A divorce is never easy, especially when there are children involved. One of the most difficult tasks a newly divorced parent has to face is that new role of becoming a single parent. It’s an extreme adjustment – moving from a two-parent household to a single parent status – but there are ways that newly divorced moms (and dads) can learn to make things run smoothly for everyone involved.
Most importantly, you should let go of any grudges you may have against your former spouse. He or she is absent from both of your lives now, and holding onto feelings of anger or resentment will not change the situation. In fact, it will probably consume a great deal of your energy – energy that should be devoted to creating a positive environment for your child. Even if you’ll never be able to forget everything that has happened, you should be willing to forgive. If you dwell on the negative, it is likely that your child will sense your feelings and could suffer in some way.
Children often suffer emotional turmoil during a divorce, and not only feel to blame for the split, but often feel divided between their parents. Your time with your child is precious. Spending as much time as you can with your child without setting unrealistic goals is important. Make the most of everything that you have. You don’t have to have – or spend – a lot of money to remind your child just how important they are to you. Create a good life for you and your child to the best of your abilities. Putting strain that isn’t necessary on your lives right now is not at all what you need.
At a time like this, both you and your child should be surrounded by people you know and trust. A support system is crucial, but remember families don’t have to be biological. Friends and “family” that aren’t biological are just as beneficial to your child as biological family members. The “family” you help to create will provide your child with the same sort of love and support that a traditional family can provide. You should learn to turn to this new “family” when you need a break or when you need help with your responsibilities as a single parent. Nobody should have to go through everything all alone.
Above all else, remember that whatever paths have led you to where you are today, you’re responsible for another life. Your child didn’t ask to be born, and is not responsible for the experiences that has led you to become a single parent. Through no choice of their own, your child is dependent upon you. Holding them accountable for your actions or that of their absent parent is the wrong thing to do. They are powerless to the less-than-ideal consequences that come with being the child of a single parent. Your role in their life is crucial to their chances of becoming a happy, successful adult.
That said, you need to remember that although your family situation has changed, your child’s routine shouldn’t. Stability and security is important at this time. If you don’t already have a daily routine in place for your child, now is the time to set one. Even the most simple of things such as going to the park every weekend or a story at bedtime will become something that your child looks forward to and can count on to assist in a time such as this.
Consistency is key. Creating realistic rules and holding a standard of discipline helps your child to learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not. They will learn what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. Being dependable will remind them that they can always count on you, no matter what. You’re the most important person in your child’s life and try to remember that – no matter how tired you are at the end of the day or how frustrated you are at their absent parent. Every moment with your child is precious. As a single parent, sometimes you may feel that you’re all alone, but remember that, no matter how alone you may feel, your child is right there with you, and your child is the most important person to focus on.