New Family Unit
Challenges and rewards: letting go of the old and embracing the new, also involved moving beyond the past, breaking ties, and moving on. As mentioned earlier, this causes a lot of stress and anxiety (especially for the kids). (“Single Parenting – Becoming the Best Parent for Your Child!”) It is journeying into the unknown, uncertain and unchartered waters and territory.
As a member of this new family situation and context, unit, everyone has a role to play and a contribution to make. Whether you are in an only child or multiple children situation, you will feel the weight of this one on your shoulder. These children’s lives are entrusted and loaned to you to champion, enable, empower, and foster. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) You are all they have. You are the one left behind. Some children cope with changes, loss, and upheaval better than others. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) NO TWO KIDS ARE THE SAME.
Dealing with fights, rebellious behavior, bad grades, even isolation and detachment, can be hard at times – especially if they are your own children. You can try and compensate for the missing parent but never replace or bad mouth. Teach and model respect, forgiveness and consideration, no matter how tough the situation. (“Helping Kids Adapt & Grow – Child Development Institute”) “They are now looking to you for guidelines and direction.” (“Single Parenting’s Guide a Single … – FREEBIESAVE.ORG”)
“If you have an only child, you might see this as your ONE opportunity to get things right.” (“Single Parenting’s Guide a Single Parent’s Guide To …”) Do not put too much pressure and expectation on either of you. Enjoy and foster, grow your relationship, bond, and connection. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”)
Being over-protective is the real danger here. Attachment and preoccupation are quite common as kids become the core of our being and existence. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) They are the reason we live. Sometimes we as the single parent can take this too far and need to step back to allow our kids to live their lives, explore and define who they are, outside of us and the family unit.
“THESE ARE THE FIVE “S” approaches to dealing with an only child:” (“Single Parenting – Becoming the Best Parent for Your Child!”)
Self-definition – who are you, where do you fit in, and you are not the ONLY person in this household or the world that matters. Self-assured and important, self-absorbed, and selfish need not be tolerated. (“Single Parenting’s Guide a Single … – FREEBIESAVE.ORG”)
“Appreciation and consideration of others needs to be taught at home, in the family, even and especially if there is an only child in the unit.” (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”)
“Socialization – interacting with others, beside yourself is critical, especially kids their own age, friends and other neighborhood adults and families can also help.” (“Single Parenting’s Guide a Single … – FREEBIESAVE.ORG”) It is important for them to be and act their age.
Age – Appropriate Actions
Always remember that your child did not ask to be placed in this situation. Whether you have babies, teenagers, or young adults in the house (early, mid, or late adolescence) and/or kids who would want to assert their independence and use this as an opportunity to move out on their own, there are considerations, challenges, and rewards. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) IT DOES NOT ALL HAVE TO BE BAD!
Uncertainty, conflict, and opposition can be very real as kids start to become increasingly self-sufficient and independent. It can be hard to allow this and not be over-protective, BUT YOU HAVE TO LET GO. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”)
As the single parent you are the one helping your child/children shape who they are, becoming and will be. Their character and characteristics will begin defining itself, both physically and socially. Values, habits, and wants change over time as they become more independent. This can both make a parent smile and frown with instant worry. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) You might be asking yourself if your child (and you) is ready for the challenges of life and the real world outside the family.
While this growing apart and separating happens over time, it can be stressful for both parties and cause discomfort even confrontation and conflict as these ‘wills’ collide.
Yet, it does not all have to be an on-going battle, there are lots that you can do to foster independence and get along living under one roof.
Energy, attitude, and behavior are often the first tell-tale signs that something is different and changing. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”) Negativity, rebellion and even experimentation that does not always meet with your approval might be happening.
Values, risks, and observation are the single parent’s arsenal for coping with this. Accountability and consequences, discipline, and sensitivity, understanding and a firm, consistent stance can be lifesavers as well. In everything try to work towards keeping and fostering that positive bond and connection that you share and always provide that soft spot to fall and come home to for them. (“Single Parenting – Child Development Institute”)
Being considerate of you and siblings, as well as family life in general are all important. You must teach your kids that they are part of the family and have a role to play, contributions to make, rules to respect. (“Single Parenting – Becoming the Best Parent for Your Child!”)
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist
See Tomorrow: “School Society and Family”
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