This entire series is based on me asking my Facebook friends that are parents about what their greatest struggles were in parenting. Here is the one for today:
“It is hard raising them by myself. I make the rules and boundaries alone. Hard with no help.”
Before I get to far into this let me say that my parents are still married as am I. I did not grow up in a single parent nor amI a single parent. So, I do not have personal experience from WITHIN single parent family. However, I have many friends that are single parents. I have worked with a number of single parents within my church as well as friends from outside my church. So, whatever I say from here out consider through the filter of this experience.
The quote above is something that just about every single parent has experienced as some point. I am married to a great woman who is a great mother and parenting is still hard. I can’t imagine how much more difficult parenting without such a great partner would be. With that thought in mind I think that this is the key to surviving as a single parent, PARTNERSHIP. In a home where both parents are around and involved a partnership already exists. However, when there is only one parent, there is no partnership. Here are some thoughts on what the single parent can do about that.
Parents, go to church. I know that this may seem simplistic and you may even be wondering what this has to do with parenting, but let me explain. I don’t mean simply to start ATTENDING church. Rather I mean that you should get plugged in. Get involved in what is going on. Get to know some people. Make some friends. You may be wondering how this can help you parent your children alone. Let me explain. As I said above, one of the keys here is partnership. For me that partnership is easy because my wife has my back. For the single parent this partnership is not so easy. This is where the church comes in. The point of getting involved, getting to know people, and making friends is that you then have a basis for your partnership.
Simply attending, even getting involved is not enough. You must invite people to be your partners. You must be open and honest about your struggles. You must be willing to let people help you. Many of the single parents I know have a rough exterior. They block people out. Let people become a part of your life that can help you.
Church, step it up. Single parents need our help. There are children and youth all around us whose mother or father is not around. That’s where we can help. These boys need men who will stand in where their own fathers will not. They need men who will show them what it means to be a man of God. Likewise there are girls who need women to step up and show them how to be a woman of God. These girls need men who would show them how a REAL MAN treats a woman. Chances are, if their father is not around, then they have never seen a good example of this. Boys need to see the same thing.
In conclusion: Parenting is meant to be a partnership. It is never INTENDED to be done solo. For some of us this happens easier than for others. I have been fortunate to be pared with a mate that was willing to fight through the tough times and trust me there have been some. I have been fortunate to be pared with a mate that shared my desire to grow together and become better parents and better spouses. For those of us that have been so fortunate then having a partner in parenting it easy. For the rest they need some help. I think the people of the church can stand in this gap and become this partner.