Category Archives: Parents Help

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Parenting for Dummies: A Not-So-Dumb Top Ten

A Not so dumb guide to parentingParenting for dummies is probably a bit condescending as a title, but the purpose of this article is to strip away the mystique of being a parent.  In its purest form, parenting should be pretty straight forward, but the truth is that, in the heat of the battle with our kids, it becomes almost overwhelming!

Hence the term, “for dummies”.  I want to strip away the smoke and mirrors and get back to the basics of how you can be a great parent, in a way that anyone, including a first time novice, should be able to apply.

So here is our not-so-dumb Top Ten of Parenting for Dummies (and also smart people like you!)

1. Set Limits

Parenting starts with setting sensible limits, and attaching sensible consequences to them.  Boundaries should be put in place and this will be dependent on the age of the children.  Pick your battles, and don’t put rules in place for things that are trivial, save it for the important ones.  So have a rule in place for staying out beyond curfew, but avoid making a Federal Case of the child not brushing their teeth.

2. Set Consequences

Consequences need to make sense and be proportional.  For example a perfect consequence for staying out late would be grounding the child. Don’t set a consequence that just frustrates the child, or that is perceived as unfair or inappropriate, such as spanking a child for hitting another child.  Do not threaten consequences you will not or cannot keep to, so avoid saying things like, “If you do that again I will kill you!”

3. Follow Through

If you set a consequence, follow through every single time, or you will consider yourself a real dummy in the long run!  Even if you don’t want to, even if it inconveniences you, follow through anyway because this teaches kids that the consequences to certain actions are a sure thing and they don’t change depending on the parent’s mood.

4. Provide Structure and Routine

Children love and need structure, so parenting for dummies insists on providing routine and structure, especially when the kids are young.  Get into the habit of doing the same thing routinely, because there is great security in this for your children.  Being chaotic in your household will see you struggle, so remember that one of the great premises of parenting for dummies is that routine and structure are your friend, not your enemy!

5. Teach Them Respect

Respect is important.  Your children need to respect you and your authority as a parent, other adults especially those closest to them, and social authorities like teachers, pastors, the Police and Armed Forces.  They must also be taught to respect those with disabilities, and to always be kind and honorable towards them.

6. Teach Them Self-Discipline

As they grow, children need to take responsibility for their actions, as do the parents.  You should not be b laming others all the time for your misfortune, because this teaches the same to your kids.  If you mess up, take responsibility, say you are sorry and move on.  Also, teach your children that there are no valid excuses to not doing certain things like homework and the dishes, there are only certain consequences, most of which are unpleasant!

7. Always Speak Positive Words

Always say positive things to your child, no matter how frustrating they get.  Never speak in anger and never lose your temper.  If you are getting close, walk away and calm down before you talk to them.  Make sure you never label them with their action, so your son would not be a naughty boy but a good boy who did something naughty.

8. Invest Time

Nothing says “I love you” more to your children than spending time with them.  Play games, take them out somewhere they like, sit and read with them, and I would also advise that during dinner the TV is turned off and conversation replaces it!

9. Keep the Dreams Alive

Every child has dreams, and your job as a parent is to encourage and promote those dreams.  However, make the child choose one or at most two dreams to pursue, because each one requires an investment in time and also money.  So, they might want to play football, or surf, or dance, or do karate, or design computer games, but they cannot do all of them at once.  Let them choose, then let them pursue their dreams.

10. Love Unconditionally

Kids need to know that they are loved, no matter what they might do.  Unconditional love does not depend on your mood, or on how tired you are, or on what their actions have been.  Tell them you love them whether they get an A or a F in Maths, and whether you have had a tough day or a great day.

Apply these Top Ten Tips and watch your family dynamic change and improve.  If you have this list and do what it says, you won’t need to think about parenting for dummies, you’ll be teaching others the secret to your family success!

Top Ten Parenting Solutions for Working Moms and Dads

parenting solutionsIf you are single and working, you need to think about parenting solutions, especially if you are a full time worker.  Modern society can be very insular, but what is still true in the 21st Century is that a child is raised by a village, not an individual, and this is especially true for the single mom or dad who is working.

 

Our Top Ten Parenting Solutions can give you Insight and Ideas!

 

Here is our Top Ten of Parenting Solutions for working moms and dads, and hopefully this will help you to take control of the parenting situation.  This also colors how you see your work environment, and while all of these are not applicable to all workplaces, you may have to change your job situation for the benefit of your family.

 

1. Seek Help from Your Family or Friends

A single parent must not be an island, so look at your immediate family and friends and see if there is anyone you can trust who can share the load of caring for the children. Can you coordinate times with your mom, or with a close friend who knows and loves your children?

2. Share the Load

Pooling resources is a common and one of the most very effective parenting solutions.  If you know other single parents who are working, then you can pool your resources and coordinate times and jobs so that sometimes you mind their kids, and other times they mind yours.  It is a mutual exchange of child minding services, but again you need to be able to trust them.

3. Try to Obtain Flexible Hours at Work

Many jobs can be made flexible, and if you are a good worker your employers will be inclined to do all they can to help you, rather than lose your services.  Talk to them and see if you can coordinate around school, preschool or other time constraints.

4. Can You Work from Home?

Many jobs can be worked from home, especially in IT.  Perhaps you can make a job for yourself, but be wary of some of the “stay at home and get rich quick” internet schemes.  If you are to work from home, you need to make sure you have an area away from the kids so you can do a proper job, but as long as you have activities for the children, this can work really well.

5. Get Organized

If you are to continue to work as a single parent, you definitely need to get organized!  You do not want to work all day, only to come home to a messy house and out of control kids, do you?  So, get organized and if the children are old enough, give them chores you expect done by the time you return.  Make sure that your time at home is not all about washing and housework, but try to make time to invest in your kids.

6. Talk to your Kids

That’s right, talk to your kids!  Explain the difficulties and how you need to keep on working, and ask them for their help and support as you do it.  Even young children want to help mom or dad in their hour of need.  As you gradually give more responsibility, they will rise to the tasks knowing they are doing their bit for the family.

7. Pay for Help you Need

Child care or after school care may require payment, but it is worth it to know that your children are safe and being stimulated, not sitting like logs in front of the TV!  If you have to pay, factor the cost of this into your wages, because expensive child care might negate your work all together.

8. Make the Time Up

When you work it is time you are not spending with your children, so make the time up to them.  Nothing says you love them more than spending time with them.  You might take them out for an ice-cream, make a cake with them or even play a computer game.  Anything is OK, as long as you are spending time and interacting with your child (not just watching TV).

9. Find Time for Each Child

If you have several children, you need to spend time with them collectively and especially alone.  You might read to them in bed, or drop one to soccer while you take the other to have a treat somewhere.  Kids need time, and time you invest into their lives individually speaks volumes to them of your love for them.

10. Be Careful of the Lock Key Teenagers

Teenagers can be self-sustaining, meaning they don’t need after school care, but it comes at a price.  Be careful of the time between the end of school and when you arrive home.  What are they doing then?  Who are they with? Ask questions and make sure they are not doing things you don’t want them to do.  A recent study showed most teenager’s first sexual experience did not happen late at night, but after school, before mom or dad got home!

 

So if you are a single parent who works either part time or full-time, have a look at our Top Ten and see if you can apply these principles.  In your situation, with your family and your job, there will be parenting solutions that work!

Top Ten Positive Parenting Skills for the Single Parent

positive parenting skillsThe power of positive parenting skills is the power of being able to influence the life of your child for good, and for ever.  It believes that, despite the challenges of parenting, the journey can be fun and fulfilling, and that you can discipline your children in loving and positive ways. It is the ability as a single parent to fulfill both mom and dad roles, and to influence your children to help them become successful, happy and well-adjusted adults one day.

 

The Difficulty of Positive Parenting Skills for the Single Parent

 

As a single parent, one of the great difficulties you face in applying positive parenting skills is the lack of consistency, especially if the children visit with your ex.  You have little control over what they teach, how they teach them or the standards they apply to them.

 

You also have little or no control over the way they speak to the children.  If your ex is miserable or depressed, they may be tearing the kids down every other weekend, while you are madly trying to be positive and speak uplifting words to them.

 

This makes the task of parenting more difficult but not impossible.  But if this is the case with your ex-partner, you must remain positive and loving for your children as they grow and develop.  Here are some suggestions on how you can develop your own positive parenting skills to harness the power for your single parent family.

 1. Get Support

Don’t try to do everything on your own!  Gather close family or friends, or reach out to a support group.  If you cannot find these, pay for childcare or after school care, but get some sort of support to help share the time demands and emotional load.

1. Talk to your Ex

If you can share your desire for positive parenting with the ex, and if you can continue to communicate civilly with them, it is better for the children.  I know it might be awkward, but put the kids first and try and coordinate discipline and care, presenting as united a front as you can for your children and being consistent regardless of whose home they are in.

2. Defuse the Damage your Ex Creates

Sometimes your ex will want to use the children to attack you.  Sometimes they will keep speaking negatively to the kids.  You need to first understand what has been said, then defuse it as lovingly as possible.

3. Don’t Overly Criticize your Ex

It’s tempting I know, but try to always speak kindly and positively about your ex-partner, even if they speak badly of you.  As kids grow they will see who the positive one is and gravitate where they are loved demonstratively.

4. Provide a Substitute Role Model

If the ex is being difficult, try to find an alternative role model for the kids.  Grandparents work really well for this, as can close friends, but I would caution trying to make a new boyfriend or girlfriend fill this role.  The emotional attachments, and the threat they pose to your ex-partner, can definitely be counterproductive!

5. Act, Don’t React

When you discipline your children, clearly set out a limit and the consequences and follow through with them, every time.  Make it a definite action, and take all the emotion out of it.  Try not to be reactive, because when you react to what they have done it is very emotional, often negative and frequently damaging.  Take the emotion out and act definitively.

6. Lose Your Temper and You Lose

Losing your temper is not positive parenting.  When you lose your temper you lose the game, so don’t let the kids drive you to doing it!  Step back, take a break, walk away, then deliver the consequences without the emotion.

7. Invest Time into your Children

Nothing says I love you like giving your children your valuable time.  Sit with them, take them out for breakfast, play games with them, cry with them.  They need your undivided attention more than they need a new Ipod or computer game.

8. Always Speak Positive Words

You control what you say and how you say it.  Love them with your speech, encourage them and always be positive, even when bad things happen to you.  Remember, they are watching you and will learn from you and even mimic how you react, so stay positive!

9. Be There For Them

There is unbelievable comfort for them know that, whatever they have done, however stupid, you are always there for them.  Even if it means hardship or loss for you, your family is worth it, so encourage them and stand with them whatever comes their way.

10. Be Open about the Situation

Your children want to know what is happening in your relationship with your ex-partner.  Keep them informed, although not of the negatives or the gritty detail, but make them feel part of what is happening.  Make it clear that they were not the cause of the separation, and that they cannot change your mind and heal the relationship.  Love them, talk to them but don’t give them hope of restoration that isn’t there!

 

As a single parent, if you apply the above principles, you can learn positive parenting skills and transform your children’s lives as they grow and develop.

Teenage Mothers Help Restore Faith in Teenagers

teenage mothers helpMost people think that most often teenage mothers help establish the idea that all teenagers are self centered, lazy and useless, but this could not be further from the truth!  Sure, there may be some who fit the image of laziness and selfishness, but there are also those who provide a very positive image, if you have eyes to see it!

Which Teenage Mothers Help Restore the Teenage Image?

Young mothers are most often single.  They have most often experimented with sex as a teenager, as many teenagers do, and they have fallen pregnant.  They may have been young when they fell pregnant, but they made a decision to have a child and bring up a child and most often they do this recognizing that they will have to commit 20 years of their life to the task.  They also know that there is little in the way of teenage mothers help, so they are taking on a big task

These teenage mothers help destroy the stereotype of selfishness and laziness.  While their friends are out there partying, many of these girls forego this and make a commitment to put their child first.

On occasions they may get their mom to mind the child and they can still go out, but often they ignore the peer pressure and put their child first.  For a young mother this is hard, and when they decide to commit to their child, they are required to grow up awfully fast.

Our image of teenagers varies according to the teens we know.  Your view of teenagers in general will be different if you are an avid churchgoer, verse if you live in a ghetto.  However, seeing teenage mothers as selfish, promiscuous, immature burdens to society is grossly unfair to the girls who are determined to make a go of it and become successful moms.

Although there are some government teenage mothers help packages, if you have ever raised a child you will know that the money from governments will never cover the cost of bringing up a child.  Thinking that teenage moms are doing it for the money is not really sound.

You need to remember that becoming a great mom takes commitment, and none of these teenage moms set out to become bad mothers!

The point is that very often you will see what you want to see.  It is easy to be critical of young moms, and they don’t need you condemnation, they need your support, and they need your affirmation. Say something positive, do something nice for them.

If you have eyes to see it, teenage mothers help confirm the best things in humanity, not the worst!