In case you haven’t realized it, parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. No matter how many parenting books there are, there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” parenting manual. If our parents would have been perfect, then maybe that would help us. But there has not been a perfect parent from the beginning of time—except our heavenly parent, God our Father. So the good news is, our “perfect parent” will help.
Single moms, I KNOW you feel at times that your home is incomplete (at least I did when I was a single mom). But the truth is YOU are more than enough in raising a child who is socially competent and God honoring. In fact, according to a new study funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the European Journal of Public Health, a mother’s impact has a greater impact on their child’s long-term well-being than dad’s. Really? Then you go, girl! Moms, YOU MATTER and with Jesus as the head of your household, you can do this.
In honor of Arise Single Moms 20th anniversary, I’ve listed 20 parenting tips that will give you confidence along the way.
1. Make time to be in God’s Word. Daily trouble won’t seem so daunting.
2. Ask yourself in tight situations, “What do I want to accomplish, and is this likely to produce that result?”
3. Remember, you cannot be too loving. It’s simply not possible to spoil a child with unconditional love.
4. Be consistent as much as possible. Identify your non-negotiables and stay strong.
5. Talk but remember to listen. With teens especially, their opinions are important. Failing to at least respect what they have to say will increase animosity.
6. Catch your child being good, and brag on them by identifying positive character traits you’ve observed.
7. Don’t label yourself as a “failure” in the eyes of your kids because you are a single mother. In a nurturing environment, kids see you as “mom,” not “single mom.”
8. Adapt your parenting to fit your child. Consider how age is affecting the child’s behavior.
9. Boost your child’s self-esteem. Your tone of voice, body language, and words are unconsciously absorbed by your kids.
10. Let your children see you reading your Bible. Let them hear you talking to a friend about how God has answered prayers. They are unconscious sponges.
11. Be as direct as needed. Don’t dance around a subject just because you want to avoid a confrontation.
12. Time. Time. Time. Make spending quality time with them a priority.
13. Kids’ environments have an effect on their behavior. Keep negativity about life, their father, and your own struggles outside the realm of their eyes and ears.
14. Set limits. Discipline is necessary in every household. It helps kids learn self-control.
15. Don’t feel guilty. Do what you can do and leave the outcome in God’s hands.
16. Model what you expect. Think of your kids like copy machines who will mimic what you do and say. (Yipes!)
17. Focusing on your own needs is not selfish. You can’t model well when you’re depleted. Find “me” time.
18. Cultivate realistic expectations. Not to do so is inviting frustration and disappointment.
19. Visualize that you are not alone. God is with you when you think not.
20. Don’t lose heart. God promises to work the pieces of your motherhood role for good.
Parenting is a life-long joy and and emotional workout, but we’re not without comfort and help in the journey. STAY STRONG, single mom.