Experimenting with different parenting methods may seem like a luxury–something only for those parents who have plenty of time to read and study up on different techniques. For many of us single parents, we might be more likely to stick to our established methods–even if the results are less than great. It just takes too much time and energy to go exploring for new parenting tricks and ideas! But our methods really could be getting stale, or maybe they have never really worked at all but we’ve thrown up our hands, declared that we’re doing the best we can and focus on holding our lives together in other areas. Still, new parenting methods might just be what the doctor ordered…
I don’t want to imply that single parents are stuck in the mud! In fact, from the single parents I know, we can often be the most incredibly flexible and creative bunch–but we can also get as stuck as anyone else or at least cling to outdated parenting methods. This also doesn’t mean that we should be purchasing and reading every new parenting guru that comes along–but shaking things up can be beneficial. For example, say you ALWAYS use time outs when your preschooler gets into trouble. Eventually, the time-out might lose its power and effectiveness. Additionally, as the child gets older, it becomes necessary to come up with more appropriate disciplinary techniques.
Sometimes, one method works great with a first child and then falls flat when that second one comes along. While we still want to be fair, and as single parents keep our lives from getting too complicated, we may need to expand our repertoire of parenting methods to cope with different personalities. Ask friends for ideas and suggestions, take a parenting class (a great way to expand your social circle as well) or pick up a parenting magazine (a little more single-parent-friendly than a big, fat book) and brush up on some different methods and techniques. They may not all appeal to you or work in your family situation, but expanding your tool box is a good thing.
the PARENTING Blog