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Issues children of single parents may have
You can't imagine your life without the miracle of your children, they are your greatest achievement. However, you're not sure how all these years have gone by and you still haven't managed to get yourself out into the dating world with any gusto... Sure, there have been relationships, even a couple of serious ones, but for some reason you have not found a partner to share your life with. And strangely, you're okay with that. "Why?" you may be asking yourself...because your children are more important to you.
Right now you've probably got a few new questions going through your head, and you're agreeing that "Yes, my children are more important to me than dating..." there might even be a "right now" in there... and that's good. This is good because you're at least acknowledging that your needs are important too, but that your child's needs are number one (while they're a child...Someday, you plan to work on you).
Single parents no matter how they have come to find themselves a 'single parent' have a very challenging, tireless, and extremely rewarding job. As you might have discovered by now, you, as a single parent sometimes find that the challenges you face are unique and sometimes require an 'out of the box' frame of mind to find the solution you need.
Guess what? Your children are no different. There are times that children of single parents encounter their own unique challenges, and you will once again need that 'out of the box' mind-set for you and your child to find a solution. "So what are some of these unique challenges?" you may be wondering...or there may already be a list of them that are coming to mind for you.
These are just some of the things that your child might be facing. Sometimes we're not even aware of the issue, so this may be a jumping off point for things to talk about with your child.
- Lack of 'name brands' or perhaps even clothes that show signs of wear.
- Isolation at school: meaning has a lack of peer groups or friendships
- Being harassed by other children about lacking a parent at home
- Fighting due to feeling overly protective of family due to a one parent home
These are just a few of the challenges that I have come across with my own children, I am eager to hear what challenges your family might be facing and helping you communicate with your child, finding resources in your area and how to use them, and ultimately finding solutions to your challenges.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT INDIVIDUAL CHALLENGES MY CHILD IS FACING?
Communication! I can not stress enough how important it is for your to talk to your child about their day...every day. It doesn't have to take a great deal of time, simply get into the habit of asking certain questions when they come home from school...
- "How was your day?"
- "What did you learn today?"
- "How was your lunch or recess time, and who did you play/hang out with?"
These are just a few examples. Actively listen to what your child has to say and try to remember what it felt like for you at their age. This will help you to identify and engage with your child and his challenges and triumphs.
Pay attention to your child's behavior, this can be a cue that you need to take some time out to talk with them. Often children do not know how to communicate their needs and acting out is their only outlet to let you know they are needing your help.
Randomly take the time to let your child know that they are important, they are valued, and above all they are loved. You would be amazed at how much of a positive affect it can have when your children receive this validation from you out loud. Take the time to hug your child. Not just a quick passing hug (these are good as well) but those embracing hugs that make everything feel all better for a moment. Showing physical affection towards your child also has very positive rewards. Doing these things strengthens the parent/child bond and can play an important role in communicating with your child.
TIMES ARE HARD ECONOMICALLY, WHAT CAN I DO TO GIVE THE CLOTHING/BRANDS MY CHILD NEEDS/WANTS TO HELP THEM FEEL MORE ACCEPTED?
This has been a parenting challenge since the dawn of time I think and not just for single parents either. However being a single parent tends to bring out your creative thinking when it comes to problem solving these kinds of issues.
Children wanting certain brands because they believe they will be more accepted by peers.
One of the easiest and most economical solutions is to see if your local thrift or second-hand store has it. I can't even count the number of times I have found either new with tags or looks just like new without the tags name brand items at these stores. There is no shame in paying a fraction of the retail price for something in new condition. In fact you might even find that you enjoy the hunt.
My child is in need of shoes/clothing: Clothes are showing signs of wear or your child is out-growing things faster than you can afford to replace them.
Now is the time to tap into your communities resources. They are put in place for this exact reason, use them.
- Contact your community's Adult & Family Services Office, often they will have a list or packet of community resources and how to contact them. They may even have resources or programs that you can tap into there at the office.
- Check your local paper or Nickel ads. They may have resources or items you are looking for listed as well.
- Surf Craigslist for your area; there is a section called free-stuff, and you can even post a listing of what it is that you are looking for and does anyone know of any resources you can tap into. Often you will get responses of not only referrals to community resources but individuals in the community wanting to help.
- Look in your cell phone's "app store" there may be apps in your area for free stuff.
- Call your local churches. This is often a wonderful resource for children's clothing needs.
- Contact your child's school, there is usually at least one or more programs in place for kids needing clothes.
MY CHILD IS DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE ANY FRIENDS AT SCHOOL.
This is one of those challenges that comes with a gift...the underlying cause. Children can become isolated at school for a great number of reasons, first thing you need to do is talk to them and their teachers to find out exactly what is going on.
Sometimes the cause is simple. You've just relocated to the area, The child's best buddy may have moved away and now your kiddo is feeling a bit lost. Your child is very shy. You have a special needs child and making new friends might be something they aren't sure how to do.
In this instance the solution is easy. Identify something your child likes to do and find a school club or after school activity or sport for them to participate in. Often times they are feeling disconnected from other children and by simply providing a common ground you can pull them back in. When children participate in activities or sports they know that the people around them share at least one of their interests which provides something to talk to each other about...once the communication begins, friendships and peer groups are soon to follow.
MY CHILD HAS TOLD ME THAT OTHER CHILDREN TEASE THEM BECAUSE THEY "DON'T HAVE A MOM/DAD" *whichever parent is absent from the home*
This is one of those ones that just breaks your heart to hear from your child. I have found that one of the best things you can do when your child tells you something like this is to hold them, and reassure them that they are loved and valued. Then talk to you child about how this makes them feel, let them vent and "get it all out". Explain to them the best you can the reasons a child may tease and ridicule.
The majority of the time, children tease for one of two reasons. Either they don't understand/can't relate to the other child's challenge in which the teasing child should be talked to, educated and enlighten about how their actions are affecting others... Or they are trying to shift the focus from themselves. Often even in two parent homes, if there is family conflict or "trouble at home", a child will act out in other ways not knowing themselves how to solve their issues. Bullying is often one of these behaviors. In this situation the "offending" child needs to receive some help.
By nature, children are self-centered and have to grow and learn to relate and interact with others. Your child may or may not completely grasp what you are trying to explain to them, but do it anyway. By doing this you are helping your child grow and think of things from another person's perspective. It may not help them deal with the situation while it's happening, but will gets their wheels turning and thinking about the issue from a different angle. You are helping teaching them to empathize and relate to others.
Now is when you advocate for your child, talk to their school or wherever this is happening about what is going on. They are there to teach and protect your child while you are not, so keep an open line of communication going. This can also get the ball rolling towards helping the other child, which may be exactly what they need.
MY CHILD GOT INTO A FIGHT BECAUSE HE FELT HE WAS DEFENDING OUR FAMILY, HOW DO I ADDRESS THIS?
Some kid said something rude about a member of our family...one thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, your child has been in a fight.
You may have mixed feelings about this, on one hand you might feel a sense of pride that your child was defending his family and on the other hand you are upset that your child put his hands on another person in anger.
Talk to your child, let them explain to you exactly what happened. Let them know that you feel very loved that they felt they should defend their family. Also reaffirm with them that hitting someone is not the answer and will not solve their problem. Explain that it is better to talk things out or even walk away instead of fighting. Remind them that we use our hands for all kinds of things, but hurting others is not one of them. Discuss with your child different ways they could have handled the situation and make sure that you get their input on this. By having them come up with alternative scenarios you are gearing their brain to automatically think of other possible solutions to a problem and not just to act on impulse.
If your child is facing a challenge that you are not sure how to address or need help finding a solution to, please use the comment section below. I am happy to help and will answer all questions swiftly