Single parents and teenagers ? these two words bring to mind the most challenging phases of life. I know because I was raised by a single parent, and not so long ago I was a teenager. I remember the life challenges my own mother encountered as a single parent. Here are 5 tips to help you navigate the ever changing challenges of being a single parent: 1. Remember you are still a family Regardless of the circumstances your family is still a family - even if it does not have two parents. There are many single parent families that are emotionally healthy.
It is a matter of choice, not luck. They choose to make their families emotionally healthy, fun and one that is filled with positive memories. Parent Tip: Think about the ideals that you want your family to be known for, and write them down. Perhaps make a door hanger or craft that contains symbols of these ideals to remind you of them. 2 Talk with your teen about their feelings As you may know, your teen may also be experiencing feelings of loss. Regardless of the age and circumstances, your child may have feelings of sadness or anger or just feeling different than their peers.
Allow your son/daughter to talk to about how they are feeling. This will also help the relationship you have with them. Parent Tip: Look for teachable moments. Those special times when you know your teen is really listening to you, and is engaged, and take advantage of it.
Teachable moments are a rarity, so seize the moment. 3. Stay involved.
As best you can, continue to be involved in their lives. Show them you are still committed to them despite your stresses. Consistency in your behavior will shout louder than your words. Parent Tip: Attend school functions. Find those things you both have to do anyways throughout the week and do them together.
Eat meals together. Go for a morning or evening walk together. 4. Teach responsibility Teenagers are usually begging for parents to give them their independence. One of the best ways to teach responsibility is to give them chores to do around the home. Address chores not as something you are nagging them to do, but an opportunity for your teenager to show he/she is responsible to handle more independence.
Parent Tip: Start with small responsibilities and then work into more independence with greater responsibilities. For example, you may begin with teaching them to do their own laundry before letting them drive your vehicle. 5. Live within your means.
As a counselor, I have often seen where parents incur a great deal of financial debt in order to "care" for their teenagers. They want them to have the right kind of clothes, have their own cars and other "necessities" the teenager says they "need." This approach is lose-lose for everyone. Teenagers are not taught about proper spending, and the parents' credit card bills stack up as does their financial stress.
Parent Tip: Educate your child on healthy spending habits. If they are of employment age, have them work to earn money to pay for their own "necessities." Likewise, educate yourself on healthy spending habits.
Are you looking for more common sense advice, practical solutions and even humor for parenting your teen? I invite you to check out http://www.parentingyourteenager.com/ where you will find tips for parenting teens, school, curfew, and more! Terre Grable is a licensed professional counselor. She enjoys helping parents and teens become better friends when they feel like enemies.