In the increasingly complex social scenario of today, single parenting is a situation which can be seen in growing proportions. Reasons can range from death; divorce; separation by choice or by circumstances.
- Even though it is a monumental task to come to terms with the fact that one is now single, the parent must accept that now he or she alone is responsible for the physical, mental and emotional welfare of the child.
- Be the first to tell your child of the reality of the situation. Explain to him gently as to why he is now a member of a single parent family. If at all possible, prepare him for it before hand. Don’t let him hear second-hand or biased versions from other people.
- Ensure that your child doesn’t feel guilty. When children don’t understand the real reason behind one parent’s absence, they tend to blame themselves. Explain in single words what has occurred and make very sure that your innocent child is not carrying unnecessary guilt.
- Don’t transfer your own feelings of hurt, betrayal or anger to the child. Instead, open a line of communication with him whereby you can help come o terms with his own sense of lose or pain. Encourage him to express his feelings, however negative they may be.
- Answer his questions. Whether you like it or not, your child will be exposed to all kinds of comments from his peers, friends and even society at large. Prepare him for this and answer his questions to the best of your ability.
- Don’t involve your child in a tug of war. Do not unnecessarily force him to make emotional choices at a tender age. If it is a question of custody or visitation rights, then explain these to him.
- Don’t criticize the other parent before the child. Remember that the child loves you both equally. Don’t create emotional problems within the child by badmouthing the other parent.
- Don’t go to extremes. Just because you are now a single parent, don’t overcompensate by becoming too indulgent. Maintain a balance between discipline and indulgence as you would normally.
Single parenting is a responsibility. But it is a deep joy too. To watch your child grow up into a happy, healthy, caring individual due to your single handed efforts can be a source of deep satisfaction.