First, I have to disclose that I am not a single parent and therefore would never claim that I know the unique struggles of single parenting as I have not walked in your shoes. However, I was raised by a windowed, single parent and I can offer you some insights from this perspective. You Are Not Alone.
No matter what the unique circumstances of you becoming a single parent are, you must first realize that you are not alone. The power of prayer and the Holy Spirit are greater than you could ever imagine and God will be with you on this journey. My wife and I grew up in the same church and at our wedding the pastor made the comment that although I grew up without an earthly father, I had my heavenly Father with me every step of the way. The challenges of being a single parent will test and stretch your abilities to their limit and it is at times such as these that you will need to be closer and have more trust and faith in the Lord. It is key that you have an active, prayer life and daily relationship with Christ and seek to grow this relationship with every passing day. Don’t wait until tough times to run to the Lord for refuge, seek his guidance and reassurance on a daily basis.
It Takes A Village.
Popular culture and the Women’s Movement of the 1970’s told my own mother that you don’t need help, or anyone else; you are a strong, independent woman. I agree with the strong, independent part but shouldering the burden of parenting alone brings undue stress and potential resentment. Parenting is hard enough with two parents present and with one missing from the equation, the African Proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child” becomes even truer. I once gave a speech on overcoming fears and highlighted that we all have areas where we are lacking, it is in these exact areas that we need to realize our deficiencies, ask for help and rely on the teamwork and generosity of others to multiple our efforts. Parents, friends, small groups and dedicated programs like the Mentoring Project all come to mind here. Your children will be influenced by other external adults regardless of your own efforts so why not be strategic about selecting positive role models and adults who can help and mentor your children during the process. Other positive male role models spending time with our son’s is crucial to the development process for both married and single parents. Grandparents offer generational insights, wisdom and built in babysitting for nights off. Other Godly women in our daughter’s lives, especially during the teenage years, can pay huge dividends in their lives and development into young women. The key to all this is realizing your limitations and not being too proud or afraid to ask for help.
Model Godly Character.
If you are a single parent as a result of a divorce, you must always model Godly character to your children. Never talk badly about your former spouse in front of your children and never use your children as leverage with your former spouse. Your children will harbor their own feelings of guilt from a divorce and the last thing they need is for you to add fuel to this fire. Resign yourself to be the better parent and set the example for your children to follow. Set the standards high in your home and regardless of how your former spouse acts, do not lower these standards. Hopefully you and your former spouse can come to a compromise on morals, values and boundaries of raising your children but always remember you can only control your own actions.
You’re Still A Family.
No matter what your circumstances are, you are still a family. You should still strive to eat meals together as often as possible, plan family events and vacations and create lasting memories. Your children need security in their hearts and the more ways you can accomplish this, the better. These previous posts Life Map - What We Did stand true for single parents just as well as married parents. It may not be easy or convenient to accomplish these milestones and it will definitely take more work on your part as a single parent, but the end results are worth it and your spiritual and moral legacy you leave in your children will far surpass any short term setbacks or inconvenience.
To all our single parent readers, as a child of a single parent, I have great admiration for what you are doing and believe you exemplify the meaning of courage as a parent. I pray that God’s blessings be with you and the Holy Spirit walk with you every step of your journey. You are the unsung heroes in the parenting world, thank you for all that you do.