When moms in my private Facebook group, The Single Mom Pride (click here to join) are asked about their number 1 single mom concern, an overwhelming majority say it is their children's well-being.
Of course, this makes sense. Single moms are, after all...moms, and all moms are concerned about their children's well-being. We all want our children to learn everything they need to know in order to be successful and happy adults. Not only do we want our kids to experience the benefits of positive parenting, but we want to enjoy our parenting time too!
Right about now you may be thinking, "Yes, Sara. I totally get it. But what exactly IS positive parenting and HOW exactly do I do that? I am stressed, exhausted, worried about a million things, and I feel like I am just getting through life day by day...and I am not even sure if I am doing THAT right!"
I've been there.
In the midst of bill paying, house cleaning, homework doing, activity running, paycheck earning, meal serving, and the like…the thought that’s humming in the back of your mind 24/7 is: "Are my kids OK?"
It's hard because...well...they look OK. They sound OK. They keep getting taller, and nobody is sick at the moment. So are they OK?
Are you doing it right? Are you a positive parent? Are your kids growing up with baggage that you can't see? Is the whole family going to end up one day on Dr. Phil for an intervention?
These thoughts used to plague me. And if you are like the single moms I work with, they probably plague you, too.
I learned how to conquer my fears by creating some really easy to follow
checklists for myself. And when I share them with my clients (I coach single
moms), they love them! So, I'm going to share one of my checklists with you
You know how you hate it at work when the boss is all over the place, can't figure out what the rules are, what the expectations are, and has no idea exactly what he or she wants? It's annoying, right? Of course it is.
And that is exactly how your kids feel when you are not predictable. You cannot be a success single mom if you can't define and adhere to a parenting plan. Sit down and really think about what you want, what your parenting goals are, and what needs to happen each day to achieve those goals.
As a business consultant, I have surveyed hundreds of employees. Do you know what the most common complaint is? No feedback from the boss. Or worse yet, feedback only comes when the employee makes a mistake.
Guess what? At home, you are the boss! You have to provide frequent constructive feedback so you can effectively guide your children. They have to understand what they are doing correctly or incorrectly, and they have to feel encouraged. In my 7Ps of Positive Parenting I share an easy to implement formula so you know exactly how to provide constructive feedback.
Just add this formula to your daily parenting practice and watch your children bloom! You are going to be amazed at the change in the behavior and their interaction with you. You will see more of the behavior you do want from your kids, and less of what you don't want.
Did you know the #1 reason people stay in their jobs is appreciation, and #2 is acknowledgement? (Pay is actually #3 on the list!) We tend to think of ourselves as successful parents when we do what I like to call "catch, correct, and redirect". And it is true. Those actions do go a long way in your positive parenting practice. But the part we often miss is catching our kids doing something good!
Find a reason to praise your kids every day. Let them know how proud you are of them and how much you love being their mom.
Rewards are awesome! It can be so tempting to say to your child...if you do "this", I will give you "this".
But constant reward can bite you in the behind. If you're not careful, an innocent, "eat your peas and I will give you a cookie" can easily evolve into "do your homework and I will buy you a car". Unless you plan to dole out cars on a regular basis, this approach can get tricky fast.
Most of the time, let your praise, time, attention, and the satisfaction of a job well-done serve as your child's reward. It's an approach that will serve them best in the long run.
Download all 7 P's in my free guide: The 7 Positive Parenting Practices for Single Moms. As a bonus, you will learn the one word you should never say to your kids. (Hint: It's not what you think!)