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10 Ways to Find Happiness, Success, and Awakening As A Single Parent

10 Ways to Find Happiness, Success, and Awakening As A Single Parent

Life happens.

That’s all too true for single parents.

Most people do not create a family knowing they’ll be raising that family alone.

Furthermore, those who are raising a family alone, for one reason or another, are never fully prepared for the many challenges that come with it.

Being 100% responsible for the lives of children, while tending to their emotional, physical, developmental, and education needs, and while maintaining the duties of a stable household, can be exhausting, tiring, and thankless work.

Sounds pretty dismal, huh?

Are single moms and dads to believe that their lives will be a constant drumbeat of children, bills, household chores to be repeated forever? Will their path in life ever be fulfilling outside the nonstop work train of a single parent?

Of course it will.

My success, happiness, and awakening is not due to my negative thoughts about being a single mom. It’s based on what I do with those thoughts as a single mom. Realizing that helped me curb my negative energy and turn it into something useful.

And so can you!

When you acknowledge the activities you do on a daily basis with and for your family, you’ll realize you have positive, vibrant energy to obtain all the happiness and fulfillment your heart desires.

Let’s explore 10 ways to find your happiness, success, and awakening right now!

Happiness:

Accepting Your Comfort Zone

As single parents, we often feel the need to overcompensate for the obvious: a missing spouse.

We try to make many friends, join friendly groups, try online dating. Over and over again, only to feel like we’re better off with a small social circle.

And maybe that’s because that’s where we’re truly intended to be.

If you find yourself feeling at peace alone or with a small group of trusted friends, don’t question it. Embrace it! And realize there’s nothing wrong with it!

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Accept your comfort zone as just that: your personal space that gives you balance and peace. It keeps you out of questionable situations as well as keeping you level headed as you go about your day balancing home and kids alone.

The faster you accept and love your comfort zone, the more content you may find yourself.

Accepting Your Singlehood

For me, being apart from the father of my children was the best decision for my family.

I did not want my children growing up around fighting, arguing, and disrespect.

While I know we made the right decision to terminate the relationship for our family’s sake, but what about my sake? Am I doomed to singleness forever?

Maybe. And so what if I am?

Being single means you can make your own decisions. You can spend your money how you like without consulting with anyone else, plan the trips you want, and allow your kids to stay up a little later than usual without the opinion of other people.

For me, I was able to take control of financial responsibilities, drastically improve my credit score, and crawl out of debt far better than when I was with someone who didn’t have great money habits.

So, enjoy your singleness and the many freedoms that come with. Do something spontaneous like take a random vacation with the kids (or alone). Leave the dishes dirty for a few more days. Don’t fold a piece of darn laundry till the weekend!

Love your single self while you can!

Embrace Your Appearance

You’re too skinny. Too fat.

Your hair is too kinky. Too tangly.

You’ll come up with any and every excuse as to why you haven’t attracted “the one” yet.

Most of the time; however, it’s not your appearance.

It’s likely how you carry yourself in that appearance.

If you dress for work like you don’t want to be approached by the cute guy in IT or the hot girl in the accounting department, then you won’t be approached.

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But if you dress like you feel positive and wonderful, then positive and wonderful people will take notice.

(And if they’re not so positive and wonderful, hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little flattery!)

The experience of not being ashamed of my hair or body was never something I could explore in some past relationships. But now, I have a very special appreciation of my body that only I understand. And I shouldn’t have to bend on that to find a mate.

Even better: appreciating your body starts with you. You can take that yoga class, cycling course, or kick boxing class knowing you did it to improve YOU for YOU, not for someone else.

Apply Laser Focus to Your Career

Let’s face it.

Most of us don’t like our jobs.

Many feel overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated.

But as a single parent, you try to be extra careful of what you do at work. You getting canned could mean doom for your family.

So, instead of secretly hating your job, embrace it. Be thankful for it. Be thankful for the fact that you can provide for your family on your own.

And learn to put more focus into what you like about your job. Love technical writing? Be the go-to person for desk guide creation. Good at number crunching? Become an expert with Microsoft Excel.

Even with tasks or aspects of your job that you don’t love so much, learn to embrace them, but not overly focus on them. Got toxic co-workers? Acknowledge them but don’t entertain them. Your boss is a world class jerk? Figure out what makes them tick and do the opposite. If they decide to be a jerk about everything, tune them out by focusing on new skills for a better job.

You can also utilize your career laser focus off the job too. Learn a new language part time online or at an inexpensive community college. Try your hand at coding for free on the internet. Enroll in that project management course you’ve been putting off for years.

You may find yourself far more successful at your job (or a better job) by simply embracing it more effectively.

Success:

Give Your Passion Laser Focus

Always wanted to sharpen your freelance writer skills?

What ever happened to that website design business you started in college?

As a single parent, you have more time than you realize.

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Even in doing chores and watching the kids during soccer games, you’re thinking about how best to make your life better.

Why not give that passion of yours more focus?

Pay for a finances class to be a better freelance writer so you can start earning side income for your family. Sign up for that entrepreneur course at the community center. With only one person handling the finances, you don’t have to justify investing into your passion to improve your life.

Give Yourself A Book

Sure, you’re a pretty bright solo mom or dad.

But, you can afford to be smarter. Heck, we all can.

If there’s something you’ve been wanting to dabble in (i.e. investing, person finance, gardening, hiking, cooking), read up on it.

They don’t say reading is fundamental for nothing! Being your own teacher is one of the best ways to learn something new. You’re acquiring new information theoretically and organically through your own thought processes and comprehension.

No standardized tests or quizzes necessary!

Reading interesting topics is exercise for the brain, helps you de-stress, and if you’re like me and tend to read around your children a lot, it could help them develop better reading habits as well.

Awakening:

Stop Apologizing

A lot of times, single parents tend to always assume they’ve done something wrong.

They question themselves, their decisions, and their actions a lot because they don’t have another inquisitive adult in the house.

But there comes a point when you simply have to stop apologizing for everything.

Being in constant regret of your decisions could bring about all kinds of unstable feelings. Don’t do it to yourself!

Say what you mean and mean what you say more often. Stand your ground for once and don’t feel the need take anything back.

Furthermore, standing up for what you think and feel builds confidence and inner strength. You may find yourself standing up a little more at work against aggressive coworkers.

Not apologizing doesn’t mean you’ve turned into an insensitive jerk. It just means you stand by what you believe in.

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As the old saying goes:

“Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Stop Caring…About The Wrong Things

As a writer, I oftentimes receive commentary containing strong opinions!

With some of them I read and reply to them. Others that are filled with inflated insults and disrespect, I simply don’t care to engage with further.

When you stop caring about others’ opinions about you, your craft, your family, or your life, you really begin to live. Living for the approval of others is a quick path to unhappiness.

When you march to the beat of your own drum, the other music kinda dies out in your ears.

What your parents, friends, neighbors, or teachers think about your life becomes a non-issue because you no longer care to give them the energy.

Stop worrying about things you don’t have no control of. For me, I use to stress out about my student loans like it was a terminal disease! When I realized there’s nothing I could do about them but, well, pay them off as best as I could, I seriously stopped caring about it! Giving it more worry than necessary would have sent me to an early demise much faster than raising rowdy kids alone!

Stop Being Ashamed of Your Feelings

Most people do not want their rawest emotions to be felt.

Well, if that becomes a chronic pattern it can easily build up into depression and anxiety in the long run.

Let your feelings be known. If you’re dealing with a stressful working environment, let it be known. In a respectable but direct manner, bring up legitimate concerns of the growing stress you’re feeling at work. You, like everyone else, has a right to a stable and welcoming working environment.

And that’s nothing to be ashamed about.

If you’re stressed out at home, let it be known. Inform your kids of what is really making you sick (stress can lead to serious illnesses) at home and tell them you need their help to cope. Make them do more chores. Demand more respect from them even if it means applying some tough love. If you need to take a vacation without them, do it and don’t be sorry for it!

If you’re in a relationship, allow your feelings to be heard. Tell your significant other what bothers you, regardless how silly he or she may think they are. If they choose not to show respect, that’s a good thing. You now know what direction you should take your relationship.

And that’s nothing to be ashamed about either.

So get out there and start living your life as a more happy, successful, and awakened single parent!

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Published on July 23, 2020

11 Signs You’re an Overprotective Parent (And What to Do About It)

11 Signs You’re an Overprotective Parent (And What to Do About It)

Have you ever followed your child around the playground? They may have been a toddler and you were worried they would take the wrong step and fall off the jungle gym. Therefore, you followed your toddler around, keeping them within arm’s reach so that you could prevent them from falling or having an accident.

I have been that parent at the playground in the past. With twin boys who had no fear as toddlers, I would follow them onto playground equipment because I was concerned for their safety.

After a few months of doing this, I stopped. I came to realize that children need to learn through their own experiences. They will fall, but they will also learn how to avoid danger and make calculated judgments about risks through their experiences. If I was always there to stop them from falling, they wouldn’t learn to stop themselves.

They had to learn things on their own. Of course, as a parent, it is still my responsibility to not place them in situations where they could be terribly injured.

For example, we started at playgrounds that were intended for children under the age of five. We didn’t move up to the big playgrounds until they were old enough and aware of their behaviors and the risks involved in playground play activities.

Why Parents Become Overprotective

The intention of overprotective parenting is well-meaning. These types of parents are highly concerned about their children’s safety and decision making. Their ultimate goal is to protect their child from harm. Parents should be concerned about the safety and well-being of their children.

However, on the flip side, parents should also be teaching their children about risk and responsibility. Those lessons are best taught through life experience. If we are always following behind our children, ready to catch them at a moment’s notice, then we aren’t allowing them to learn about risk and responsibility.

Unger, a researcher on overprotective parenting, suggests that parents should allow children to participate in activities on their own that are considered low-risk.[1] This means allowing children to engage in activities on their own that provide “manageable amounts of risk and responsibility.”

Unger cited that parents have become increasingly more protective of their children and are much more watchful of their children’s activities than previous generations.

The problem with being an overprotective parent is that the child misses out on the opportunity to build responsible behavior skills, build autonomy, and develop self-esteem. Their confidence can be undermined when mom or dad are always watching and guiding their behavior.

They can develop a sense that they are unable to make their own good decisions because they are never allowed to do so in life. Their confidence and self-esteem are hindered when they aren’t allowed to do things on their own without their parents hovering or watching over them.

What Are the Signs of an Overprotective Parent?

Parents with overly protective tendencies think that they are helping their child. Their goal is to protect their child, but it goes to the extreme. Below are some ways that a parent can be overly protective.

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This type of behavior can end up harming their child’s development when one or more of these behaviors is present. There are likely other ways that a parent can be overprotective of their child, as this list is not comprehensive.

These are examples so you can assess your behavior to determine if you need to loosen up overly protective parenting habits.

  1. You choose your child’s friends or direct them toward friendships with particular children.
  2. You don’t allow them to do activities on their own. For example, not allowing them to walk the dog in front of your home even though you live in a safe neighborhood and could even watch them from the front window.
  3. You are constantly monitoring your child. For example, you show up at their sports practices often to check in and see how they are doing or you go online to check their grades every week to ensure that they don’t have any missing work in any classes. If they do have missing work, you make sure that they get it completed and turned in before their final grade can be affected.
  4. You prevent them from making mistakes when you can see that they are going to make a low-risk mistake. For example, not allowing your five-year-old to put ketchup on their pancakes because you know they are going to dislike it and ruin their breakfast. You won’t allow them to chose to make such a mistake because you know that they will cry and get upset and you want to prevent them from becoming emotionally upset.
  5. You don’t allow them to go to friend’s homes without you.
  6. Sleepovers at other homes or camps are never allowed during their childhood.
  7. You drill them with questions about their life when they are out of your sight, such as wanting to know about all the details of their school day every day when you pick them up from school.
  8. You guide them to the extent that they are prevented from failing. For example, not allowing your teen to try out for the basketball team because you know that they will not make the cut.
  9. You make their decisions for them. For example, you don’t allow them to choose whether they can walk to school or ride the bus. You drive them and do not allow for any decision outside of this because you want to keep them safe.
  10. You are always volunteering to serve in their school classroom or chaperone the school trips because you want to “keep an eye on what is going on in your child’s class”.
  11. You do not allow them to have secrets or privacy. For example, they are not allowed to have a locked diary that you do not read or you don’t allow them to lock their bedroom door ever.

Why Being Overprotective Is Not a Good Idea

Kids learn from natural consequences. If they are not allowed to have natural consequences because their parent is continually protecting them from failure and harm, their development is being hindered.

For example, let’s look at a child named Sally who is 13. She is a child who is overly managed by her parents and is not allowed to go to sleepovers or even go to another friend’s home. Her parents are worried about stranger danger and what can happen if they are not with their child.

Sally is allowed to have friends at her home, but her parents are always watching the kids. Whenever Sally and her friends begin to disagree, the argument is squelched before the children can even begin to work things out between themselves because Sally’s parents will intervene and solve the problem.

Sally is never alone with friends outside of school because her parents are always present. The presence of her parents in her socialization is hindering her development.

She doesn’t know how to work out disagreements between her peers because she has never been allowed the opportunity to even try. Her social skills are lacking because parents intervene to direct her behavior while she is with her friends.

Kids Need Space and Time

Kids need space and time to be independent while they are children. If Sally were to be left alone with her friends, her friends would eventually push back at her bossy behavior when her parents are not present.

However, because Sally’s parents are always present she gets away with being overly-bossy to her friends. She is not learning about the natural consequences of her bossiness but someday will when it may be difficult to change her behaviors as she is older in more set in her ways.

It is easier to learn through natural consequences at a young age. Sally will likely end up going to therapy as an adult because she can’t keep friendships intact. Her bossy behaviors and lack of awareness have led to her having severed friendships repeatedly as a young adult.

She will have to work with a therapist to uncover the reason why she is losing friends and then work to change her behavior to learn better ways to act towards her friends in the future.

Effects of Overprotection

There are a variety of effects of overprotective parenting. It is often dependent on the methods the parent utilizes and the extent of the overprotective behavior.

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For example, let’s look at Tina who is a girl age 10. She wants to run and participate in her school’s after-school competitive track program. However, she is not allowed to participate in after school activities because her parents are worried that she will be exposed to boys and may start having relationships with the opposite sex too young.

Another concern is that a boy may “take advantage” of their daughter, so they want to protect her from being exposed to boys outside of school and their supervision.

The problem with this is that Tina is missing out on participating in a sports activity that could help her develop friendships. She is also missing out on the opportunities associated with being a part of a team, working hard physically to compete, and developing sportsmanship skills.

Her parents are well-meaning, but their over-protection is preventing her from participating in a sports activity that she deeply desires to engage in.

There are other effects of overprotective parenting. Below are some examples.

Examples of Overprotective Parenting

This list is not comprehensive, as every parenting situation and family is unique. However, this list can help provide some insight into the detrimental effects that overprotective parenting can cause.

1. Lack of Self-Esteem Development

If children are not allowed to try things on their own, they cannot build self-confidence and self-esteem.

2. Lack of Autonomy

If a child is always accustomed to having a parent around and supervising their behavior, they can become dependent on the decision making of their parents because they are never allowed to be alone or do things alone.

3. Anxiety

A child who is never allowed to try to do things on their own can become anxious when they are finally allowed to try things out on their own. They worry about making mistakes or failing because they have continually had a parent to help them avoid mistakes and failure.

4. Lack of Responsibility

When parents are always helping and guiding their children to an extreme, children will fail to develop their own responsibility skills. If they are never held responsible for anything, how can they develop a sense of responsibility?

5. People-Pleasing Tendencies

Youniverse explained that children who have overprotective parents who constantly direct their children’s behavior end up seeking the approval of those in their life.[2] These children will grow up accustomed to someone always telling them what the “right behavior” looks like.

If they don’t have that praise or comfort of someone saying they did things right, they can become anxious or depressed. They become people-pleasers who seek the appraisal of others.

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6. Risky Behavior

When children are raised in an overly protective home, they often engage in risky behavior when the reigns are lifted. They haven’t experienced the failures associated with low-risk situations at a younger age because of their overly protective parents.

Therefore, when they get older, access to high-risk situations becomes more easily accessible, and without understanding high risk versus low-risk situations, they engage without the wisdom of previous experiences.

Because of their inexperience with risks in general, they may engage in high risk because they are unaware of consequences.

7. Diminished Development Regarding Fear, Social Skills, and Coping Skills

Psychology Today explains that children with overprotective parents have developmental issues, such as not being able to deal with stress and poor social skills.[3]

For example, a child who isn’t allowed to play on a playground because the parent wants to protect their child from injury is prevented from learning about risk-taking on the playground and the bumps and bruises from consequences.

Such a child may grow up to either having too much fear because it was instilled by their parents or have no fear because they have no concept of high-risk versus low-risk behavior.

8. Lack of Immunity

The Psychology Today article also explained that children who have overly protective parents that do not allow exposure to germs can become children who have a compromised immune system. Exposure to germs as children is needed for them to develop a healthy immune system naturally.

When parents are disinfecting everything the child encounters and not allowing exposure to germs (e.g., not allowing them to go to a petting zoo or to play in the sandbox because of the germs in those places), they can be stunting their child’s ability to develop their immune system.

9. Control Freaks

Children who have been parented by control freaks learn this behavior from their parents. Parents are the primary role model of behavior for their children. If children see their parents acting as though they must have control over others and every situation at all times, then they too will learn to behave in this same manner.

What to Do If You Are an Overprotective Parent

If after reading this content you feel that you may be an overprotective parent, there is hope. You can change.

It begins with loosening the reigns of control over your child in a calculated and reasonable manner. Allowing for low-risk behaviors and the consequences involved can help your child become more independent.

There is definitely a balance to protective versus overprotective parenting. Allowing for activities and exposure to experiences that are low-risk is a good way to start.

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For example, allowing your child to play on age-appropriate playground equipment (without following them) is a good first step. They will experience some bumps and bruises, but this is a part of normal development and learning about consequences.

You will want to research authoritative parenting methods if you feel you are an overprotective parent. Overprotective parents tend to be authoritarian parents.

Here is a LifeHack article I previously wrote about authoritarian parenting, so you can understand the drawbacks to this parenting method: Authoritarian Parenting.

Authoritative parenting is not control-based parenting. It involves teaching consequences naturally, allowing age-appropriate decision-making, and having conversations with children rather than dictating for ultimate control and compliance.

MSU Extension provides some great guidelines for authoritative parenting.[4] Below are some of the behaviors they described with authoritative parenting methods:

  • Provide reasonable, age-appropriate expectations for children.
  • Stress and anxiety for children can have positive outcomes, as they are allowed to experience these feelings in small doses as children. They can then build their coping skills and ability to deal with stress and anxiety through experience.
  • Encourage independence, as it helps children build their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Allowing for failures when they are young helps them learn how to pick themselves back up and try again. Developing this ability at a young age regularly will help prepare them for bigger failures when they are older, such as breakups, failed classes, or losing a job.

Final Thoughts

It is never too late to work on our parenting skills. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, therefore, we can always be working on improving our parenting methods.

We all want our children to be successful, happy, and competent as adults. It does not happen overnight. Parenting is a continual process of trying daily to help our children live and learn through their own life experiences.

If we try to protect them every step of the way, then they are not being allowed to truly experience life.

Allow for age-appropriate experiences and allow for failures so that they can learn how to pick themselves back up and try again.

More Tips on Effective Parenting

Featured photo credit: Sue Zeng via unsplash.com

Reference

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