The illusion in the movies of a family of mum, dad and three children living contentedly in a home they own, with a nice car on the drive is not a reality for most. Children thrive in a home free of tension, anxiety and adults arguing, so getting a divorce and becoming a single parent can be in the best interests of the child. Yet, single parents are fully capable of giving their children all the love they need, whether their former partner is involved or not.
IF YOU CAN BE ANYTHING, BE KIND
Simply showing your child love and respect, talking honestly and staying positive, can help your child thrive and keeps your stress levels low. Even after the messiest of divorces, it is not necessary to disrespect the person you once loved by being nasty and dishonest about them.
Even if it is difficult, you need to speak positively about your former partner, even if their behaviour is challenging. Your child will learn about love from watching you, so show them how to be loving. Nurture your relationships with friends, be mindful of how you interact with strangers, taking care to be accepting of everyone, including your ex, in a way that a child can mirror with other people and it also helps them accept themselves for who they are.
RESPECT TIME BETWEEN YOUR CHILD AND FORMER PARTNER
Accept that you are the only person who can be responsible for yourself in your past relationship. Your child deserves the love of both parents. Encourage your child to enjoy their time with your former partner, a relationship where you have no place other to ensure your child is safe and happy.
Respecting the other parental relationship shows a child that relationships still continue after separation or divorce without anger, bitterness or frustration. On a special day, or your former partner’s birthday, help the child chose a gift for their parent, like jewellery or roses that last forever. This teaches the child that even when a relationship ends, gratitude remains for once happy times.
BE A ROLE MODEL
Showing love goes beyond displays of affection to a significant other. It includes kindness, compassion and empathy. If you want opportunities to be positive about your opposite gender, use the positive characteristics or achievements amongst your family and group of friends or even in the media. If you hear negative statements about the opposite sex, contradict these negative stereotypes with positive examples of people they know. Be confident in your role as a good mother and your child will admire your positive attitude.
Staying healthy by eating well and taking regular exercise is necessary for overall wellbeing. Make meals together and try out different recipes. Have treats but keep these in moderation. Play music and dance around the living room together, play games in the local park or go fly a kite. Take care of your appearance with regular visits to a hairdresser and keep up-to-date with dental appointments. Take pride in your appearance without being vain is an asset.
NURTURE FRIENDSHIP GROUPS
Single parenting can be exhausting, so make sure to nurture friendships with those you care about who can share in offering support at challenging times. Let your child see that being vulnerable is OK because you can reach out to others for help and later return the same favour to the same person or others.
Have a set of things you can do to help you stay hopeful when your world feels like it is crumbling around you. As a single parent, always stay strong and confident with your child, even in the face of disapproving family members or gossiping work colleagues. With your confidence and positivity, your child is going to grow up with healthy self-esteem and the strength to face the world.