Parenting in modern times is a challenging task. It cannot be mastered like an academic or vocational course and has no quick-fix solutions. And it turns even more daunting, when the entire responsibility of rearing a child falls on a single parent. However, the concept of parenting is evolving and good parenting has less to do with the number of parents (father and mother as natural parents) and more to do with the quality of parenting.
The trend of educated, professionally successful urban couples opting for nuclear families has been firmly established by now. Children in these families are often brought up by a single parent as the other parent may be compelled to stay away from home in some other state or country owing to professional commitments. The phenomenal rise in divorce cases have also led to broken homes and emergence of single parents. However, it is not too tough for a single parent to strategise a plan to create an emotionally stable and healthy environment for raising a child. Only one must be careful not to share one’s emotional burden with the child.
How to build a sweet and secure single-parent home
Help a child feel secure and communicate without fear or doubt. A single parent needs to instill confidence in the child and encourage them to approach the single parent in times of distress or triumph. A child reared in a household with two parents usually gets attached to one. In a single parent house hold they get no such opportunity. Hence the child must feel free to communicate with the single parent and never feel a void.
A single parent tends to feel nervous when a child returns with any physical injury or mental trauma. But never show your tension at home in absence of a supportive partner. On the contrary, empathise with the child and assure him/her that all is well.
Let your child know you are the boss at home and draw firm and clear boundaries. Use clear guidelines for disciplining the child and help them realise their limits.
A set routine helps to provide a sense of security. You need not be too strict or inflexible, because a child needs to learn to adjust to unpredictable changes in life.
Parenting is a very stressful job and is compounded when the entire responsibility falls on one person. You need to master time management to compartmentalize your daily chores. Set specific goals and try to complete a task within its stipulated time. This will give you some breathing space. Do not hesitate to assign your child to lend a helping hand. This will make them feel important and give them a sense of achievement.
Children are perceptive and intelligent. When they watch their single parent fumbling, feeling helpless and struggling to meet deadlines, they instantly begin to exploit them. Do not let your children manipulate you and make you feel guilty for your shortcomings.
Friends not only provide mental support, but can help you take decisions during emergencies and arrange for help in other spheres like child-care, child’s education etc. They can be like an extended family to the child.
Never weigh down a child with your sob stories. This affects a child’s natural development.
Your child is your biggest support and as a member of the family can always help you. Credit yourself and your child for every task accomplished.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.