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27 Mar, Monday
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Montreal Families

Positive ways to view single parenting

It’s easy for single parents to feel discouraged and stressed about raising children alone, especially if finances are tight and time is scarce. Single moms and dads struggle with whether or not they can meet their children’s needs. Half the battle is gained by looking
at the situation in a positive light, rather than giving in to negative thoughts. Here are three positive ways parents can think about and be proud of their role as a single parent:

1.  I am responsible for my actions and attitudes.

Many people go through life placing blame on other people for their misfortune but it is much more enriching to know that all of our successes and failures stem from our actions. I am always encouraged when I see single parents emerge from a bad relationship with a renewed sense of self-determination. There is absolutely no better motivator than the love we have for our children to jump start us into a new life, even if it requires taking risks or engaging in extremely hard work. Parents, more than any other group of people, will do amazing things for the sake of their children. So, embrace being single because, possibly for the first time, you have the opportunity to orchestrate how the rest of your life will play out.

2.  I can parent the way I want to.

Many couples break up or divorce because they failed to merge their separate values into some kind of manageable system. Once there is a divorce, parents are free to live out their own value system in front of their children without interference from the other parent. That’s not to say that divorced parents won’t try to control or influence each other’s styles, but basically, the legal system takes care of that through a court-ordered custody and parenting plan. As long as each are following that, both parents are free to engage in the parenting style they choose. The only exceptions are behaviours that would be seen as abusive or neglectful. In that case, it is up to the local authorities to decide. Remember that the only person you are in charge of controlling is yourself. Keep your own porch clean and then you don’t have to worry about sweeping up anyone else’s. Now, that’s freedom.

3.  I have opportunities to foster appreciation in my children.

Single parents often lament the fact that they have to work so much harder just to put food on the table or provide basics for their kids. Long hours, slim paychecks, fatigue and anxiety can really put a damper on a person’s ability to excel as a parent. Although this reality is far too common, there is a positive side to living a life that is characterized by frugality and hard work. Our society today is riddled with what some experts call “affluenza” and children are the sad beneficiaries. Over and over, I hear stories of children who have come to expect parents to provide everything from weekly spa treatments to expensive designer handbags. Saying “no” is part of parenting and should be exercised by all parents, regardless of income. In addition, when single parents work hard, but also make spending time with their kids a priority, children typically respond positively and tend to be more appreciative of the effort. Being with our kids does not have to include a cash outlay. It can be as simple as playing a board game or colouring. When my children would get stressed out, I would often make them sit down with me and colour, which was always a great opportunity to talk with them. Those are special times that no designer handbag can replace.

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