some of that stress off your shoulders, but it won’t eliminate all your worries.
When life is stressing you out, take a moment to spend some time with your child. Focus on a positive activity you both enjoy and do your best to let the weight of the world melt away. Showing your child that there are positive moments when times are tough will help them deal with struggles now and for the rest of their life.