As a single parent its one of the questions I often ask myself is whether or not my kids will be okay? Will they grow up okay and not be emotionally scarred? Will they have issues with their own relationships? Will I be able to provide for them the same?
Still today there is a stigma around single parent families and the potential affects it may have on your kids. According to statistics kids with ADHD are more likely to reside in a single parent family.
- Will any of my kids develop ADHD? Will they grow up hating on me and suffer from depression in their adult years because of their childhood?
- Will they turn to drugs and alcohol and start skipping school
- Will they have problems in their own relationships when they are older?
These are just some of the questions I ask myself. Then I have to stop and reflect on why I am a single parent. Its not because I just wanted to raise my kids on my own. It was because I was in relationships that were not healthy for numerous reasons and the only solution was to seperate. The moral dilemma of whether I stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of the kids? If I was the good housewife of the 50's I sure wouldn't have contemplated leaving. Oh how times have changed.
But in preparing for single parent life I did my research! I knew that it would be easier for them to spend a larger percentage of time with me, as I was the main carer and at the time my youngest two were only 3 & 5. I am a shift worker, so they usually only spent the nights with their Dad when I was working night shifts (which was usually 1-2 times a week) and the rest of the time with me.
As hard as it was at the time communicating with my ex, I had to maintain a healthy relationship in order for the kids to transition okay from one house to the other.
We kept their spaces familiar, sharing of the toys and small furniture items between the two homes. We tried to maintain routine as best we could and made sure that the kids knew what parent they were with on what days.
I got on with life as it was before. Same rules, same routine and as a matter of fact the subject of why we were living without Dad rarely came up. My kids seemed happy, there was no dramatic behaviour changes and all rolled along quite smoothly. We never made a big deal out of the seperation.
Six years on and my kids seem to be fine. They socialise well, they are meeting their learning expectations at school. They participate in sports on the weekends and they can be a little bit naughty as much as any other kids.
And what I soon came to realise was that kids from two parent families weren't always the happiest, most grounded children anyway. I am only one person, but I can make a difference to their lives
and I can raise them to be very well adjusted, loving kids. With that in mind my focus has never been about raising kids who are the smartest, or the best in sports, or the best in music. I want
to raise my kids to be well grounded, loving, resilient, good human beings. I want them to appreciate life and see the beauty in all things around us. To be kind to the universe and to be kind
and helpful to others.
They know that they are loved, both by myself and their Dad. I think what has makes the difference is the parent and their behaviors around separation. So here are my tips for helping your kids survive divorce or separation;
- Find your own happiness as this will resonate in your kids! As they say kids are often a direct reflection of their home and their parents. Most behaviour's they exhibit are learnt behaviours. So be the person you want your kids to be!
- Don't argue with your ex or have adult conversations around your kids.
- Don't speak poorly about their Mum/Dad to them. Your issues with your ex are your issues, keep those thoughts to yourself.
- Don't use your kids as pawn to get back at your ex. Either work together for a custody agreement, or if you cant seek legal help.
- Focus on healing and being happy, as ultimately the happier you are the better adjusted your kids will be.
- Maintain routine
- Give your kids an abundance of love. This is a difficult time for them and its hard for them to express their emotions and what they are feeling. Let them know that they are loved by you and their other parent.
- DON'T spoil them with THINGS!! Rather save the money and go on a short holiday together, camping or other activities you can all do together as a family.
- Set family values together.
- Positive reinforcement !