Single 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.
Brain 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.