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4 Tips for single moms raising kids without their father

MOTHERHOOD
Shutterstock | Asia Images Group
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It takes courage and strength, but it can be done!

Raising children when their dad is out of the picture is a special challenge for women—one that takes courage and strength. Single mothers usually end up facing a time when their children want the presence and involvement of their father, though, so what’s the best way to handle that?

Rocio Meca, a family and couples therapist, believes that when a mother has to raise her children without their father, it’s necessary to find ways to reinforce the children’s emotional security. She says there are four basic things to consider. Here are some practical tips for dealing with each of them:

1. Connectedness

Let your children experience and understand that they belong to a group (family, friends). It is helpful and encouraging for them to spend time with other people they can trust, and for them to feel supported. Explain to your children that they have a personal history and heritage; this will link them to other people and places. Make sure they know that they are important to other people.

MOTHERHOOD
Shutterstock | Fotoluminate LLC

2. Uniqueness

Teach your children to be aware of and to appreciate the talents and personality traits that make them special or different. It can bolster their self-confidence when others they care about express their approval of and respect for those characteristics. Children need to learn to express themselves in their own way and should be able to enjoy being different.

MOTHER
Shutterstock | ffoto29

3. Agency

Children need to feel that they can change their environment, and can influence what happens to them. Offer them choices and take time to explain what’s going on.

4. Role models

Find male role models for them — perhaps their grandfather, a teacher, or an uncle. Don’t choose them as role models because they spend a lot of time with the child or are charismatic, but because you believe they have characteristics worthy of being imitated and admired by your children. They should have virtues your kids can aspire to such as courage, industriousness, kindness, etc.

GRANDFATHER
Public Domain

It is important that your children see that the virtuous behavior of their role models is fairly stable and constant.

Here are a few more things you and your children’s role models can do to help your kids:

  • Channel their curiosity so that they grow in learning.
  • Encourage your children to know the limits of what they can and cannot do.
  • Teach them clear guidelines for behavior so that they’ll know how to act on their own.
  • Help your children reflect on the meaning behind the things they do.
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