Are you a newly single parent who is worried about navigating the teenage years alone? Perhaps you’ve been a single parent for a while, but are intimidated about the years that come ahead?
Raising teenagers is not easy especially as a single parent, but it is very rewarding. Many single parents struggle with finding a balance between their parenting style and that of the other parent – especially when it comes to keeping things consistent for their teen. If you are a single parent who does not have the other parent in the picture, it’s important that you are open to allowing other good role models into your teen’s life. As a single parent there are a number of things you can do to enrich your teen’s life and your relationship with your teen.
Make Time For Yourself
While it might sound strange to suggest this as the first piece of help for single parents of teenagers, it’s really important. If you don’t get time for yourself, you will eventually get exhausted from putting your teen first. When you’re exhausted you simply wont be the best parent you can be – you’ll be tired, grumpy, short tempered, and have no energy to enjoy being a parent to your teen. Take some time out for yourself, do something you love, catch up with your friends or take up a personal hobby.
Allow Other Adults Into Your Teens Lives
Many single parents feel the pressure to be both parents, especially when one parent is out of the picture. While that is totally natural, it can be overwhelming trying to spread yourself out too thin. If you have other family members, such as aunties, uncles and grandparents that your teen would benefit from ensure that they spend some time together. The more positive role models your teen has in their life, the more likely they are to be inspired and supported.
Don’t Be Too Soft
All parents want the best for their children and they want their teens to be happy. There will be a number of instances where you will have to choose being the parent over being the friend – and this is exactly what your teen needs from you. Be firm to what you believe in, and ensure that you and the other parent discuss things such as discipline, curfews and expectations so that there is consistency for your teen.
Do Something Fun With Your Teen
One of the best types of help for single parents with teens is to actually spend some time doing something fun with their teen. This will depend heavily on what you and your teen both like, but consider taking them to the movies, going for a nice walk together, making art, going to the theatre or going skiing. Sometimes parenting can be heavy and you can get so focused on discipline and rules that you forget to enjoy being a parent. Spending time doing something fun can be a great way to build mutual respect with your teen while simply enjoying their company.
What have you found helpful as a single parent? Is there any advice you wish you had got to help with parenting a teenager alone?