Are You Trying to Fill the Role of Both Parents as a Single Parent?

As a single parent, you may feel guilty that the child's other parent is no longer living in your home. Are you trying to be both a mother and a father to your kids? This is not necessary!

First, you must concentrate on being the best parent that you can be within your abilities. If your kids have interests that you know nothing about such as sports, it is not your responsibility to learn everything you can about the sport and even coach the team. Be supportive of your child's hobbies and provide transportation and supplies as needed. Cheer him or her on at games, and talk with your chlid about his or her experiences. But, you don't have to become an expert and try to take on roles that don't fit you if your child's interests are different from your interests.

Your kids need love and positive discipline. Another parent in the home can offer even more love and discipline, but again, it is not your place give your children extra love and discipline to make up for the lack. Your kids don't want you to smother them!

Remember, other caring adults can make up for some of the love and interaction that your children may be missing. Your child spends time with coaches, teachers, people at church, friends, neighbors, relatives and other adults who can play a role in nurturing and teaching your child. If you haven't moved on to another romantic relationship with a partner who is involved with your kids, make sure that your child spends time with friends who have both parents in the home so that your child can see healthy adult interaction modeled.

If you haven't found a special someone yet, do NOT start dating again with the objectve of finding another parent for your kids. While a stepparent may provide love for your kids, he or she will not completely take the place of the biological parent. And, it's not advisable to bring in a new partner and immediately expect him or her to take on a parental role. Your kids will need time to adjust, and it's best not to have the new person function in a that role for at least the first year that he or she lives with you. Besides, it's not fair to a potential partner to want them for their parenting abilities and not because you truly love him or her.

As a single parent, you need to focus on meeting your children's needs. But, you don't personally have to fufill their every need. Delegate to other trusted adults. You need to preserve your emotional energy, and if you wear yourself out trying to be everything to your children, you will end up frazzled and do nothing well. Also, you don't want your kids to be completely emotionally dependent on you in case there is a crisis where you are not able to parent your kids.

Your children will survive and even thrive without having a two-parent home if you can be creative about meeting their needs by getting other adults to help you. Your kids aren't looking for you to be a superhero, just their parent who happens to be a single parent.



Copyright 2008