1. Balance Priorities Make your children a top priority. This might mean you will have to make sacrifices. For example, you may have to miss the opening night of that great movie coming out in order to attend a school performance. Your child will appreciate the attention. At the same time, don’t neglect your personal well-being, or inevitably, you will come to resent the duties single parenting has placed upon you.
2. Be Consistent with Discipline Ensure that your discipline is consistent and that your children are aware of the consequences of their misbehavior. Threatened consequences have to be acted upon. Even if you don’t feel calm and strong, try to assert your discipline in a non-emotional and assertive manner.
3. Open communication Successful single parents generate open communication in their household. Ask your children about their school day. Ask them about their after-school activities. If you know that your son or daughter likes to talk about their soccer practice but doesn’t like to talk about their social studies class, initiate conversation about soccer. Focus the conversation on what makes your child feel comfortable.
4. Organization of Home and Finance Successful single parents manage the family needs well. Plan your week’s activities. Be aware of the requirements for each activity so that you are not running around at the last minute. As for your home chores, again, planning is key! If cleaning the house in one day is not feasible, organize your week so that the cleaning is spread out in a realistic manner. Children should be assigned their own home chores, which will differ depending upon their age. Make them responsible for a task that is age-appropriate. It will teach them responsibility (and it will make your life a little easier). Follow up to ensure that these assigned tasks are getting done. Once the tasks are ingrained into a habit, you won’t have to worry about the “follow-up”.
5. Routines Try to maintain routines such as a dinner times. It will help to maintain stability and organization in your household.
6. Cooperation with the Other Parent Try to maintain a positive relationship with the children’s other parent, and, so long as it is feasible, encourage the children and the other parent to be involved in each other’s lives. Even if you feel angry and resentful with the other parent, you still need to make an effort, for the benefit of your children, to involve him/her in your children’s lives. Of course, if the other parent poses an actual threat to your children, it’s best for them to be involved in a protected degree or not at all.
7. Positive Perspective Even when you are faced with challenging circumstances, try to keep a positive outlook. Your perspective will color the attitude of your children. If you remain positive, particularly in a challenging situation, your children will hopefully adopt your attitude. A positive perspective will help you and your children survive and prosper in otherwise difficult times.
8. Appreciate your Children and Let them Know it Even if it seems obvious, let your children know that you love and appreciate them. Reinforce to them that you are lucky to have them. Before they leave your house to take the bus to school, give them one more hug and plant a kiss on their cheek or nose! You might also want to remind yourself how lucky they are to have such a great parent!