1. Children who are growing up in a single parent home need help redefining what family is for them personally. The concept of a team is often helpful. “We’re part of a team and we need to stick together, work hard, and enjoy our relationships.” That mentality needs to permeate the single parent home. One of the ground rules should be honor. Honor provides a working relationship between you and your children. You can learn more about how to develop honor in your family by reading the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, in You and Your Kids or listen to the MP3s by the same title. In fact, we wrote that book with single parents and blended families in mind. Each chapter contains at least one illustration of a single or blended family because we know that honor is especially important in these homes.
2. Get Christian leaders and other authorities involved with your kids. Children need to hear about values and truths from other adults besides you. Furthermore, they need to see how others are living out their faith and need to dialogue with different people about biblical truths. Sunday school, youth group, and other church activities should be required, not optional. Sports, music, and school can often provide key role models for your kids. Look for ways to expand your circle of support to include more nurturing relationships for your child.
3. Children who spend some time at Mom’s house and some time at Dad’s house often find themselves in binds because they hear one set of rules from one parent and another set from the other parent. You can help your child sort these things out by talking about the values behind the rules. You have convictions that result in rules for your family. Those convictions are so important because they are a reflection of your heart. That’s what you want to pass on. Talk about values and convictions regularly. Yes, you’ll have to require rules about cleaning up, not eating junk food, and avoiding certain entertainment choices, but explain why. Those discussions will produce lasting impact because they focus on convictions and values. Never underestimate the power of your influence on your child. Your convictions and your relationship go a long way to help your child be prepared for life and wise choices along the way.
4. Two MP3s that are especially helpful are Single Parenting Tips and Ideas and Single Parents – Setting Goals, Moving Forward. Both of these MP3s take into account the specific challenges single parents face. They are available in MP3 format for your convenience. We also have MP3s for leaders of Single Parent Ministry. One that you’ll find helpful is Leaders – Caring for Adult Children of Single Parents, a fascinating study of children who’ve grown up in single parent homes. Another talk for leaders is Leaders–How to Run a Single Parents Retreat giving you many practical ideas of ways to make a retreat work in your church.
5. We’ve created a MP3 series just for single parents. Although you’ll want to look at the other resources we offer about discipline and the child’s heart, we know that you face unique challenges as a single parent. Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN address these specific challenges in the MP3 series Single Parenting. Turansky and Miller talk about five common mistakes single parents make, and how to avoid them. They also talk about the complexity of relationships and teach you how to equip your kids to deal with binds and triangles. We also have a single MP3 by Drs Jeff and Judi Parziale entitled, Five Keys to Successful Single Parenting. Within these resources you’ll find some important solutions that will help you navigate through the issues single parents face.