Single Parent Concerns
Single Parent Concerns
Single Parents' Concerns
A parent of any gender, race, or sexual preference that is raising a child alone, with little help, faces great stresses.
What are your concerns? You can't find enough time or energy in your life anymore. As fast as you run you never catch up, and you are exhausted...always. Your child constantly wants more and cries a lot.
Using Positive Discipline techniques are exactly what you need, but you might not think so. You don't have the time it takes, you might think. Since it entails so much "working with" your child, and all that calming business. You could fall even with the best intentions into the quick snapping or spanking to get instant ending of a certain behavior.
We admit that Positive Discipline will take a little extra time at first, but the payoff will come soon in the form of your child responding to being treated with respect and structure. That respect and kindness will be coming back to you for the rest of your lives. Also, and sooner than you think, calmer times will get longer, and come with quicker turn-arounds from tantrums and demands.
This quick list will make your parenting easier..for sure.
1. You do need to read your child's developmental stage. We have it for you here.
2. As your child approaches ages that start requiring discipline (1-5 especially), create a cozy safe space for time ins. read more. Once set up, you will use this space when you and your child are both too triggered and upset to continue without calming yourselves. The child goes to the non-punitive time in space, while you do what you have learned calms you down. Our section on this and on anger give plenty of ideas for your calming yourself and your child being able to calm down also.
3. Get it through your head very solidly that when you set a limit, it stays set. E.g. no snack right now, we are leaving when the alarm sounds in ten minutes with or without your shoes on, ten more minutes for electonic time today. This structure that isn't negotiated is crucial especially for single parents. And it is one of the most often violated. It requires a tougher stance than some parents can handle without help. It might feel cruel at first, or you don't want your child to feel like you did as a child. No need to worry about that if you are following positive parenting.
The developmental-stage reading you do at each age, and your own observations will give you ideas of what's appropriate to expect. This is about brain development. Your child is not trying to get even or get back at you. The key however is to stick to your structure. Caution: Negotiation is not problem solving. You will be training a young lawyer, and you don't have time or energy for the arguments.
4. Getting clever with the "problem solving together" part of Positive Discipline will keep improving with experience, both for you and your child. This teaches your child so much and also tends to impress you with your child's creativity. This really begins to pay off at the early and middle teen years.
See Judy Arnall's hour long webnar including a) firm structure, b) explanation of the process of time outs and time ins and c) problem solving afterwards here.
Warmth and Structure is the foundation:
For warmth: Lots of touch, holding, rocking, kissing, and warm sounds toward the infant/child.
Big smiles when seeing them again after time away, Holding them while reading, lots of hugs, lots of talking with them or to them, more then you think.
For Structure: set times for things and stick to them. This helps you also by giving you predictable times for your own necessary free time (short as it is!)
Having the idea of and the place arranged for the all-inportant time in for your child ahead of time and created together for comfort and distraction.
The better this is done, the easier time you will have in calming yourself wiht your time out in those stressed out "issue" times that your exhausted state will be making more difficult.
For setting limits:
Many parents have found using a timer to set limits gets you off the hook for being the bad guy. It's the time that is telling time's up. many sorts of timer kids can set are available, also phones have timers too.
Smart Use of Your Time:
You have lots of things to do when you get home from work. As early as possible get your child in on the action. They love to be helpful. Give them tasks they can manage.
This is wonderful for their sense of success, which breeds confidence (the real kind). Little tasks like pairing the socks from the laundry, putting away the non-breakables from the dish drainer or machine, mixing the milk with chocolate in a cup. At first this takes your time to instruct, but soon they will be doing some of your tasks for you and feel good about it.
As they grow, making their own sandwiches, even slicing things. When they get even older, they will be big helps and feel competent.
The key to this is your patient instruction at first so they don't fail and cause you to lose patience. You will be able to tell what they can handle and what is just still a little above them.