Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Moms Can Do if Their Child Doesn't Have a Dad

We all know the research says kids are better off if they have a dad in their life but what happens if that is not an option for you!? Well good news, there are things moms can do to help bridge the gap.
  • Most of all- children need to know they are loved.
    • Protecting your child from feeling rejected by their father or you is important. If the rejection is too obvious to hide, making sure they know your love for them is unconditional is vital. The feeling of rejection leading to a negative self view of being unlovable or unworthy of love is worse than an absent father.  Also make sure they know they are not to blame for the absence.
  • Allow your child to talk about their emotions
    • Do not make your child feel like they cannot love or miss their father. It is important that you respect their emotions and that they have someone safe to talk to about them.  Provide opportunities like making a puzzle together, going for a walk or drive to help them open up.
  • Being a single parent is part of the reason no dad is a problem.
    • It isn’t hard just because dad is gone; it is also hard because now mom has to do it on her own. This often causes economic and emotional problems for mom. Moms make sure you take care of yourself as best as you can. Seek resources, get connected in a community and try and get as stable as you can. Being a single parent isn’t easy but there is help out there. If you are having a hard time finding resources talk to other single moms you know. Don’t be afraid to see a counselor to help deal with any anger, rejection, or stress you might be feeling yourself.
  • Try to parent like a guy and a girl.
    • Research shows men and woman tend to parent different. Women tend to be more nurturing and men tend to roughhouse more. Both are valuable to emotional and physical development.  Do your best to play catch, wrestle and kiss owies. If the kids have a healthy uncle or grandpa that can be a consistent part of their life, this can help as well. Bringing other unstable men in and out of their life can add more hurt and feelings of abandonment, so be careful not to expose them to new “friends” until you are sure it’s going to last. 
  • Divorce can leave different size scars depending on how you handle it.
    • Research considers divorce an emotional trauma for adults and children. The trauma can be huge or relatively small based on how the child perceives the situation. 
    • AHA Parenting says, "The real wounds come when a child feels rejected by one parent, forced to choose between parents, or when a stepparent introduces negativity toward the child. That's when the wound is serious, and the scar tissue extensive. Bottom line, if divorce is part of your life, you owe it to your child to do everything in your power to keep things amicable, which is a huge predictor for whether your ex will stay in your child's life in a positive way." 

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