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How to Raise Happy Child as a Solo Parent

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It’s not a secret that children that come from single-parent homes tend to have more discipline problems than their counterparts raised by two parents. Psychologists often warn single parents of such possible risks as lower school attendance and academic performance, lower self-esteem, behavioral issues, inability to access higher education, and others. And these problems don’t always stem from a single parent’s being neglectful or uninterested in their children. Truth is most single parents merely don’t have enough time and means at their disposal to fully attend to their needs. Therefore, it’s critical that solo parents stick to some easy yet effective rules, practices, and routines that can help raise well-adapted, successful, and confident offspring.

Build Positive Relationship

Children of single parents might sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by the feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, and insecurity. Negative emotions might become even more intense when a child is subjected to criticism, mockery from peers or when being reminded of his single-parent family status. But there’s a way to minimize the chance of occurrence of such emotions. It’s important that you as a solo parent instill the sense of security in your child and show them they are loved and cared for. For this, you need to develop a warm and trusting relationship with your kid and reassure your kid you’re there for them.

Spend More Quality Time with Your Child

Even if you’re a single parent who works long hours, try and spare some time in your busy schedule for your offspring. You can just spend the evening discussing your kiddo’s math project or making plans for a weekend. Instead of scrolling your Instagram feed idly, read to your child or have a sing-along in the car.

Show a Genuine Interest

Kids know when you’re not listening to them. Even when you’re saying, ‘Yes, sure’ or nodding your head, they will always know if you’re not really interested. So, even when you’re discussing trifles or just chatting, be sure to show your interest in what your kid is trying to convey.

Give Positive Attention

To better show your emotional involvement, make sure to pay more positive attention when communicating with your kids. Your relationship will benefit if you smile, laugh, or display your admiration more often. Pat and hug your offspring and give praise whenever your children deserve it.

Teach Your Kid Obey the Rules

Setting limits and controlling your kid doesn’t mean suppressing them or showing your dominance. In fact, kids like rules. It gives them a sense of security and reminds them that they are taken care of. Just make sure you set clear boundaries and reasonable limits and always provide reasons for doing so. Also, be consistent with your rules and come up with fair yet effective methods of regulating your kid’s challenging behavior.

Balance Work and Family

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance might be a real challenge for single parents who are sole breadwinners in their family. Still, if you want to raise a happy and confident child, you should do your best to find the golden mean. When you feel too overwhelmed, give yourself a break and make it your rule to never lash out at your child even when you’re under extreme stress. Learn to be not so hard on yourself and your kid. Take advantage of those short moments you spend together, even short ones. Prioritize your day and identify where you can save some extra time for your kiddo. Some solo parents see fit to make their work schedule less hectic and voluntarily sacrifice their upward mobility to be more available for their children. But you need to find what works best for your family.

Handle Your Problems and Ask for Help

Solo parents are usually ready for challenges and normally they meet them head on. Still, there are times when things get too tough. That’s when you need to talk frankly to your kid and explain why you’re upset, angry, or nervous at this point in time. Let them know they are not responsible for your temporary moodiness and reassure them that things will start to look up soon. Be sure to manage conflicts with your exes in a civilized way and never make your kids take sides. Finally, if need be, don’t hesitate to ask for help and say yes to support offered. You can avail yourself of professional psychological help or just have your parents move in with you and let them handle a portion of your daily chores and responsibilities. Remember that your kids need a happy parent. So, be one.

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Jeff Campbell