Single parenthood can be complicated by social, financial and legal factors. While single moms or dads may feel that they are alone. They are not. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 40% of the more than four million babies born each year are out-of-wedlock births. While out-of-wedlock births are becoming more common and more socially acceptable, children of single parents still face challenges and are more likely to be victims of poverty. For single parents wanting to raise emotionally and physically healthy children, here are a few tips:
Maintain Positive Relationships With Family Members of the Opposite Gender
Children in single parent households want relationships with their non-custodial parents. It gives them a sense of completeness. In the absence of this relationship, children will grow to resent both their custodial and non-custodial parents for unresolved feelings of isolation and abandonment. If the non-custodial parent cannot be involved, due to distance, incarceration, physical or financial limitations, technology and the postal service can help, but if the non-custodial parent does not wish to be involved, parental surrogates in the form of loving aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins are wonderful alternatives.
Always Think and Say Positive Things
While your relationship may be over with the mother or father of your child, his or her relationship is not. Just as you would in divorce, you should not say negative things about or argue in front of your child’s other parent. Make yourself a positive traits list. When you child asks about their parent, always explain their nice qualities, such as intelligence, athleticism, persistence or reliability. In the long run, your child will not equate any of the traits they share with another parent as negative or damaging to their relationship with their custodial parent.
Money is the root of most conflicts between strangers, family and couples. So, when it comes to issues of expenses and child support, never discuss or make these financial transactions in front of your children. By maintaining the discussion of money an adult issue, children are not exposed to the fears about finances and possible court disputes over the same.
Set Consistent Goals
Whether you make minimum wage or work for a Fortune 500 company, children need to know what your hopes for them are. Whether they are to grow to be President of the United States, a novelist or the next greatest scientific mind; however, parents should not press for inconsistent goals. Be sure that a discussion, if possible, is had with a non-custodial parent about grades, sports and even other extracurricular activities, such as Boys or Girls Scouts. Mapping out and agreeing on a plan for your child’s future will eliminate mixed signals and help them focus on their interests and desires for their own futures.
Remember You Are A Parent- First
Modern parents want their children to like them and establish parent-child relationships that are more friendships than guidance. Parents should never forget that they have obligations to protect, nurture and discipline their children when necessary. In the absence of this, a single parent will find their children do not respect rules, the law, the community or their parent. Problems of truancy, negative behaviors and even criminal activity can be linked to parental inconsistencies and failure to properly follow-through.
Single parenthood does not come with an annual awards ceremony or a badge or a cash rebate. It is hard to raise a child alone; however, it is not impossible for a single person to raise a successful and mentally healthy child.