single parent

Single parent? Effective ways of raising happy kids

With the lack of a tangible support system, raising a child alone can get extremely demanding, stressful, and sometimes even overwhelming, despite the best of intentions.
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The fabric of a traditional family has undergone several stages of evolution over the past few decades. Earlier, the term ‘family’ represented the idea of a big household comprising children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and so on. Though this may still be the case in many households, the basic idea and structure of a family has now been trimmed down to a more nuclear setup, with single-parent families being more prevalent than ever before.

According to an old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” and raising a happy and well-rounded child isn’t an easy job. But what about those who have to undertake this mammoth task single-handedly, with no parenting partner around? Every parent strives to provide the best for their child, but when the responsibility solely rests on the shoulder of one individual, life can throw a new set of curveballs at every turn. With the lack of a tangible support system, raising a child alone can get extremely demanding, stressful, and sometimes even overwhelming, despite the best of intentions.

Yes, the scenario may not be ideal or perfect, and as a solo parent, it might be challenging to tune into your child’s needs at all times while trying to juggle all your responsibilities. Striking a balance between life, work and child-care can be unnerving and emotionally exhausting. That is why it is important to find ways to not only keep yourself strong during stressful moments but also be an inspiring role model for your children.

With a positive attitude and a few effective tips, you can not only make your parenting journey as a single parent easier but also raise joyful and well-rounded children.

Stay positive

At the core of raising a happy child is to stay happy and positive yourself. The challenges faced by a single parent are one too many. From running a household yourself to taking sole responsibility of your child’s welfare can be quite a daunting task. During such times, it is easy to lose your grip on maintaining a positive attitude, especially when things don’t go as planned. For this reason, it is important to practice self-affirmations that encourage you to stay positive and motivated. Talk to yourself kindly and say things like, “I’ve got this” or “I am a good parent.” Also, find the time to do things that bring you joy. It can be reading, exercising, or simply treating yourself to a spa day. Doing the things you love not only keeps you from slipping into negativity but also keeps you relaxed and stress-free.

Encourage your child to be independent

When you are a single parent, it is quite natural to feel overprotective towards your child. But sometimes, this feeling of overprotectiveness can come in the way of your child’s growth and sense of independence. Instead of smothering your child with care, allow them to explore the concept of independence. You can start by entrusting them with simple chores around the house and tidying up their room. When you do this, according to a study, you not only draw a line between being there and doing everything for them but also instil a sense of confidence and self-esteem in your child. When your child understands his responsibilities and takes initiative early on in life, it makes them better equipped to face challenges in the future.

Organise your finances

Raising a child on your own can be a nightmare if you don’t have your finances sorted. If you are a single parent, you might be tempted to pamper your child with gifts as a way of subconsciously filling the presumed void in their life. But this attitude can lead to nowhere in the long run and may make your child take things for granted. Since you are the sole breadwinner of the family, it is important to plan and spend your finances judiciously and cut out all unnecessary expenses. By doing so, you not only enable a secure future for your child but also teach them to be responsible with money.

Encourage good behaviour in your child

If you are a single parent as a result of separation or divorce, it might have a direct impact on your child. You might notice a sudden change in your child’s behaviour in the form of rebellion, indiscipline, aloofness, arguments, or throwing tantrums. An effective way to deal with such kind of challenging behaviour is to encourage good conduct. You can do so by showering your child with attention and appreciation when they behave well, instead of only reprimanding them for bad behaviour. You can also set an example for your child by displaying good habits and manners for them to emulate. When you see your child behaving well, acknowledge the same with positive feedback. Praising your child’s behaviour will not only encourage them to do more of it but also reinforce their self-esteem and confidence.

Keep your promises

When you are a single parent and already have too much on your plate, it might get difficult for you to keep a said promise due to lack of time, work commitments, or financial constraints. It might be easy promising your kid to take them to the park or buy them their favourite ice cream. But when you fail to live up to your promise, it might end up creating trust issues in your child and affect their happiness. On the other hand, when you keep your promises, however big or small, your child begins to respect and trust you. So the next time you promise something to your child, try not to let them down.

Spend quality time together

As a single parent, it is quite natural to deal with negative emotions such as, “Am I doing enough for my kid?”, “What if my child misses the other parent?” or “Is my child happy with me?” Although difficult, life as a single parent doesn’t have to be only stressful. It also means you are in full control of raising your children by immersing them in experiences that you feel are important. And one of the foremost rules of raising a happy child is to spend quality time with them. Positive and quality family time helps build a safe and nurturing environment for your kid to thrive—one where they feel loved and secure. Spending quality time with your children can be done anywhere and anytime, as long as you make a conscious effort to do so.

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