Raising children is tough work and raising them, as a single mother is twice as hard because we have the sole responsibility to raise them well. But being a single mother does not give us an excuse to fall into a pattern of making mistakes. Unfortunately single mothers are often given a bad rap because of continually repeating mistakes and never learning from them. No matter how carefully we are raising our children, we are still vulnerable to committing the common mistakes that single mothers often do. Here are some of the common mistakes that single mothers should avoid when raising a child.
Holding on to the past is mistake #1.
Many single mothers hang on to that deadbeat partner or the child’s father that only continues to create false expectations and break promises. It is your job to protect your child from those types of people. If it were anyone else in your life, you wouldn’t allow them in, so don’t make excuses and allow them to continue to hurt you. Hanging on to the dream that you will be a “perfect family” is what may be keeping you from embracing the beautiful family you already have. Let go of any anger, bitterness, resentment, or hurt that you may have and you will be making more room for the love, acceptance, and joy that your kids have to give to you. You also will be teaching them that it is okay to move on and be to be happy.
The next mistake single mothers make is having an attitude of “I can do it all on my own!”
While confidence and self-sufficiency is important qualities to foster you must also learn to ask for help and accept it when needed. Remember that phrase “it takes a village to raise a family?” Many single mothers assume that their child is doing well despite a divorce or the death of a partner. However, you should think about getting the help of a professional counselor when your emotions aren’t in a position to help your child. Accepting help in form of finances, housing, and childcare are all part of being a new single mother and one day you will be less dependent on others, but there is no shame in receiving some assistance.
Lack of discipline and consistency in single mothers home is a big mistake that will follow a child for the rest of their life.
If there are no boundaries, cause and effect, circumstances for actions, and praise in their life, it will lead to behavior problems. Children want boundaries and they want praise. Create rules and a plan together depending on your child’s are. Let them know what you expect of them in advance and then follow through with it. Always be loving when delivering the consequences and your children will grow from it.
Never lie to your children.
This mistake is common among separated parents. As mothers we tend to “protect the child” from the reasons of separation or what the next step may entail. Although your intentions of not hurting your child are good, lying or sugarcoating will only make matters worse. Once your child finds out that you are not giving out the full story, this can lead to mistrust on the child’s part and can lead to them asking your ex-partner to fill in the blanks. With children, particularly teenagers, trust is difficult to regain, and they may side with the person who tells more of the story. With age appropriate information and with an unbiased contestation answer any questions and have an open dialogue.
Dating too soon and allowing men or roommates into the home is a mistake that can cause the most harm.
Children are vulnerable and allowing new people into the home without really knowing them can lead to abuse, resentment, and anger. Before you bring someone into your child’s life, you may want to consider finding out if they are worthy to even be in yours. Do background checks, ask for references, and don’t bring someone home until you really know them. Your children will have more time to bond with you and will respect your more if your love life isn’t always on the rocks.
Another common single mom mistake is to judge other families and to seclude yourself.
We are busy and it is easy to say we want to spend time with the kids, but joining a single moms group, scheduling play dates, joining a sports team or book club is great for both you and the kids. The activities together help you bond in ways and socialize with other families. Be sure not to envy the married mom with a housekeeper because while the grass may be greener, there is always something behind closed doors. Concentrate on going out and meeting people so that your children can make some close friends even if you don’t feel you need a BFF at the moment.
And lastly, forgive yourself if needed, because choosing to not do so is a big mistake that will keep you from forgiving others.
This situation is not all your fault but you alone can make a bright future for both you and your children. Awareness, forgiveness and acceptance of the situation will help you to move forward and to stop making the mistakes that many single mothers make.