Single Parenting

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Survival Tips for


Dear friend,

The booklet you hold in your hands is

one in a series designed to help you with

practical “hands-on” information in your

personal search for a better life and to

help those you care most about.

No matter who you are or where in life

you are looking for answers—whether it

be marriage, health, parenting, the loss

of a loved one, overcoming an addiction,

or working through stress or financial

problems—there is help available and

there is hope.

We trust this booklet and others in the

Peacefinders series will be a blessing

to you and your family as you journey

through each passage of life.

—The Publishers


Copyright © 2011

PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.

302 Foster Road

Fort Covington, NY 12937

Printed in the USA

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission.

All rights reserved.


y Victor Parachin

Although Rob, 34, anticipated some

unexpected tasks as the single father

of an eleven-year-old daughter,

this one caught him completely by surprise.

Shortly before her bed time, Meagen asked

Rob if he would help her apply polish to her

nails. “I had absolutely no experience doing

fingernails, let alone toe nails. Somehow we

managed, and both of us ended up feeling the

job was well done!” he says proudly.


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Cheryl, 39, is the single mother of two

boys aged 12 and 14. Two nights each week she

is at an ice hockey rink where she is the head

coach of her older son’s hockey team. “While I

expected I would be doing more and different

things as a single parent, coaching hockey was

not on my list,” she says. “However, when my

son signed up, there were not enough coaches

for the teams. So, having had a background in

skating, I volunteered to help out.”

Census clearly show that single parent

households are increasing dramatically, while

the “traditional” mother and father couple

raising children is on the decline. Consider

these census facts:

• The number of single mothers has increased

25 percent since 1990 to more

than 7.5 million households.

• For most of the last ten years, approximately

one third of all babies were born

to unmarried women compared with 3.8

percent in 1940.


• Demographers now predict that more

than half of the children born in the

2000s will spend at least part of their

childhood in a single parent home.

• The number of single fathers is also rising,

with just over 2 million families

headed by a single father.

1

Build on the Fact that

You Are a Family

Do not let negative attitudes from other

individuals diminish the understanding that

you and your child or children are a family,

even though headed by a single adult. Don’t

buy into the falsehood that as a single parent

you are different or not the norm. Doing

so will make you feel isolated, different and

alone. Take heart from these words of wisdom

written by Marge Kennedy in The Single

Parent Family: “Yes, single parent families are

different from two parent families. And urban

families are different from rural ones, and

families with six kids and a dog are different

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from one child, no pet households. But even if

there is only one adult presiding at the dinner

table, yours is every bit as much a real family

as are the Waltons.” Whether your situation is

the result of divorce, death, never marrying,

desertion or adoption, you are family!

2

Don’t be Intimidated by

Single Parenting Myths

Too often the media cite stigmas concerning

single parenting. Many people are

quoted in various media blaming the country’s

rising crime, violence and other social problems

on the fact that more children are raised

in single parent homes. This stigma is usually

propagated by half-truths, false assumptions,

unexamined data, and prejudiced viewpoints.

Children from single parent homes are

not “doomed” to a future of failure. The truth

is that there are all sorts of single parents courageously

and wisely raising many well adjusted

children who are a credit to their parent

and to the community. Consider this experience

from a single mother who recently wrote


advice columnist, Dear Abby. Signing herself

as “a happier family than many,” she explained

that her 15-year-old son’s best friend was forbidden

to play with him because the youth is

being raised by a single mother. “They have

told their son it is a bad thing and that my son

will end up in trouble because of our circumstances.

‘Statistics prove it.’”

Astounded that anyone could be so cruel

and uninformed, the mother went on to describe

Mother’s Day for Dear Abby and readers:

“My day began the night before, with a

simple yet special dinner cooked by my son,

who paid for and brought the food home from

the store on his bike. Mother’s Day morning

began with tiptoes to allow Mom to sleep a

little longer while my son cooked a breakfast

of eggs, warm pastries and hot coffee. Along

with a sweet present, he also gave me the gift

of a hard day’s work to help me with projects

I had wanted to tackle. The day ended

happily with an evening together at home,

with kisses, and ‘I love you’ before bed.” That

mother, rightly proud of her son, concluded

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her letter: “There are many wonderful children

from single-parent families. Children

should be judged by who they are, not by

some ignorant generalization.”

3

Let the “Village” Help

Just because you are a single parent,

don’t feel you have to do it all by

yourself. Remember the African proverb, “It

takes a village to raise a child.” Reach out and

let your “village” help you with raising your

child. Consider the positive example provided

by one single mother. “I became a single parent

when my son, Kenny, was two. I had to

work, and Kenny was raised by a ‘village.’ My

mother, grandmother, father, brother, sister,

and friends all took the time to play an important

part in his life.… I am proud to say

Kenny, now 13, is an incredible person—an

honor student, athletic, musically talented,

and popular among his peers. I frequently receive

compliments from teachers and other

parents about how polite, kind, respectful,

and well mannered he is. When I hear those


words, I tell them I wish I could take all the

credit but my son is a ‘village’ child.”

The lesson: let other important adults in

your life become equally important in the

life of your child. Included in that extended

“family” grouping may be grandparents, other

adult siblings, a coach, religious leader, an

aunt or uncle, teacher, close friend, etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people

recognize the fact that a single parent carries

a large load and will gladly assist if a need

is made known. You are no less a parent when

you reach out and ask for assistance.

4

Tap into the Power of Prayer

That wisdom is offered by Steve Horner,

the full-time single parent of two boys

and author of Single Parenting From A Father’s

Heart. He tells of being extremely despondent

and emotionally paralyzed shortly after his divorce.

“Depression and hopelessness are horrible

afflictions. I was in my car on a business

trip later that day, still feeling crippled. I spoke

right out loud and told God ‘I need help.’ I held

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out my hand and asked God to take hold of it

and to comfort me.” As he continued to drive

and pray, thoughts came to him which eased

his emotional pain. He thanked God for the

fresh insights. “Let’s face it, we’re all human,

with human frailties; and life can be terribly

burdensome at times,” Horner says.

“Prayer helps relieve that burden for me.

I truly believe in the power of prayer, because

my success and happiness are the direct result

of it. Prayer gives me hope, which opens the

door to where I can find desire and confidence

that help me move forward. With hope I can

cope. In fact, I’m quite sure I couldn’t handle

the job of dedicated single parenting without

the desire and confidence that I receive from

hope. For without hope, I’m broken down.”

Horner’s experience of prayer generating

hope is taught in the Bible. Scripture reminds

us that God is the ultimate source and

giver of hope. “Why are you cast down, O my

soul? And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For

the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5).


The Bible tells us to turn to God, because God

is our Divine Helper: “Fear not, for I am with

you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I

will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will

uphold you with My righteous right hand”

(Isaiah 41:10). “So we may boldly say: ‘The

Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can

man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).

5

Find Support Groups for Your Child

“When my dad died, it felt like my life

fell apart,” recalls a 14-year-old boy. My

friends at school and my soccer team kept me

going. The guys at school were there for me.

The soccer team got me out of the house for

practices and games and made me feel a little

more normal.” Utilize the many organizations

in your community which are devoted

to youth enrichment. If your child is not involved,

assess his or her interest in a group

such as Scouting, school clubs, church youth

groups, and athletic teams, which include a

wide range of activities such as swimming,

hockey, volleyball, baseball, football, lacrosse,

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gymnastics, etc. Belonging to a group helps

children in these ways:

• Helps build confidence;

• Provides positive activities;

• Establishes new friendships;

• Connects with other caring adults;

• Presents opportunities for releasing

emotions;

• Receives support and understanding

from peers.

6

Nurture Yourself

In her book, Healthy Parenting, Janet

G. Woititz, Ed.D., a counselor, shares a

moment when she was a single parent. “I remember

visiting my internist because I simply

couldn’t breathe. He checked me out,

found nothing physically wrong, and started

to laugh. Of course, I saw nothing funny

about the situation. Finally he said, ‘Well, I’d

think in your line of work you’d have this one


11

figured out already. Where’s your breathing

space?’” Dr. Woititz realized her physician

was correct. She had no breathing space for

herself. “Along with my usual responsibilities,

my children were needy and needed Mom’s

ear. And Mom’s ear was always ready. I had

reached a place where I simply had no room

to breathe. All my priorities were in order, except

me.” From her own experience as a single

parent, Dr. Woititz learned how easily life can

become unbalanced. Now she offers this advice

to other single parents: “If you need time

alone, say to the children, ‘If you’re not bleeding,

don’t knock on the bathroom door when

I’m taking my bath.’ Your time alone doesn’t

have to be dramatic. It just has to be private.”

That is sound advice. Try to have a life

outside of parenting. If possible, join a health

club and work out. Many clubs even provide

child care. At home, cultivate moments when

you can be alone, without the demands of

children. This can be something as simple as

soaking quietly in a tub or reading a chapter

from a book in the privacy of your bedroom.


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Find unique ways to nurture yourself and recharge

your own emotional batteries.

7

Be Respectful Towards

Your Ex-Spouse

This means you must avoid bad mouthing

and criticizing a former spouse in front of

children. It also means that you never use the

children to hurt an ex-spouse. Dr. Woititz explains:

“If you are divorced, you may be very

angry. It is tempting to use the children as a

way to settle scores and even to deny access.

Your children need to be able to connect with

both parents… unless being with their noncustodial

parent puts them at risk from conditions

such as alcoholism, etc. Denying them

time with their parent is not in their best

interest, if the non-custodial parent stays involved;

also, everyone benefits.”

8

Find Yourself a Church

One of the best things you can do for

yourself and your children is to be

actively involved in the life of a church or


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other spiritual community. There you and

your family will receive inspiration, instruction,

friendship and support. If you are concerned

that a church may be judgmental of

you and not accepting of your circumstances,

keep in mind that most churches and their

leaders are extremely compassionate. Most

likely, you will be welcomed with open arms.

Psychologist and author Dr. James Dobson

notes: “Churches today are becoming more

sensitive to the needs of single parents. More

congregations are offering programs and ministries

geared to the unique concerns of those

with special needs. I’d advise every single parent

to find such a church or fellowship group

and make himself or herself at home there.

Christian fellowship and support can be the

key to survival.”

9

Finally—Exhibit a Positive

Attitude About Family Life

Daily be thankful for the gifts and blessings

which come to and from your family. In

her book, Parenting Through Crisis: Helping


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Kids in Times of Loss, Grief, and Change,

Barbara Colorosso says: “When we offer our

children our time, our affection, and our

sense of optimism, we help them find a way

through their own adversity, grief and sorrow.

They learn that they, too, can take an active

part in determining what they will do with

what life has handed them.”


Other titles available in

the Peacefinder book series:

You Can Stop Smoking

Addiction Free

Ten Ways to Improve Your Marriage

A Dozen Ways to Defeat Loneliness

Hope in Times of Trouble

Money Management

Stress Management

Survival Tips for Single Parenting

Successful Parenting

Living with Loss

The Healing of Sorrow

Life After Death

Medical Miracle

Gentle Ways to Ease Depression

To order additional titles, visit our online

bookstore at www.peacefinders.org

or call 1-800-728-6872.


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