Successful parenting of teenagers is undoubtedly one of the most difficult, but rewarding endeavors that parents take on as they work to raise intelligent, independent, healthy, and loving young adults. This important job can certainly be much more difficult for single parents, who may never have planned to be a sole model and family leader. Life circumstances such as divorce or death, however, can easily change the family dynamic, and leave all the roles, responsibilities, and burdens upon the shoulders of just one person, rather than two.
Here are five tips to help you be a successful, single parent to your teenager, while maintaining balance, health, and support in your own life as well:
Share and firmly support important family beliefs.
According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, one of the best ways you can be a successful single parent to your teen is to establish and firmly support your family beliefs. You should openly share your values and beliefs with your teenager, and make sure they understand you are serious about upholding any guidelines and rules in your home that support them. Even if you feel worn down or discouraged at times when your teen isn’t behaving appropriately, always uphold your values and enforce the rules you have in place to teach your teen how to do the same.
Understand where you can, and should, make sacrifices.
As a single parent, you may have to cut costs or make certain sacrifices to ensure that your teen has all the things they need to grow and flourish. Create a thorough budget, and involve your teen in the process of saving money for special things they want to do or buy. This will help them understand the importance of living within your means, and help them learn and appreciate all the things that they have. Sacrifice is something that all parents experience, but it is important for your own health and happiness that you clearly identify where sacrifice makes sense for the growth and bettering of your family.
Prioritize all of your goals within the time you actually have.
According to the online parenting community, Circle of Moms, it’s very important that your teenager sees you setting goals and chasing your dreams. Seeing a parent thrive, overcome challenges, and stay true to their goals will help a teenager see firsthand that hard work and dedication can help them accomplish great things, despite adversity or hardship.
Balancing your work, parenting duties, and other aspects of your personal life can be especially challenging as a single parent. However, you can live a much more balanced and fulfilling life if you are realistic about the time you have, and set your goals accordingly. It is very helpful to write down your goals, and then prioritize them in order of importance. You can also help your teen do the same, by creating goals together, and supporting the things your teen aspires to do as well.
Locate or establish a strong support system for yourself and your teen.
Only 46 percent of teens 18 and under live at home with both of their parents, according to Pew Research Center. While this means that the traditional family is not as existent as in the past, it also means that there are many other parents experiencing the same challenges, sacrifices, and joys as you might be as a single parent. It’s important to understand that being a single parent does not mean that you are alone. Make sure to form a strong support system with family, friends, or other single parents so you have an outlet for yourself, as well as understanding and support from people who love and care for you.
Reward yourself with breaks.
Life as a single parent to a teenager can be especially exhausting and strenuous; physically, mentally, and emotionally. As you work hard to take care of your teenager, and guide them through all the trials and triumphs of the adolescent years, you need to be sure you take care of yourself as well. One way you can do this is to give yourself rewards and breaks. Plan times that you can spend alone or out with your friends doing something that you enjoy. These small rewards and breaks will help you feel refreshed, and also remind you that in addition to being a hard-working, single parent, you are also a person with your own ambitions and hobbies. In addition to giving you more energy to parent your teen, you will also show your teen the importance of investing time and effort into things that make them happy and form the person they are.
If you are a single parent raising a teenager, then you deserve love and praise. You also deserve balance, support, and encouragement as you navigate the teenage years, and work hard to guide and parent your teen toward adulthood.