Parental death – due to disease and unnatural causes like accidents or suicides – is the primary reason for a single mother raising her children. Increasingly, divorce and separation are also the reasons for a growing number of single mothers. Being a mother easy never an easy task, and being a single mother adds its own set of new challenges. She has to play the roles of both parents, be the friend, counsellor, guide, mentor, teacher, and provider for the child and at the same time worry for her present as well as future.
What does it take?
Being a single mom is difficult in every society, be it an advanced society like the USA or a traditional one like India. Some common challenges of single motherhood are:
* Juggling Between Multiple Roles – As a single mother, you have to fill in the shoes for both the parents and juggle between different roles. With multiple responsibilities, there is less time for each and it becomes a precious commodity. Most single mothers have a lingering sense of guilt for not being there for her child.
* No financial support – Most single mothers are financially dependent on their spouses before the current status and don’t have experience or qualifications to stand on their own. The parents and in-laws may not be willing or able to support you in dire circumstances. You have to stand up to the challenge to get yourself and your kids out of the financial distress.
* Less time for children – You are now the sole provider for the family as well the only mentor or guide for your children. The luxury of dividing responsibilities has been taken away forever. The one thing you are going to have the least on your plate is time, especially with children. As you will devote the same time for them, you can’t be with them.
* Social Pressures – Many single mothers have been subjected to different social pressures like getting remarried, compromising in certain situations, submitting to wrongful demands of in-laws or siblings in order to get their emotional support and even indecent approaches and proposals from other men.
Being a single mother is, in fact, one of the most challenging jobs one could ever ask for. Most single mothers have the natural ability to cope with these challenges, with a bright smile, and emerge as supermoms.
Parental counseling can help you not only understand the emotional needs of the child, but it also enables you to understand your needs and limitations and healthily address them all.
Being a mother herself, Life Coach Ritu Singal often tells her own experience with her daughter. She says, “When my daughter was young, she used to complain about a lot of things like she doesn’t like her school bus driver, her teacher is not good, etc.”
“As most parents would do, I also used to tell her that things don’t work this way in real life. She has to ‘learn to manage’ things, and she can’t be finding fault with everyone.”
She continues, “After a little while I started getting this kind of response from my daughter – ‘You mean I am at fault?’ or ‘Mom, don’t you trust me?’”
This is when she feels like her daughter is going away from her.
One day, after the parent-teacher meeting, when she saw her waiting, all scared and anxious that now “Mumma is going to scold me,” she knew that this is not the time for scolding or punishments as that changes nothing.
She understood that the responsibility of making her daughter a nice person is her responsibility. The importance of parents’ counseling and guidance was evident to her.
Therefore, instead of rebuke, she said to her daughter, “Your teacher likes you, and she said that you are one of her brilliant students, and if you are a little more careful, you can do wonders.”
This positive feedback made her daughter more receptive and responsive and made her understand what was expected from her.
Ritu’s daughter soon started taking care of her things and became way more organized and alert. Today she is working as a successful senior executive in an MNC.
This personal story has one lesson: making a child emotionally healthy and stable is the parents’ responsibility.
Emotionally disturbed children are more vulnerable to emotional, physical, or even sexual abuse by others.
They exhibit more aggression or go into complete seclusion, sometimes without any apparent reasons. They may shout even when not provoked or be awkwardly quiet even when it is provoking.
This behavior is challenging for the parents and anyone around them, and people start labeling the child as “unruly,” “dumb,” or “psycho.”
With parent-child relationship counseling, it is possible to gain the lost trust, confidence, and mend broken relationships.
She taught her daughters to stay safe and alone at home with a servant, while she worked. She brought them up as independent and capable adults. Both her daughters are highly appreciated for their wisdom, smartness and for being great sportspersons. In addition to being successful professionally as a Doctor and an Engineer, one of them participated in Olympics, and the other in National TT championships.
The young daughter is also a celebrated writer. There have been so many accomplishments to their credit that people wonder if they all belong to only these two people. Managing the worst of situations is not difficult, you just need to learn the correct tools to nudge you towards positivity with your children. You can learn from her experiences.
Successful parenting depends on many smaller things and not just a few large things and therefore my Life Coaching sessions for single mothers try to bring out their core values and align them with their most important life goals. I help them set tangible and measurable goals within a reasonable time schedule. I guide them in identifying their key strengths and major weaknesses and work on ways with them to bring a balanced multiple pull from different directions.