This article is from Vivacious Mum. Vivacious Mum is a member of the Diary of a Single Mom Bloggers Network. Real women. Real mothers. Real life.
Through all the hardships of raising kids as a single mom, there are moments of utter bliss. But often mothers suffer feelings of hopelessness and aloneness. In the end, a mother hopes only for the best for her children. The ultimate goal is their success in life as human beings and their attainment of happiness. If a mother can achieve this, she is successful. Here’s how you can be a strong single mom.
When they are babies and toddlers, do not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on birthday parties and holiday gifts. They will never remember this, and you will need the money later.
Invest in a college fund for your child early. If you wait too long, the price goes way up. If you start when they are babies, it can cost as little as $10 a month. It is definitely worth it, and many plans have a clause where you can take it out if they decide not to go to college.
Do not feel guilty for not giving your child all that they want. An allowance is good, but only if they are given some chores to earn it. In the end, this will teach them the importance of working for what you eventually receive. This builds strength of character and a strong work ethic.
Kids are starving for boundaries these days. Do not be afraid to give timeouts and enforce them. Start timeouts at a very early age. Usually age 2 is about right. They will need to sit, facing a wall for 2 minutes. They should stay in timeout the number of minutes that equals their age. Do not let them go in their room, and do not allow them to speak. They will only whine and eventually wear you down. Remember, in the end, it serves the child well.
This may be overstated, but pick your battles. I have seen so many parents get caught up in things like haircuts or styles in clothing. If they are not dressing in a way that is too sexually expressive, then why not let them be goth or punk? As long as they stay away from drugs and other inappropriate behaviours, their dress will allow them to express their individuality and give them an expressive outlet.
Try a variety of sports or activities at a young age when it is inexpensive and see if your child develops an interest in any specific area. However, having them do too many sports at once hinders their development. It is important to have free time.
Monitor their Internet usage. Parents need to be aware of what their kids are putting out there. Predators monitor these websites. It is not safe for any child to have their picture on these sites.
Do not worry if your kids do not like you. When they reach the age of about 12 to around 17 or so, they probably will not like you regardless of how much you try. So do not change your monitoring habits to appease them. This is the age when they are most likely to engage in inappropriate behaviours, including drug usage, sexual behaviours and dishonest acts. It is very important to sit them down and have talks at age 9 or 10 about sex and drugs. They are not too young. Their friends are already talking to them about it. Be very open. If they ask a question, answer it. You do not have to go into graphic detail, but do not think they are not aware of some things already. You will be surprised at what they already know. Try not to get angry when they tell you things. This will only close the doors of communication.
It is nice to have your kids as your friends, but this does not always work. We have to be parents. If your goal is to get your children to like you, you will probably fail as a parent. It is difficult to set boundaries if you are afraid of offending your child. As parents, we have to be aware that they may not always like us, but with the right direction and a little luck, they will always love us.
Most of all, give your kids daily affirmations of your love. Kiss them or hug them even if they do not want you too. They may protest, but they still need you regardless of the age. If you make a mistake and blow your top and say or do things you do not mean, be sure to sincerely apologize. Kids are people too, and it is important we acknowledge that. If we make a mistake we should talk to them about how and why it happened. We can then use that as a teaching/learning experience.