Archives For Modern Families

imageOne spring day I was walking in my neighborhood. As I rounded the curve I noticed a little girl that looked to be about 5 years of age, playing outside while her mom was working in the yard. When I came back around the next time the little girl was dragging out a large tub. As I passed by her house she began to pull out the garden hose.

The third time around the block, the hose was in the bucket, water was spilling out over the sides and the little girl was nowhere to be seen. In just a moment she came running out of the house and had on what appeared to be last year’s swimsuit. Evidently she had grown quite a lot over the winter.

pdf to share rightShe gleefully jumped in the tub of water. She tried to sit down in the tub. She stood, got out of the tub and walked around looking at it. With a look of determination she took a running jump and headed for the water again. No matter how hard she tried, she no longer fit in that small tub.

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imageWe’ve often discussed how stressful it is being a single parent. A lot of ideas have been given about how to minister to single parents and their children. One subject that hasn’t come up is the issue of the possibility of a single parent with a terminal illness or a disability. How can you help a single parent in one of these situations?

Most single parents don’t plan ahead for such a situation. Most of the time they are barely surviving and yet the necessity of them having to face their fear of death or a disability might become a real concern. I know when I was a single parent the possibility was always in the back of my mind,

“What will happen to my kids if something happens to me?”

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imageSingle parents are hard working people. Basically they are doing the job of two people. This is especially true if there has been a death in the family or if there is no other parent on the scene. They could be parenting alone due to death, desertion or a never married situation.

Sometimes the other parent will live in another part of the country or they have no interest in staying connected to their child. Other single parents who are divorced share custody with the other parent. Even though they share custody, having the sole responsibility in your own home is still difficult.

Single Parent Day is March 21st. This day doesn’t get as much attention as the regular Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and yet it is a very important day for many single parents.

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They are amazing people too.

  • nativityThey have multi tasked since before it was popular. You know – laundry, help with homework and paying bills all at once while cooking dinner.
  • They texted before texting was even invented; only their texting was notes on the fridge everyday and sometimes two and three times a day.
  • They “outsourced” before large corporations knew anything about outsourcing by bringing in people to help them in emergency situations.
  • They have invested in “bonds” that have lifetime value. You know the bonding between a parent and child.
  • They face insurmountable odds and yet they keep right on keeping on.

Because of all of the above and more, the downloadable “Christmas Helps for Single Parents” booklet is dedicated to all of our single parent families and their friends.

I pray you find comfort and joy in reading through the devotions and articles.

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imageA few weeks ago I had three single moms in one of my single parent groups weeping. Why were they weeping? Because it was in the heat of the government shut down, and they were worried about how they were going to feed their children.

Our church has a food pantry and I could make sure their children didn’t go hungry but really the issue of feeding their children wasn’t the main problem. The main problem was their perception about the situation.

Perception is a funny thing sometimes, especially when you are
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imageMany divorcing single parents seem to get stuck in dealing with finances, in relationships, in the past, in helping their children and in many other ways.

Have you ever thought about how to get those single parents unstuck? I just had a long conversation with a single mom who feels like she is stuck and can’t get unstuck. She has reached out to her church where she is a member. She has reached out to the church where she attended DivorceCare.

One of the Christian women said to her recently, Continue Reading…

imageSingle parents come to me all the time asking for help in disciplining their children. Remember they are parenting alone and there is no one in the house with them late at night or on a day-to-day basis to help them parent their children. It can get overwhelming to say the least.

Here are ten examples of some of the kinds of questions I get about parenting alone. Sometimes single parents need a more in-depth answer depending on variations such as age, developmental abilities or other situations. For our purposes here these answers are short and to the point.

Please feel free to share with the single parents in your church.

1. What do I do when my toddler screams at me and I can’t get him to pick up his toys?

Toddlers respond to singing and playing through a situation. Mad faces and loud voices scare toddlers. He may be reacting to your tone of voice or look on your face. Calm down and sing. Make up your words and use a familiar tune like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

pdf to share rightBrain research shows that when toddlers and young preschoolers get scared a lot of time they turn their fear into something funny. That’s why the more upset a parent becomes the more a toddler runs away laughing and giggling. That tends to upset the parent more and then the toddler laughs more. It becomes a vicious circle. Parents stop take a deep breath, calm down and start over whether it is trying to get a little head into a shirt or the child into bed. Play the toddler through the situation

2. How do I handle it when my son’s 3rd grade teacher calls me to tell me he hasn’t turned in his homework for a week? And it was the week he was at his dads.

Listen to the teacher. Calm down your fears and worries. Approach your son and ask him what he thinks he can do to get his homework in on time – even when he is at dads. I would not confront dad mainly because a 3rd grader needs to take responsibility for his actions. Give your son some choices on what he thinks the consequence should be next time. Decide on your consequences and then follow through at your home.

3. My 14 year-old girl wants to date and I say no, not until your 16 but her dad said, “Sure, you can date when you’re at my house.” How do I handle that?

You can’t control what goes on at the other home. You can set your boundaries for your home. Tell your daughter you trust her to make wise decisions but in your home there will be no dating until she is 16.

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