Single Moms . . . Today’s Heroes!
Guest post by Dennis Franck,
“How am I supposed to raise my two boys alone?” Susan asked the pastor. “I don’t know how—I was never a little boy.” Comments like these are not rare anymore. Single moms represent 12.2 million households today,[i] and 24 million children (nearly 4 out of 10) live in a home without a father.[ii]
Sharing parenting challenges with a partner is difficult enough, but facing them alone can seem like an overwhelming job! A single mom comes home from work to cook, clean, wash, pay bills, give rides, attend school functions, discipline, solve problems, help with homework, and more. No wonder she is tired—she does all of this by herself, every week, without the help of another parent. Single parents are today’s heroes!
Heroes Have Needs Too
Since you, as a single mom, are devoted to raising your children, it is often easy to neglect taking care of yourself. But if your needs are not met, you will not be the strong and balanced mother you want or need to be. Here are a few suggestions to help you become a better mom:
- Recognize that you have needs and rights that only you can protect.
- Even though it’s difficult, set aside time for your hobbies, interests, and social life.
- Don’t be afraid to tell leaders at your church what your needs are.
- Don’t try to be the father and mother. Try to be the best mom you can be with the resources you have.
- Don’t think you have to be “super mom.” Give yourself the freedom to fail and the luxury of not having to do it all.
- Develop relationships with other single mothers for encouragement, ideas, and help with childcare.
- Say no to your children when they are too demanding or when they request unnecessary things.
- Insist that the children’s father maintain a regular and consistent visitation schedule.
- Maintain your own privacy.
- Pursue your dreams of going back to school, changing careers, or saving for a special trip when possible.
Meeting Your Children’s Needs
Children of single parents experience all the common needs of other children, combined with other unique challenges—changes in location and school, decreased family income, visitation with the other parent, unresolved questions and emotions, low self esteem, and lack of healthy role models.
Because of these unique needs, your children will require more than the usual affirmation other children receive. They need you to do the following:
Show consistent, secure love—don’t vacillate or be shy about it.
- Praise and affirm them all the time—possibly even more than you would kids from two–parent homes.
- Plan to spend regular time together.
- Nurture them with physical affection and concrete expressions of love.
- Tell each child specific things you like about them.
- Encourage appropriate decision–making.
- Encourage them to try things on their own, even if it might lead to failure.
- Help them see why they failed if/when they do.
- Be there for them emotionally, encouraging them to try again.
Keep stress at a minimum.
- Encourage a relationship with stable family members.
- Help minimize involvement with passing relationships (unstable peers or relatives, a man who is developing a relationship with you, etc.).
- Discuss contingency plans for emergency situations.
- Avoid venting about their father in front of them.
- Provide consistency in discipline, incentives, and rewards.
- Delay a move if possible.
- When a move is necessary, stay within the same school district and church if possible.
- Keep communication open, and encourage them to discuss issues in their lives.
Promises for Today’s Hero
Being a single mother in today’s world is full of complex challenges. God the Father knows this; His concern for the fatherless is shown throughout Scripture.
“God sets the solitary in families” (Psalm 68:6, KJ).
“[God is] the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14, NIV).
“For in [the Lord] the fatherless find compassion” (Hosea 14:3, NIV).
Single mom, it may sound trite, but “hang in there.” Look to the example of the greatest single adult who ever lived—Jesus! He understands what it’s like to be a single adult and has compassion and strength for the single mother. Relying on Him will help you be a true hero for your children!
~ ~ ~
DENNIS FRANCK was the National Director of Single Adult/Young Adult Ministries for the Assemblies of God from 2000 – 2014. His book, Reaching Single Adults: An Essential Guide for Ministry (Baker Books) has been used by leaders from many faith and church backgrounds. He wrote two chapters in Singles Ministry Handbook, chapters in Single to Single, and Counseling Single Adults, and articles on single adult living and leadership issues for many ministry publications. Dennis speaks for single adult conferences and training events across the country through his ministry, Franck Insights. www.franckinsights.com
Recommended Web Sites
- Center for Single – Parent Family Ministry: spfm.org
- Changing Families: http://www.changingfamilies.com
- Divorce Care for Kids (DC4K): http://www.dc4k.org/parentzone
Linda Ranson Jacobs is the Ambassador for DC4K
- Family Discipleship Ministries: parentingministry.org
- Kid’s Hope: kidshope.org
- Single Parent Family Resources: http://www.singleparentfamilyresources.com
- The Cooperative Parenting Institute: cooperativeparenting.com/
[i] Goter, Susan, Strategic Adult Ministry Journal, Issue 124, 7.
[ii] Horn, Wade F., President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, Gaithersburg, MD
Are you are a single mom? Or do you want to help single parents?
Dennis Franck – Franck Insights