A common mistake that many single parents make is allowing their children to become their confidante. This is an easy thing to do, as there are no other adults in your household. This is not to say that you and your kids cannot share a close bond because you will.
A children’s life should be surrounded by their education, their friends and their family. It should have a good mix of responsibilities, but carefree times as well with nothing to worry about but their playtime. All too often a single parent without any other adult to talk to about adult issues will share certain things with a child that they should not be involved in. Any matters involving your work, your deepest feelings, your fears, the other parent, money issues, and the like should not be a part of their world. They are having a hard enough time trying to sort out their own childhood feelings and the challenges of growing up to be burdened with your adult issues. It should have no place in their young lives. By talking about these things they will feel your concerns and feel helpless in what they can do to help you.
If you need to discuss these issues you need to find another adult to confide in. Consider discussing these issues with another adult family member or a close friend. If you do not have any other adult person in your life then consider seeking some type of counseling so as not to burden your children to what is inappropriate in their young lives.
It is good to give your children some responsibility, but just make sure it does not cross the lines into the adult world. Letting your children help to care for the younger children is fine. Just make sure that it does not go as far as becoming a surrogate parent to their younger siblings. Never refer to your young son as “the man of the house”. He is not a man nor should he feel that he has to take the place of his absent father. In the same regard do not have your daughter take over too many of the “mothering” responsibilities. She is a child and needs to be a child in her own right, as your son does as well.
Our children are our closest “friends” and as they should be, but when it crosses the line you need to seek out comfort from an adult source and leave your children to their own childhood tasks of growth and development.
Angel Lynn writes in weight loss, single parenting, and health.