Being a single mother should not stop you from raising a child well. Being a single parent is not a walk in the park since you need to take over the responsibilities and roles of your partner at the same time. Creating an open communication with your children is effective in building a harmonious relationship with them.
No matter how careful and well you are raising your children, you are still vulnerable to committing the common mistakes that single mothers often do make. Here is a list of common mistakes that single mothers should endeavour to avoid when raising a child:
Lying to your child
This mistake is common among divorced parents. Single mothers tend to leave their children behind when it comes to the status of the divorce papers or if they’re still in contact with the child’s father. Although your intentions of not hurting your child are good enough, dishonesty will only make matters worse. Once the child finds out that you are not giving out the real story, this may lead to mistrust on the child’s part. With children, particularly teenagers, trust is often difficult to regain.
Spending quality time with your child
As a single mother, you may have to balance work and family while recovering from the emotional pitfalls of a recent divorce, separation or abandonment. You may be present at home, but you may not be talking to your kids (i.e. you are emotionally unavailable). It is important to spend quality time with your children. There is no required number of hours or frequency per week that you should spend with your children. The important thing is that, you take some time off to ask them how they’re doing and then, actively listen.
Best friends forever
Most single mothers want their child to see them as a best friend. This can present problems of role confusion for the child. It may work when your child is an older teenager, but it will be difficult when children are below 12 years old. Younger children are very “black and white” thinkers (all or nothing). This means that it is not possible for them to see you as a friend if you set the rules and must be obeyed.
Lack of a discipline plan
Instilling discipline in children is traditionally the male partner’s responsibility and single mothers usually avoid this role, because it seems to conflict with their nurturing roles. Lack of discipline on your part, however, will usually result in manipulation from your children. To avoid this mistake, creating a discipline plan will do.
Create a discipline plan when you are in a good mood. If you do it when you are angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, you may end up creating rigid and unfair rules. It is important to have a solid and credible relationship with your child before enforcing house rules. Let your children know what you expect of them in advance and then follow through with it. You do not need to be adversarial when delivering the consequences.
Avoiding outside help
Most single mothers assume that their child is doing well despite a recent family crisis such as divorce or the death of a partner. Some single parents also feel that they can singlehandedly raise their child well. However, you should think about getting the help of a professional counselor or a well respected close family member when your emotions are consistently overwhelming and out of control.