3 Parenting Mistakes A Single Mom Should Avoid

Are you a single mom struggling to raise your child alone? Although you may find parenting to be a challenge at certain times, you can lessen the stress by avoiding some common mistakes. To overcome obstacles and be the best parent you can be, take note of whether you are making the following detrimental parenting blunders:

1. Being Inconsistent

A lack of structure may place a strain on a mother and child relationship. Children need consistency in their lives to make them feel secure and keep them in line. It's understandable that being a single mom sometimes makes it difficult to maintain a consistent schedule, but you should try to maintain a routine and stick to it. This may mean establishing bedtime rituals (such as a bedtime story after brushing one's teeth), creating a mother and child movie night once a week, or enforcing a set time for doing homework.

At the same time, your disciplinary standards need to be consistent as well. Have you ever grounded your child for bad behavior then felt guilty the next day and canceled the punishment? Inconsistencies like this will give your child the "one up" and you may lose control as the parental figure. You cannot expect to gain respect from your child if you don't stand by your word or if you're being wishy-washy. Additionally, he or she may never understand the consequences of breaking a rule if you back down whenever he or she sulks at being disciplined.

2. Not Establishing "Mom Time" (or Feeling Guilty When You Do)

As a single mom, you give your all to your child. Your devotion is admirable, but you need to understand something. You are not helping your child by not creating some quality "time out" for yourself. By allowing yourself ample free time (whether it be an hour a day or even one day a week), you can revitalize your body and mind. This will enable you to focus more on your parenting responsibilities overall. On the other hand, if you deprive yourself of time to yourself, you may easily become worn out, or even resentful of your parenting duties. Don't lay a guilt trip on yourself for creating a special time just for you, because you deserve it.

Making time for yourself doesn't have to mean an extravagant purchase or a luxurious trip to a foreign land. Even if you spend a few hours reading a favorite novel, going to a movie with your best friend or pampering yourself at the salon, it's a good way to clear your mind and relax, free of the daily cares of parenting. When you come back to the reality of parental life as a single mom, you may feel ready to face the challenges from an entirely new perspective.

3. Failing to Seek Help When Feeling Overwhelmed

As a single mom, do you ever feel as if you're expected to possess superhuman abilities? Well, you are only human, and superheroes mainly exist in the movies. While it is highly commendable to remain strong and tackle your parenting issues single-handedly, sometimes you must admit to needing outside help.

Parenting therapists or counselors exist for this very reason, and there is no shame in seeking their guidance when you feel overwhelmed. By seeking help through parenting or family therapy, you are not admitting defeat. It takes strength to admit you need help from the experts, so feel good about taking this powerful step. Whatever issues you are facing as a single mom, a parenting therapist can help. Whether it means cognitive behavioral therapy for both the parent and child or simply establishing house rules and guidelines, a trained specialist can help you make the right choices as a parent, as well as help you feel good about yourself and your parenting skills.

Being a single mom is a learning experience and you can expect to make a few mistakes along the way. The important thing is to recognize and correct those mistakes and move on. If you feel you might benefit from counseling for single parents, ask your pediatrician for a recommendation or suggested local center, like Associated Psychologists & Counselors, or enroll in a parenting class today.