Raising your kids on your own doesn’t have to mean you’re alone.
If you are a parent who is single, divorced, or separated, you may be raising your children on your own, but you don’t have to feel alone. Create a support group of close friends and family who can help you out. Enhance your children’s relationships with grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts and your close friends, so they’ll have other valuable positive adult role models besides yourself.
Your children may have profound feelings about the divorce or separation. Be available to actively listen to what they are saying about any difficulties they may be having dealing with a new or different family dynamic.
It’s still important to have these safety conversations about substance use early on.
You may need to talk with your ex-spouse, or the child’s other parent to create a plan together for establishing and maintaining consistent limits for the child in each home. As your child’s parents, it’s a good idea to have the same kinds of safety conversations surrounding drugs.
All parents find it hard to set and enforce family rules, but it can be particularly hard for single parents who don’t want to disrupt the balance of the relationship with their teen. For parents concerned about upsetting that balance, it might help to commiserate with your teen. For example, you could say, “I know it’s difficult that I have to make these rules. But I wouldn’t be a good parent if I didn’t take care of and protect your safety.”
Keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s other parent can help ensure the safety rules are consistent in both households. Make clear rules about curfews that work for both homes, and encourage your teen to introduce you to their friends so you know who they are hanging out with. Know where your child is after school, especially if you are working long hours, and help your child grow and enrich their relationships with grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts for them to have other valuable role models besides yourself.
If you know or suspect that your child is using drugs, you may also want to reach out to your extended family and friends for help.
Every parent asks how do I protect my kids? Safety conversations about drug use should start early. Get more info.
You’ve got this – get tips to help you start those conversations and keep them going.
For more information on building support groups, click here.