Tag Archives: unconditional love

Top Ten Ways of Facing Parenting Issues with Children

parenting issues with childrenIf you are facing parenting issues with children you probably need to stop, take a good look at yourself and how you manage the children, and see if you are making wise decisions.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20 vision and this is especially true for parenting issues with children.  It is easier to look back on a situation with your kids and know exactly what you should have said and should not have said, but in the heat of the moment parenting becomes a much more difficult issue!

 

If you are facing parenting issues with your children, think about these ideas…

 

1. Talk to Them

Make sure you keep lines of communication open.  Talking to your kids can make all the difference, especially when explaining the reasons for disciplining them.

 

2. Be Strong

When you make a parenting decision, don’t be easily swayed by complaints from your child.  If you make a decision, consult them but in the long run your decision should stand.

 

3. Big Them Up

Make sure you speak positive words to your children, especially in front of others.  Never complain about them to others in their presence because it is embarrassing and will build resentment to your parenting.

 

4. Be Fair

In all parenting issues with children you need to be perceived as fair, not unreasonable or petty.

 

5. Make Consequences Just

Make sure that the consequences for disobedience are just and in proportion to the offence.  Consequences should also alight with the offence, so staying out after curfew for example is best deal with by grounding for a week rather than the removal of another privilege.

 

6. Be Consistent

The biggest issue parenting children is in the area of consistency.  You need to follow through every single time, even if applying the consequences is inconvenient or upsetting to you.  Your consequences must not be dependent on your moods or other factors.

 

7. Never Play Favorites

Favoring one child above another splits families and one of the parenting issues with children that can cause damage for the whole of a child’s life.  Treat all of your children the same and do not play favourites, even though you may find one child a lot easier to handle than the other.

 

8. Let Unimportant Things Slide

I strongly suggest that you let some small things go unpunished rather than reinforce the view that you are a petty parent.  Failing to rinse a plate should not be made a huge issue, but staying out late or lying should be deal with.

 

9. Be Unemotional

A huge parenting key is to take emotion right out of your parenting.  You should never scream, yell or lose your temper.  If an issue has been raised, deal with it without emotion or visible anger.  You did it, this is the consequence, that’s the end of it.

 

10. Show Unconditional Love

Whatever your child does, good or bad, they need to know that your love for them is independent of what they do or say.  Your love must be unconditional and absolute, and nothing they do will make your love decrease!

 

If you apply the principles discussed in this Top Ten you will be well on your way to becoming an awesome parent for your children.  If you slowly grow in knowledge and wisdom you can face parenting issues with children with courage and confidence.

Top Ten Bad Parenting Habits to Avoid (Part 3)

Bad ParentingHere is the conclusion of your series on Bad Parenting

It has been a fun, tongue in cheek look at bad parenting, but you can learn a lot from looking at how NOT to parent your child.  If you missed the previous installments, click here to Start at the first article.

8. The Screaming Match

Bad parenting most often results in a screaming match. For both parent and child, frustration and stress on the relationship are often expressed by emotions, and the most common emotion is yelling.

Screaming at your child, standing over them or poking your finger at them is rude, demeaning and closes communication with them. It lowers their respect for you and even if you scream but they fall silent, damage is being done which can last a lifetime.

Emotions are part of living in a family, and if you’ve had a particularly stressful day it’s not uncommon to feel like you want to scream. However, if you lose your temper you lose the plot, so take a breath, count to 10 and walk away until you are in control of your emotions.

Once you are calm enough, sit with your child and discuss the issue, focusing on them not on the problem. Allow them to express their emotions, but take a break if they are getting worked up. If you can calmly express the reasons for your decision without it becoming a screaming match then you have achieved a major victory.

Remember, the words you say cannot be retrieved, so take time aside to think and speak rationally and carefully to your child.

9. Criticizing Your Child

Experts tell us that criticism and verbal abuse can, like physical abuse, have a slow and negative affect on the development of children. In older kids it can cause low self-esteem and depression, and leave your kids feeling humiliated and betrayed as they grow up, oftentimes unable to maintain healthy relationships in later life.

Comparisons between siblings are some of the most damaging forms of criticism for developing children. It causes resentment between the kids and a feeling of favouritism which can negatively affect both children.

Public putdowns and shaming them in front of others can be equally as damaging. No one likes to be made to feel like a failure, so emphasizing that failure never causes good and always hurts a child.

Kids fail just like we all do at times. Instead of making negative comments in front of friends, and instead of comparing your children’s strengths and weaknesses, concentrate on building your child up, both publicly and privately.

Try to identify your child’s strengths and qualities that make sure that they feel great about these strengths. If you need to blow off steam about your child’s failings, do it alone to a trusted friend and make sure that they cannot hear you!

10. Too Much of a Good Thing

Most parents want to bless their children, but some feel that giving them everything they want is quite often not a good idea at all.

In our modern world there is a constant flow of new gadgets and fashions that every kid wants, especially as they hit the teenage years. Many parents give their children everything they ask for, and rather than their respect and love they receive venomous anger if they refuse to buy an expensive or inappropriate gadget.

Also, there is a constant stream of activities that your child can be involved in, and if you are not careful every afternoon and evening could be filled with things that your child wants to do, from tennis lessons to Karate, from guitar lessons to dance classes. Over-scheduling is a clear and present danger for the modern parent, and while the child might enjoy these activities, eventually they can give rise to tiredness, depression, headaches and declining grades.

Bad parenting gives children everything they want and finishes with miserable kids, but good parenting will choose selected activities and fashions and grant only these requests. Once again, parenting in the right way is a balancing act and wisdom and experience are your our allies.

As long as mankind has existed bad parenting has also existed. It is not an easy business trying to raise children and help them develop into successful adults, but it is among the most satisfying things you will ever do in life.

If you apply these principles and avoid these bad parenting habits, you can not only see your children mature as wonderful as successful adults, but you can also enjoy the journey with them year by year.

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!

Parenting for Teenagers in the 21st Century: Top Ten Tips

parenting for teenagersWhen thinking about parenting for teenagers the thoughts can become terrifying.  Teenagers often seem so difficult to parent, and many of the things you might have learned with younger kids seem to lose their power when it comes to parenting for teenagers.

 

So for all you worried moms and dads, here’s our Top Ten Tips about Parenting for Teenagers in the 21st Century.

 

1. Develop Trust both Ways

Trust is a 2 way street, and if you expect your teen to be true to your trust, you need to make sure you are trustworthy also.   Don’t promise them things you do not deliver, like a weekend away or a new game.

2. Teach them about Money

Managing money is something teenagers need to learn (as do we all!). Teach them early about the value of money, and delayed gratification, and teach them to save.  Also, teach them to budget, even on a small allowance.  These principles will never leave them if you do it correctly.  As well, let them experience the cost of the latest fashions and technologies, don’t just buy things for them.  They will soon learn that chasing fashion is expensive!

3. Accept that Communication is Technology

Parenting for teenagers involves coming to grips with the way they communicate, and these days this means learning some technology.  Many teens won’t talk to you directly, or will do so very reluctantly, but what they will do is text or Facebook, so start texting them to have them share openly with you.

4. Monitor Technology

Kids love technology, and hand held devices are so common now, as is social media.  However, you need to make sure that you keep an eye on their social media involvement.  Who are they meeting online, and for what purpose?  Might take a little snooping, but often teenagers are unaware of the dangers that lurk in cyberspace, so monitor it and encourage them to be open about it with you.

5. Let them follow their Interests

Teenagers have interests, and while you cannot let these overtake learning for example, encourage them to explore what interests them and to express it.  Many will choose things like dancing, music, art or computer games, and set strict limits as to the time they can do things, but encourage them in it.

6. Fashion Speaks

Teenagers speak via fashion, so while you don’t want to be the fashion police, you still need to take control in this area.  For teenagers, fashion is a way to express the group they belong to, so while you want them to belong to a group that accepts them, you don’t want them in the wrong group (like Goths or death metal)!  So, if you can, exert some control especially when they are younger over what they wear.

7. The Dating Game

Sex and dating are part of growing up, and your view on the subject is likely to be reflected in your teen.  It is not enough to say, “Don’t do what I do,” you need to model the right behavior in dating. Be very careful of times they spend alone with their peers and while you might encourage dating, don’t place temptation in front of them too often.  Talk openly about sex, and especially about honoring members of the opposite sex.  Tell them you love them regardless of any stupid decisions they might make.

8. Set Limits and Grow Confidence

Setting limits is responsible parenting for teenagers. Curfews are an important part of parenting them, and believe it or not they actually breed confidence and contentment.  Within the boundaries you set the teen can have complete confidence and freedom, so set boundaries and set consequences before they are crossed.

9. Driving you Mad!

Teenagers gaining a license and starting to drive is a scary time for most parents.  It takes a degree of trust to throw them the keys, but make sure that they also are driving responsibly especially the boys.  You could attach a GPS to their car, or perhaps get them to call in to you at scheduled times.  They need to take responsibility for their actions and any damage done, so help them to accept all sides of driving, the joy and the responsibility,

10. Take the Emotion out of Conflict

Your teen is going to let you down at some point.  Be ready for it.  Most importantly, take the emotion out of the situation and show them unconditional love, and you can save the lecture.  Giving them the big lecture achieves exactly zero with most teens, other than the rolling of eyes, so when you dish out the consequences for their actions, do so without emotion.  Avoid the screaming match at all times, because when you scream at each other, you lose.

 

So it is possible to bring your teenagers up with values and respect in the 21st century.  Apply this Top Ten and improve your parenting for teenagers today.

Parenting Teenagers for Positive Results as a Single Parent

Get posiive results when you Parent teenagers Parenting teenagers for positive results is not as difficult as it sounds.  Staying positive when talking to or even disciplining your teenager can maintain an atmosphere of positiveness in the relationship, and this is a sense the child will take with them as they grow and develop.

 

As a single parent, your job will probably be more difficult, especially if you are experiencing problems from your ex-partner.  If they set out to undermine your authority with your teen at every opportunity, then you have a far more difficult situation, but still not an impossible one.

 

Parenting Teenagers Takes Real Commitment

 

If you are parenting your teen, it is going to take some real commitment on your part.  It is not enough to start setting boundaries and consequences for breaking them, only to give up and quit after a few weeks, or days.  You need to set fair and sensible boundaries, and lay out the consequences of disobedience, making sure that your teenager understands the reasoning behind them.

 

Then you have to stick to them like glue!

 

This once again is hard if they visit the ex and have no boundaries in place.  You get to feel that you are the bad cop, and they are the good one.  That you get all the tantrums and anger, but the ex gets to have all the fun.  So how can you overcome this situation and still stay sane and maintain your integrity?

 

The answer is to stay positive, even when you are disciplining your teen.  The easiest way to do this is to sit down with the child and lay out what the boundaries are, what the consequences they will experience if they transgress.  Do it in consultation with them, so that they know your reasoning and why you have set these limits.

 

Then when the sharp end of discipline comes along, you can step back and take all the emotion out of it.  You can tell them you love them, and want the nest for them, but you have agreed on the rules and the penalties, so they have to face up to the consequences.

 

This keeps the atmosphere very positive, and takes all the emotion and heat out of disciplining your teen.  The results will be positive.

 

And if at the time they begin to argue and fight, don’t enter into it at all.  Again, the emotions are cast aside, and the consequences have previously been agreed upon and understood.  If they argue that your ex lets them do it, again there is no argument at all.  Whatever your ex does, it was agreed upon, it was understood, the consequences stand.

 

In this way, even as a single, you can  parent your teenagers, even if they are rebelling, and get a positive result.  It is a real possibility and something you should aim for!

Funny Parenting Advice- The Top Ten Laws of Parenting

funny parenting adviceI have lots of funny parenting advice, mainly because I am a funny parent!  I mean, life is funny, and parenting, for all its difficulties, stresses and dramas, is also funny, especially if you step back and have a good hard look at it.

So that has given rise to the Top Ten Laws of Funny Parenting Advice!

They might be funny, but you will also find that they are true for most families!

If you are a stressed out single parent, or overworked working mom, grab a cup of coffee, grab a few minutes alone and enjoy some sensible yet funny parenting advice.  Quick, while you can before the kids wake up!

  1. In any group of children, if one child is going to behave badly, it will always be yours.  If several are going to act out, yours will always be among them.
  2. If there is a choice between a cheap item and an expensive one, your kid will always want the more expensive one.  In fact, they will often want two of them.
  3. The longer you spend cooking for your child, the less they will like the result.  This is a scientific fact, and ranges from hours spent preparing healthy food (which they hate) to party pies, which are ready in minutes (which they love).  The ultimate expression of this is fast food, and we all know how much kids love that!
  4. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will get up the next morning.  This especially applies to single parents who have been out on a date the night before.
  5. The messier the food, the greater then chance it will finish up on the carpet.  Similarly, the more expensive the carpet, the greater then chance it will finish there, and the less likely you will be to remove it with Carpet Cleaner.
  6. Backing out of the driveway immediately causes one of your children to need to go to the bathroom.
  7. Toys multiply to fill the entire floor area of any room or cupboard. Strangely a child can decrease this if they need to clean their room and they are trying to fit the toys under their bed.
  8. Children cry and throw tantrums louder in areas designated by society as quiet, such as a library or doctor’s office. Conversely, they never cry when there is lots of noise around, like a football match or McDonald’s.
  9. The best and most guaranteed way to make a child do something is to forbid them to do it.  They just can’t help themselves, can they?
  10. The more stubborn, selfish and difficult a child is to raise, the greater the satisfaction… well, you keep telling yourself this!

So there is out Top Ten Laws of Parenting.  Don’t worry, we also have sensible lists all over this site, but we know sometimes you just need a laugh or two.  So for sensible advice as opposed to funny parenting advice, check around the rest of our website.

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.

Disciplining Teenagers as a Single without Driving Them Away: Top Ten!

Disciplining teenagersDisciplining teenagers can be a nightmare, and can drive a huge wedge between the parents and kids. This is especially true for single parents, who often find themselves in a bidding war with their ex, each side spending more and disciplining less in an attempt to win the teenager’s affections.

Why Disciplining Teenagers is Important

Some people will tell you that once your child hits their teens you have really lost the opportunity to effectively discipline them.  This is simply not true, but you do have to modify the way in which you set about disciplining them.  The methods that work for a 5 year old or even a 10 year old tend not to work as well once your child hits their teens!

So here’s our Top Ten Tips on how you can discipline teenagers effectively…

1. Make Your Rules Simple

Disciplining teenagers needs to be kept simple, and your rules must make sense to them.  Choose important rules and learn to let some of the little things slide by without comment from you.

2. Make your Rules Clear

Teens tend to have an overdeveloped sense of what is fair, and what is not.  If you keep your rules clear, and tell them before they transgress, then it will be a lot smoother sailing. If your ex constantly undermines them at their house, make sure they teen understands that your home is different.

3. Make the Consequences Proportional

Teens need to feel that the consequences are not only fair, but also are in proportion to the disobedience.  I tend to be harder on defiance and rebellion than if they forget and stay out too late, or leave their room untidy.  Sometimes even a troublesome ex can understand and start to apply sensible, proportional rules, and then you have a united front for disciplining teenagers!

4. Make the Rules and Consequences Consistent

In disciplining teenagers as in any age, consistency is the key.  You cannot overlook a rule one day and expect to enforce it the next, so make rules, make them clear and stick to the consequences, even if enforcing them is awkward for you.

5. Set Times and Consequences

Parenting teens requires you to set times for them, and make then stick to them.  If you want them in bed a certain time, or want them home, set a consequence and stick to it.  If you give them 2 hours on the computer, warn them as the end approaches, then switch it off at the time.  As long as you warn them, they know it is coming and it’s fair.  Don’t let them con you into another 10 minutes (“Oh come on, dad lets me do it!”).

6. Take the Emotion out of Disciplining

The teenage years are often highly emotional, with teens trying to deal with the hormones running rampant through their bodies.  If you then get emotional, a screaming match will often result.  Take the emotion out of it, step back and tell them what they have done and the consequences of their actions.  Don’t argue, just tell them without emotion and follow through. You do not want a major confrontation.

7. Communicate in Their Language

Teenagers basically speak text and Facebook these days.  If you want to communicate, speak the same language.  New rules and consequences: try texting them and then you know they have got it.

8. Stand By Them

At some point they will want you to stand by them, no matter what they may have done, and no matter whether you agree with them or not.  If they turn to you in trouble, let them know you are with them and willing to help, and realize that this is not the time to apply heavy discipline.  Many times they will sort things out themselves, but they just want to know you have their back when they need you.

9. Always Encourage Them

When disciplining teenagers you need to encourage them somehow too.  You might be furious, but always have some word of encouragement, afterwards or before. For example, “ I appreciate that you came home, but you were 2 hours late and never called, so you know what that means… grounding!”  Watch what you say carefully because many frustrated moms and dads have deeply hurt their teens with words.

10. Love Them No Matter What!

Always tell them you love them, in fact, do it every day.  They may roll their eyes, they may shrug it off, but say it enough and they will cherish it.  Beyond this, always act in love towards them, and tell them your love is unconditional.

It is never a fun time being the ‘bad cop’, especially if the ex is always having fun with the kids.  However, if you apply these 10 tips, disciplining teenagers can and will be profitable for both you as a parent and your teenager as well.

Single Moms: Top Ten Keys to Success in the 21st Century

Single momsSingle moms can make it as parents and they can produce healthy, happy, successful children.  It is not easy being both parents for your kids, but it is possible especially when you apply these 10 Keys to success for single moms in the 21st Century.

 

1. Seek Support
Most single moms find that they have to seek support, and there is no shame in doing this.  It might be close family, it might be close friends, or it might be a church group or single moms support group.  Whatever it takes, find and use some form of support.
2. Seek Help
It is not enough to seek support, or a shoulder to cry on when things get tough, you need to also seek help.  Someone to mind the kids so you can have a break, or someone to drive them to football practice.  Don’t try and do everything by yourself.

3. Love your Kids
I know you feel that you love them, but true love is not just a feeling it is a life-long commitment.  Tell them you love them, and also show them you love them by putting their needs before yours, and giving up what you want to serve them.  Yes, this includes dating and your choice of partner.  Let your kids be the hub of your existence, especially when they are young. Love is not just a feeling, it is what you say and how you treat them, so give your children unconditional love!

4. Avoid the Separation Tug-of-War
Divorce is horrible, even if it is amicable.  Your children will feel that somehow they caused this.  There is an inevitable tug-of-war between the estranged couples, and only you can change this.  Don’t try and out buy your ex-partner’s attempts to win their love.  Believe me, the kids are more than happy to play mom off against dad to get what they want!  Don’t try and outbid the other party, just love them unconditionally.

5. Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Ex!
I know, this one’s hard, but criticizing your ex to your kids will only show how insecure you really are.  Make it a habit to always look on what the ex does or says in the best light, at least around the children, because they are feeling torn already!

6. Set Firm Limits
Kids need boundaries, and they have to understand where these boundaries are.  limits.  They also need to comprehend what happens if they step out of line, so make sure they understand the consequences of their actions before they do anything.

7. Be Consistent
A classic single mom problem is giving in to the kids, especially in public, to avoid a tantrum.  It is tempting, and works in the short term, but in the long run your child will learn to turn it on to get what they want, so you make a rod for your own back!
 8. Listen to Your Kids
Take time out of your day to sit alone with each child and listen to them.  Your ex probably doesn’t do this, so it will mean a lot to your child.  I like to take each child to a local McDonalds and have an ice-cream and half an hours chat.  They love it!
9. Learn to Communicate in the 21st Century
This is the modern world, and while you might want to sit and talk to your teen or preteen, the fact is that is not the main way they communicate these days.  Believe it or not, texting or Facebook is the new way to speak words of encouragement into your child’s life so that they hear you!  So make sure every text is a winner, and is encouraging, and never rebuke them in text, because they reread it later and read things into it you didn’t mean.
10. Don’t Give Up!
Whatever you do, however you feel, one of the best parenting techniques is to not give up!  Keep going, even if things are hard, and even if your children say cruel things to you.  Keep loving them, keep disciplining them, keep being strong for them and most importantly, keep learning and consistently applying new parenting techniques.

OK, you’re single now, but if you apply these ideas you can become one of the great single moms who can and will make it for their kids!

Top Ten Techniques for Parenting Difficult Teenagers

How to parent teenagers, even if they are being difficult!Parenting difficult teenagers is always a challenge.  Part of the challenge is that you are starting late in the piece, and it can be a bit like trying to score a winning touchdown or goal in the last 30 seconds of a game!

 

Although parenting any teenager will try your patience and sometimes break your heart, the rewards are worth it.  The joy of watching a child grow out of the teenage years into a successful and much loved adult is worth any price, so here are some tips for how you can parent your teenagers, even if they are being difficult!

 1. Give them Clear Rules

Paradoxically rules allow us freedom.  As a general rule, teens with no boundaries set will be more destructive and actually more miserable!  Set fair and reasonable rules, and make sure the teen knows the consequences of breaking those rules before they do anything.  You cannot come in after the fact and inflict a punishment, because teens have a strong sense of what’s fair and that simple isn’t!

 2. Make Sensible Rules

When parenting any teenager, you need to pick your battles, so make sure your rules are sensible and fair.  Don’t make a Federal case over whether they eat their sprouts!  Choose more important things like when they get home and how they speak to people.

3. Set Reasonable Consequences

For teenagers you need to match the consequences with the action, and deprivation of things they want is better than corporal punishment.  You can’t ground them for coming home after midnight and for not making their bed one day.  Save the big penalties for the big disobedience, and I would always recommend punishing open defiance and rebellion more than forgetfulness or miscalculation.

4. Be Consistent

In any type of discipline, consistency is the key.  You cannot overlook a rule one day and expect to enforce it the next, so make rules, make them clear and stick to the consequences.

5. Set Communication Rules

Parenting teens is about communication, so set rules with them.  Communicate what you expect, why you expect it, and what the consequences will be if they disobey.  Text it to them if necessary, but make sure they understand.  I would also encourage you to set time aside for communication with them.  Take them out for a milkshake and let them know their life interests you.

6. Control the Big Things, Not Everything

Teenagers need to feel they are in control to a degree, so set the big parameters and let them control things within them.  In other words, don’t micromanage their lives. For example, you may allow them 2 hours of media time, and they can divide it between the TV, the computer and the Ipad. If they chose to take longer on an Ipad game, that’s leaves less time for TV, but they still were able to make a choice, and that’s important for their development.

7. Set a Curfew

Parenting difficult teenagers means taking control of the big things, and time is one of those.  Losing sleep might be fine while you are doing it, but you pay for it the next day, so set times for bed, times for computer games and times when they can go out with their friends.  Also set consequences and make sure they know them beforehand.

8. Be Available

Troubled teens will experience extreme highs and lows, especially in the area of relationships.  One of the best parts of being a parent to them is being available when the inevitable crashes come.  Be ready, any time they need you and your stocks will rise if you listen and care for them in their hour of need.

9. Speak words of Praise

So many teens are haunted by the way they have failed, and believe it or not, especially how they have failed you!  You need to talk up the successes, and once the failures have been worked through, not keep bringing them up.  Speaking positive words to your teenager will have a huge effect on them for years to come, as will negative words, so be careful how you speak.

10. Tell Them they are Loved No Matter What they Do!

Your teenager needs and craves your love and approval, and they need to know that this love is unconditional.  When my teenage girl made a decision I strongly disagreed with, I told her so, then told her my love was unconditional, and unaffected by her decision and how she disappoints me.  Turns out she long for my approval, but I wanted her to know that my love was without compromise.  This keeps the door open, even if they completely rebel, and gives them incredible confidence.

 

So love them, stand by them but be strong. No matter how tough they might appear to be, you can be tougher and you can parent difficult teenagers through to successful adulthood.