Sunday, July 01, 2007

Self-work makes sense

Many single parents feel this powerful tug. It is the tug of needing to get into a relationship. There is a belief attached to this tug. The belief is that when a relationship is struck up, then there will be happiness and satisfaction. There will finally be some help with parenting. There will financial help. There will be companionship that cna be counted on.

This tug makes a lot of sense. However, this tug can get so intoxicating that the most important thing can be forgotten: yourself.

What cannot be forgotten in the single parenting life is the self-work. This comes in two forms. First, self-work is similar to character development, self-discipine, and self-confrontation. These are hard things. and it may seem that the hard work of healing is work enough. Thing is, these are the same thing.

Second, self-work is taking time to be a human. That might mean NOT being a parent for a few moments and instead spend some time being a person. You might need some decent childcare in order to pull this off, but it will be worth it.

Self-work through discpline and treating yourself will go a long way to toward preparing you for that wonderful person who might be coming your way. At the same time, it will prepare you for being on your own should that person not come your way. It's a no lose way to live.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mosaic Parenting

Single parents do not have luxury of the other parent there with them to share the parenting load. It is by definition this way. So, in order to provide what is missing, the single parent has to get creative and do some mosaic parenting.

Mosaic parenting is giving your child access to bits and pieces of people who offer parent-like qualities. Teachers, coaches, youth ministers etc all help. Uncles, aunts, older cousins, grandparents are in the mix as well.

It is important to provide positive adult connections to children that go beyond yourself. It is not that you are inadequate, but rather that the diversity of positive adult relationships provides a net of strength that no one person is capable of giving.

Go ahead, do some mosaic parenting.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Birthdays and Mother's Day: What's A Kid To Do?

Click here to read a great article on Birthdays and Mother's Day for Single Mothers.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Smart Single Parents Speak #4: Guard Your Kids From Media Driven Loneliness

What's more important than your children? Of course, nothing. There is nothing in the world that would be worth trading for your kids.

And yet, sometimes we fail to guard our kids. We leave them alone emotinoally when we should be engaging them. Now, children are not going to up and scream, "Help me, I feel alone." Rarely will a child disclose feeling alone. In fact, they might not even recognize that they are alone becasue they are kept at bay with media.

TV, internet, texting and IMing can fill the lonely spaces in the heasrts of our children, but these technologies do not fill that space very well.

No child needs to be left alone with the internet. Here is what I mean:

The internet is unfiltered, which means that kids need to make choices that are often times beyond their capacity. There is fear (though it might be experienced as excitement) when they face something they do not understnad or something that is dangeorus. Parental engagement is super important when it comes to the internet.

Furthermore, media is impersonal. Media driven lonleiness is often pervasive and undetected because the child is soothed by the media. Don't think that because your child is not complaining he or she is not lonely.

Guard your kids from media driven lonliness.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Smart Single Parents Speak #3: Make time for yourself

Do you ever run out of gas? How often do you have absolutely nothing to give, and then that one last request comes in and you blow a gasket? Can you feel your blood boiling all the time, not because you're an angry person, but because there is too much list at the end of the day?

You need a break.

You might think you're invincible, but you're probably headed for a heart attack.

Take a break. You need a little refueling time. Hot bath with candles going. Cup of copffee in silence. A quick dive over to the sporting goods store or maybe the local craft store. Maybe you need a whole day. Whatever it is, you might just relieve enough pressure to make it through the next week.

Oh, that selfish you say?

Think about it like your car. You never think your car is selfish when you have to fill it up with gas. No, it just makes sense. Now, if you just spilled gass all over the ground like it didn't matter, then that is wasteful and selfish. But just doing for the car what it needs in order for it to run properly, that is not selfish.

It is not selfish to do what your body, mind, and spirit need in order to operate properly. Now, probably don't need three weeks in Maui (although it would be nice), but you might need a day to yourself. Find a way to get it.

Everyone will be better off if you do.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How do you know?

How do parents know what their children are doing?

There is a lot of research out there that says that parent monitoring predicts parent knowledge of their kid's behavior. It makes sense, right? Watch them and keep tabs and then you will know.

But there is a problem. Recent and more sophisticated research says that the number one way parents know what their kids (teens in the study I am thinking about) are doing is that their kids tell them what they are doing.

So, the question is, what kind of relationship would predict a child desiring to disclose information to his or her parents?

Any thoughts?