As you probably know, being a Single Mom or Dad ain't easy... you're too busy trying to run your household, juggling your work life with your family life, etc... to have much time to devote to meeting that new special someone, whether it be another Single Parent or an enlightened Single.
This resource is just for you. We have assembled some excellent articles for you on the art of being a Single Parent as well as some worthwhile dating advice. If you are recently divorced or have become recently single for whatever reason, and you dread the thought of dating again... then read the articles below.
FOUR WAYS TO BOND WITH YOUR CHILD AS A SINGLE PARENT
TO DO AND NOT TO DO: A DATING GUIDE FOR SINGLE PARENTS
FOUR WAYS TO BOND WITH YOUR CHILD AS A SINGLE PARENT
Four Ways To Bond With Your Child As A Single Parent
Four Ways To Bond With Your Child As A Single Parent by Dean Caporella
The issue of single parenting often evokes plenty of debate as to whether children are more negatively impacted in a single parent home as opposed to having two parents.
In reality, children who grow up with only one parent in the home are said to become more independent and are better prepared to fend for themselves in adult life. This view will definitely stir up plenty of debate.
Single Parent Dating
One of the biggest issues of single parenting is a parent who re-enters the dating scene. The impact on their children can be very dramatic especially if a child has already experienced a two parent household and was close to the parent who is no longer a part of it.
The welcome reception for the new person in their life can be best described as being hot. A parent who introduces a new member to the family may often times have to deal with jealous feelings from their child. A child now faces the prospect of competing for their sole parent's affection which can lead to tense times.
Single Parenting Tips
Let's take a look at some things you can do as a single parent to form a more harmonious relationship with your child:
- Show them you love them every day. This could be through simply telling them every day or by some action. Maybe leaving a note on their pillow after they leave for school or in their school bag.
- Encourage your child daily. Let them know they are above average and they are doing a great job. On the other hand, be careful not to "sugar coat" the situation too much and if they break the rules then let them know also.
- Set rules the child must abide by. Routine is important in a two parent household but it's just as vital in a single parent home. Eating family dinners is crucial to a home's routine. Make sure you sit down together at least once a day to eat. Evening time is ideal but if your situation allows, try and sit down for breakfast together as well.
- Don't be afraid to let your child help out around the home. If they are old enough then encourage them to help keep the home and yard clean. When a child is given responsibility, in most cases they will thrive.
Seven Parenting Mistakes to Avoid With Your Teenager
Seven Parenting Mistakes to Avoid With Your Teenager by Terre Grable
Being a single parent inherently comes with challenges. As a counselor, often single parents ask what mistakes they need to avoid when parenting their teenager. Many single parents are concerned about any consequences of their divorce that could negatively affect their teenager. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Mistake 1: Lying to them
Honesty is always best, especially when parenting teenagers. First, today's teenagers are quite savvy and know when they are being conned. Also, dishonesty only destroys trust, which is something that is needed most during this transitional time.
Mistake 2: Avoiding discipline
Wherever there is a lack of any discipline, there is manipulation. Dictionary.com provides this definition of discipline, "Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement." Notice the emphasis on improved character rather than punishment.
Mistake 3: Eliminate any structure or routine
Divorce is a transitional time for everyone involved. Each person's routine is adversely affected. A structured home environment filled with routines and chores provides a sense of order and ownership. This is beneficial particularly if there is chaos resulting from the divorce.
Mistake 4: Forget about them
As a single parent, you are forced to wear many hats and fill many different roles - often simultaneously. In addition, you are in the midst of trying to provide a stable home environment, work full time, and recover from the emotional adjustment of a being a single parent. In the midst of this, I encourage you to find some time to be intentional on spending time with your teenager on a regular basis. Help them to see that you are available to them, and concerned about any needs they may have.
Mistake 5: Continue fighting with your former spouse
If a marital relationship has been turbulent, then many teenagers anticipate a divorce will bring about a much needed sense of peace. However, if conflict continues after divorce has been finalized then your teenager may experience some emotional difficulty adjusting to the divorce. As much as you are able, try to keep any discussions with your former spouse cordial and focused on your teenager.
Mistake 6: Don't get them any outside help
Divorce can affect teenagers in many different ways. Some may open up emotionally and sharing their feelings freely. However, others may withdraw from family and friends and become reclusive. Others may enter into some behavioral problems that may have not been there before. If you have any concerns about how your teenager is recovering from the divorce then I encourage you to seek out a qualified professional counselor.
Mistake 7: Assuming nothing is wrong
Another common parenting mistake is to assume that your teenager has been completely untouched by the divorce. There lives seem undisturbed as if the divorce is a minor incident in the tapestry of their lives. And this is true for many teenagers. However, there are others that will give the appearance that all is well, when in fact the opposite is the case. They may do this to save face for them, or they can react this way to give their parents one less thing to worry about. Communicate with your teenager on an ongoing basis about his/her feelings about their new life and its challenges.
About the Author: Terre Grable is a licensed professional counselor. She enjoys helping parents and teens become better friends when they feel like enemies.
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To Do and Not to Do: A Dating Guide for Single Parents
To Do and Not to Do: A Dating Guide for Single Parents by Judy Porter
A lot of single parents shy away from dating because things can get too complicated when a history of failed relationships and a number of growing children come into play. The excess baggage makes dating even more difficult than usual, making single parents devote all their free time on their kids.
There's nothing wrong with being a doting mom or dad, but you have to admit that as a single parent, you sometimes crave for a bit of fun, excitement, and companionship that only dating can bring. If you've been depriving yourself of the pleasures of dating because of fear of getting hurt or finding yourself in, it's you who'll end up losing out on the chance of being truly happy.
Of course, as a single parent, you are expected to date even more responsibly than ever. This time around, you no longer have just yourself to think about; you also need to take into your consideration your children, so that if your date doesn't turn out to be The One, no one will get hurt that much.
To help you date responsibly, here are some do's and don'ts for single parents who are about to reenter the jungle that is dating:
-- Expand your social life. A healthy social network enriches your personality and provides you a strong support system due to the new friendships you form. And you might even find a special someone from one the friends you make. After all, a lot of the best relationships start with solid friendships.
-- Be honest about having children. You don't have to tell the whole history of your past relationships and story of your current domestic life during the first few dates (and perhaps, ever, because some things are better left unsaid) but you are expected to be upfront about being a parent right from the start. In this way, dating prospects who don't like to be involved with someone with kids can make a run for it before either of you get in too deep.
--Take your time. When you meet a dating prospect, slowly build on a friendship so that any romantic relationship that comes out of it has a solid foundation. Passionate flings with sexy strangers may have an irresistible allure to them, but when you have kids, you need to think about going out with someone they can grow to like as well.
-- Make sure that the person you are dating is of decent character. The last thing you want is your children seeing you hurt by a jerk or a bitch because they get hurt by your pain as well. Even if things don't work out, if you're going out with someone who knows how to respect your feelings, then you can end a relationship with your dignity intact.
-- Join clubs and organizations just for the sake of finding dating prospects. Actively looking for The One makes him or her more elusive than ever. It also reeks of desperation, and you know you're better than that. You're better off forming meaningful friendships. Even without romance in your life, friends can always brighten up a dismal day.
-- Rush in without thinking. Only fools rush in, as a saying goes. When you have kids, you can no longer afford to be a fool. Make sure that you really are ready to face the consequences of your actions, because if you get hurt in the end, your kids will notice. Or even if they don't, your ability to handle them on a daily basis will get affected. Don't let romantic notions get the best of you, because you may end up being bitterly disappointed when a dating prospect doesn't turn out as great as you expected.
-- Ignore the warning signs. It doesn't happen often, but the key point here is that it does, and it can happen to you. If the person you are dating shows signs of being abusive, then it's time to say goodbye. You may be able to handle it, but your children can't. Don't put them in a situation where they can be exposed to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. In the end, it's your kids' welfare you should put in top priority.
Online Dating And The Single Parent
Online Dating And The Single Parent by Ben Nielson
If you are a single parent looking into the world of online dating, you want to be cautious and completely honest in your profile. Even if the kids live with you or not, you should include something about them in your profile. Many people are not looking for someone with kids, especially young ones. There are many people in their forties, who have older kids out on their own and do not want to start over with kids involved. Sex and age of the kids is important for single parents to discuss in a profile. They will be a part of the picture especially if they are younger.
You can make your profile fun and exciting by listing things you like to do with and without the kids. This does help a perspective caller see that you can enjoy doing things along and still have time for the kids. Single parents joining the online dating world have to take precautions as well. Although you want to be honest about having kids, you never know about some people you will meet. It is always best to have a long period of time communicating before the actual meeting. Try not to introduce the kids right away.
You need to make sure this is someone you want around your kids as well as someone your kids will like. Online dating should be a good experience for both you and the children. If you meet someone that is great with you and fulfills all your dreams, but as issues with your kids, it might not be the best relationship to start. Unbelievably, sometimes kids are a better judge of character than adults are in these situations. In some cases, though, kids are just being stubborn while waiting for the natural parent to come back.
Meeting someone online through a dating service might be easy, but getting everyone together might cause some issues. Single parenting means you do need time for yourself. Dating is one of these things that need to be explained to some children. Some children just do not care, which makes it a little easier. If you are ready to introduce your new friend, you should have gotten to know the person very well. Even the sweetest and most talented person might not be right for you and your children. Take your time when finding someone to meet in person. This is crucial if you have kids to care for.
Single parents and online dating can work together it just might take longer than it would if you were gathering with friends and meeting someone. You want to be sure and safe. Not everyone will find someone right away, it does take time, but if you spend a little time every day browsing profiles, you might find someone that will interest you and maybe they will even have kids of their own. You can search for profiles of people who include kids in their profiles which does make searching easier. Keep in mind that some people might not have kids, but love kids.
Single Parents and Romantic Relationships
Single Parents and Romantic Relationships: The Recipe for Longevity by Judy Porter
The foundation of long-term relationships is essentially the same for everyone, even for single parents. Trust, communication, and love are three key factors that must exist in any relationship if it has any hope to last beyond a few months. As a single parent, though, you need to exert more effort in making a relationship work. After all, it's not just yourself you have to consider; you need to think of your children's welfare as well.
To make a relationship last, you need to lay out the truth right from the very start. Never pretend, even at the beginning, that you are totally single and free of obligation. Being upfront even during the early dating stages establishes that you're honest, and this encourages your partner to be truthful to you as well.
Let your partner know that your kids always come first. This removes any unreasonable expectations between the two of you. However, this doesn't mean that your partner falls far behind in your list of priorities. The key here is striking a balance between your partner and your children. Even though your kids will always take stop spot in your life, know when to allow your partner to be your number one while your kids take a temporary backstage.
Even though you (and maybe even your partner) have kids, don't let all your activities revolve around your domestic life. Although going out on fun outings with the children is a fun activity, make sure that you still have dates that involve only you and your partner. A romantic candlelit dinner for two, a weekend getaway to a private beach resort, or maybe even just a movie date--these are the activities that keep the romance aspect alive.
And of course, don't forget the sex. In any mature relationship, sex plays an integral part. You may be a single parent, but do not confine yourself to that role alone. At home in front of your kids, you are known as a mom or dad; but in the bedroom, you should be nothing else but a sexy temptress or a dashing seducer. Keeping the sexual fire alive provides constant passion and excitement in any long-term relationship.
Constant communication and trust, of course, are two things that you should never do without. Say what you mean and mean what you say to avoid petty misunderstandings that often escalate to major fights. Don't let niggling suspicions with no strong basis get the best of you. Learn to identify your insecurities. Do you really have a reason to worry, or is it all just in your head? Sometimes, even the best relationships end not because of indiscretion, but because of insecurity.
You will never know what your partner thinks and does 100% of the time. The earlier you accept that fact, the more realistic your expectations of a relationship will be. Provide enough space between you and your partner. Even with a special someone in your life, you still need time for yourself, as does your partner. The last thing either one of you need is the feeling of being emotionally suffocated in a relationship that hinders personal growth. Never lose your sense of yourself so that if things don't work out, you can still fall back on your own strength to pull you through.
During the course of the relationship, after you've made sure that your partner is trustworthy and decent, bring your children into the picture. This means letting them get to know your partner well, so that if your relationship progresses to something more serious (such as moving in together and maybe even getting married), your children will not be in for too much of a surprise.
Being a single parent should never be a deterrent for long-lasting romantic relationships. If you and your partner are mature enough to handle commitments, the presence of children is even going to enhance your relationship instead of hamper it. Once you learn how to strike a balance between your romantic
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Dating as a Single Dad
Dating as a Single Dad by Judy Porter
It is hard enough to enter the dating scene as a single parent but for single dad's who are raising their kids alone it is even trickier. Unfortunately most of the advice and support out there is for single mothers since society is so used to mom's getting custody. But times are changing and more and more father's are getting at least joint if not soul custody of their children. Just because the legal system has changed doesn't mean that society, and dating, have caught up.
It's a sad fact that many women expect the men that they are dating to place them at the top of their priority lists, before work and family. That might be possible for the single guys and weekend parents but when you are an active single father your kids have to come first. Some guys try to juggle between girlfriends with Princess syndrome and their kids but in the end it just leads to hurt feelings.
The first rule of being a single dad in the dating world is to be selective. It's better to wait around for a woman who appreciates and understands the primacy of your role as a father then to go through dozens of bad relationships with girls who don't get it. There are women out there who not only accept that being a Dad comes first to you, they also find it attractive. So where are these women at? The truth is that you are going to have to shift your hunting ground from bars and clubs, where the women tend to be younger and less mature, to places like coffee shops and book clubs.
Don't be afraid to date single mothers, even though the fact you both have kids can make it complicated to schedule rendezvous and coordinate babysitters. It is worth it since you both have a dedication to family and share many of the same experiences. And don't rule out online dating sites. Getting to know somebody through emails and phone calls first can help you focus your limited time with people who have shown that they understand you and your situation.
Once a single father does find someone to start dating online they are trapped by the old rules of what men are expected to do in romantic relationships. Let's start with money. There are many single dads who are getting little, if any, child support from their exes and finances are tight. But the old rules about men paying for dates are still in play, even though the woman you are taking out might be making more then you. So instead of taking your date to dinner and a movie, which can easily reach a fifty to eighty bucks for both of you, look for things that are less expensive but more romantic. An afternoon picnic at a park for example. There are dozens of low cost exhibitions, fairs, and community events going on in your town every weekend and these make great places to take a date.
Then there is the issue of sex. Guys are expected to make the first move to the bedroom which is hard when you have kids at your home, not to mention that you have to be home before midnight to pay the babysitter. You may feel like you are a teenager again having to make out in the back of cars and in parking lots because you can't go home. But you aren't sixteen anymore and you are old enough to be able to talk about the logistics of these issues with your girlfriend. If you aren't ready to talk about it then you guys probably aren't ready to be doing it.
So now that you have found the right woman through your online dating, you just need to introduce her to the kids. It is important that you do this delicately and without a of promises. Make it clear to the kids, and your lady, that she isn't coming in to be their Mother. This is important because they have already lost one full time mother, if the relationship fails and they lose another one it will be devastating. You are the primary caregiver and decision maker in these kids lives. If your girlfriend takes on the role of Mommy she may end up usurping that authority. You are a single father, emphasis on the word father. Anything getting in the way of that job needs to be eliminated from your life
Single Parents And The Rise of Crime Rates Among Children
Single Parents And The Rise of Crime Rates Among Children by Dwayne Garrett
The hardest thing to face as a single parent are the intense emotions associated with being both a mother and a father to a child. This is further magnified when the other parent is absent or is deliberately not doing anything to fulfill his part in the caring for the children. More often than not, the single parent's psychological well being bogs down.
Single parents might try to cope with this strain by either trying to compensate by adopting both mom and dad roles, or by scouring the social scene for a partner to help him or her in the rearing of the child. The pressure is definitely high.
However, if truth be told, none of the above will help. If anything, they might even cause you to become more stressed. And when you end up being more stressed than ever, chances are this will reflect and magnify on your child.
If you are a single parent, ask yourself. How does your behavior and general outlook toward life affect your kid? Upon closer scrutiny, you might just find out that your child's constant tantrums and bouts of unexplained anger might just be the result of your continuing negativity. It is for these reasons that you should be careful.
Several studies show that children coming from single-parent households are more susceptible to destructive or rebellious behavior, not just because society imposes the need for a two-parent structure, but also, more often than not, the custodial parent is either too guilty that he or she smothers his child, or too busy to make ends meet to show how much he or she cares.
According to one study, about 90% of the change in crime rates between 1973 and 1995 had been accounted for by children born into single-family setups and those that had been born outside of marriage.
While this is not entirely true for all cases of that cover single parent households, we cannot discount the fact that majority of reports conducted in lieu of single parenthood and crime rates show that they are, indeed, linked.
Children born into two-parent, or 'intact' homes, are also susceptible to committing crime, so it would be impulsive to generalize that all kids under one-parent households are likely to become criminals.
Sure, two-parent settings place some sort of balance to a child's psychological well-being. However, it should also not be discounted that kids who grew up under an unhappy but intact home are also prone to some form of destructive behavior.
If you are a single parent, the best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to be there for your child. You don't really need to be available 24-7 and spend so much just to show him or her that you care. The mere fact that you make it clear, in the occasions that you can, that your child's well-being is your utmost priority is enough.
Never forget to tell your child that you love him or her. Do away with discussing the negative, especially if it's against the other parent, no matter how distressed you are with him or her.
If you are having trouble reaching out to your kid, particularly if you're realizing this need just now and your child is already a teen, seek counseling. Or have a one on one talk with your child so that both of you will understand each others feelings openly. Honesty is key in a single parent setting. If both parent and child are honest about what they think and feel, the less likely a rebellion would occur.
While you do feel somehow guilty for being a single parent (you may sometimes even think it's your fault that your kid is exhibiting rebellious behavior), you should immediately try to take it out of your system. Guilt will only magnify the ill effects on your child and might even push him or her further into ill behavior.
Simply put, a positive attitude will do wonders. A happy household, whether in a two-parent or single parent setting, is still a happy household. And this is all that is going to matter.
About the Author: Dwayne Garrett is the author of several eBooks and popular software applications.
Single Parent Dating - Introducing Your Kids to Your Dates
Single Parent Dating - Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Your Dates by Judy Porter
If you are a single parent, dating may be a source of simultaneous joy and anxiety. How do you explain to young children that you are dating? Should you introduce the kids to everyone you date, or is it better to wait until the relationship has reached a certain level of commitment? What if you fall in love with someone your kids end up not liking? Although these are common questions most single parents entering the dating scene have, there are truly no simple answers. Combining the following tips with your instincts and better judgment can help.
When you have young children, third grade or younger, explaining that you are dating is probably not necessary, at least not until you have met someone you are serious about. Introducing a young child to every man or woman you bring home is probably more damaging than helpful, and will likely only confuse your child. Remember that young children grow attached to people quickly, and thus, it is unfair to your children to bring someone into their lives whom you yourself are still unsure about. Once a relationship has reached the stage where you both envision a future together, the risk of heartbreak for both you and your kids becomes smaller.
Once you are dating someone you truly believe could be the one, you are faced with how to introduce your kids to the new man or woman in your life. It is wise to sit down with your children individually and have a conversation before bringing home someone who, to your children, is a stranger. If your children are old enough to understand the concept of dating, they might not necessarily be happy to hear the news.
Kids ages nine and up, especially ones old enough to remember your divorce or separation, or who have lived through the death of a parent, tend to see their single parent's dating as a threat. Explain to your children that you are not trying to replace their father or mother, and that this new person will never take their mother's or father's place. Make sure to listen to how your children feel about what you tell them, and encourage them to ask any questions they have.
If your kids react positively or neutrally, you might schedule an age-appropriate activity all of you can do together. If your children seem extremely adverse to the idea of you dating, you might consider holding off on the introduction for a few weeks to give your kids time to let the news sink in. Once you and your kids are ready, plan an activity where everyone can have a good time. Choose mini-golf or an afternoon at the arcade over a sit-down lunch, because a hands-on activity will allow your kids the option of doing their own thing while warming up to your new love slowly, whereas a restaurant lunch will involve forced small talk and awkward silence.
Keep in mind, all children adjust differently. If your kids lived through and remember the times you and their father argued, or your kids' mother has only been dead a few years, the concept of a new man or woman entering their lives may be more than your children are emotionally ready to handle. Once a child has lost a parent, they may fear being abandoned. Although it may seem irrational to your adult mind, to a child, it may seem like you are abandoning them for a new man, or a new woman. They may also feel like you are trying to replace their father or mother, or they may be holding on to fantasies that you and your ex will get back together. If your children feel any of these things, they will most likely react negatively to anyone new you bring home, regardless of what a good person he or she might be or how much you love him or her. By reassuring your children that you love them, that they are your priority, and that your loyalties are to them, you will be allowing your children to accept your new relationship in their own time.