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3 Tips for Newly Single Parents

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The divorce has been finalized, and your ex is now entirely out of the picture. This is a lot of change for you, but you aren’t sure how you can support your kids with this new living situation. Hopefully, you find these tips helpful for parenting on your own.

1. Routine Routine Routine

While this may seem like an underwhelming tip, children thrive on a healthy and expected routine. Children and extremely perceptive to change, and too much change within a short timeframe can steal a child’s motivation, sense of security, and openness. The best way to combat a significant life change (like a recent divorce) is to establish or reestablish routine in your child’s life. If you ate at 6:00 PM before the divorce, continue to eat at 6:00 PM after a divorce. Encourage your children to continue in their extracurricular activities if they have them. Establish new routines where old ones need to be replaced. Once these scheduled activities are in motion, your child will once again feel safe and secure.

2. Don’t Deny Emotions

After a parent leaves the picture, the other parent may think that he or she has to be emotionally strong for his or her children. While it is true that a single parent must be physically and mentally strong for their children, the reality is that letting out some emotion with one’s kids can be healthy and cathartic practice for newly single parents. There is an unhealthy way to show these emotions, but crying with your kids and showing them that this is a tough scenario lets them know that they can have emotions as well. Attempting to hide your emotions will only push your kids further away (as they may feel like they can’t confide in you if they are sad and you appear happy). Additionally, allowing your kids to feel their emotions at home can help them focus on their educational and social skills at school. Ultimately, we have emotions for a reason, so don’t shy away from them if you can appropriately share them with your kids.

3. Mix Praise & Critique

As a single parent, you have to play the role of the discipline dealer and the encourager. It is easy to lean on the discipline side of the spectrum in fear that your child will become unruly if you don’t act as an authority on their life (this is especially true when multiple kids are a part of the picture). However, it is crucial that you mix encouragement into the regular hustle and bustle of everyday living. Encouragement can help children take on responsibility through a heightened sense of capability. This can lead to a decrease in bad behavior and an increase in parent-child relations.

Pro Tip: Be specific when encouraging your child. Rather than saying “good job,” say something like “I liked the way you colored that picture” or “I’m so proud of you for taking out the garbage.” Specific encouragement is much more potent than ambiguous praise.

We hope this blog helps you care for your family while also taking care of yourself. If you ever have any need of a family law attorney, don’t hesitate to call (904) 770-3141 for a free initial consultation concerning your family law needs!