On Your Own: Being a Good Single Parent

IMAGE Whether you are a single parent due to the death of a spouse, divorce, abandonment, or choice, you can provide a happy, healthy childhood for your children. Your road as a single parent may be different than those who share this task with another, but your mission is the same—to provide a loving and nurturing environment for your children, helping them become strong, independent adults. The road of a single parent may consist of obstacles such as loneliness, grief, hurt, sadness, rejection, guilt, insecurity, and depression . When accompanied by financial pressures, hectic schedules, and the stress of everyday activities, these feelings can easily become overwhelming. Your children may experience many of the same feelings, while challenged with the normal issues of growing up. It takes time and the support of family and friends to work through many of the emotions resulting from a spouse's or parent's death, or losing a spouse or parent through divorce.In spite of the obstacles, the experiences of a single parent family don't have to lead to a dead end. Instead, many single parents discover new strength and independence. Children, too, can learn and grow from a single parent home. They have a great opportunity to contribute to their families and learn more about their own worth and abilities.

Facing New Challenges

Bob had been married to Susan for five years when a tragic and sudden illness took her life. At the time he couldn't imagine how he was going to raise Katie, their 18-month-old daughter, by himself. Three years later, he is admired by all who know him (most importantly, by Katie) as the best dad in the world. From potty training to Mother Goose story time to coloring at the kitchen table, he has learned how to turn everyday tasks into special memories with his daughter."There isn't anything I don't enjoy doing with her. I guess if you're willing to learn, anything can be fun." Bob never imagined he would find himself in the position of being a single parent, but is determined to provide a happy and healthy childhood for his daughter Katie.

Having the Right Attitude

A single parent has a choice to view their situation as a tragedy that warrants bitterness, anger, and resentment, or a situation that provides opportunities for new experiences and growth. Children will usually follow their parent's lead. If the parent develops a victim attitude, the children will most likely feel victimized. However, if the parent demonstrates an optimistic attitude, the children will be more likely to have a more hopeful outlook. Attitude can make the difference between happiness and misery.

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