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Published on September 4, 2020

How to Manage Single Parenting Positively

How to Manage Single Parenting Positively
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In 2013, single moms ran 25% of homes in the United States.[1] Another 6% of the families, meanwhile, only had single fathers. Of course, this number has continued to rise since then. Even though single parenting is becoming increasingly more common, it doesn’t mean that it is getting any easier.

If you have been a single parent for a while, then you know how true it is. If you have recently become a single parent, you are likely just learning about the challenges and how to balance life, work, and family while trying to be a good mom or dad.

Nevertheless, do not despair — there is still hope. Single parenting can be done, and your child can grow up to be happy and prosperous.

How Single Parenting Affects a Child

It was once highly stigmatized to be the child of a single parent. The terms “illegitimate” and “broken home” were often attached to them. With the increase of single-parent homes, though, the situation has become more normal than ever.

The Positive

There is often a robust parent-and-child bond in single-parent homes because it is usually just the two of them against the world.

Another positive thing is that children in single-parent homes become more responsible and mature compared to their peers from dual-parent families. After all, they get household chores out of necessity to help their mom or dad.

The Negative

The adverse effects of coming from a single-parent household are consistent across different studies.

One research explains that children from such homes are more likely to have emotional struggles, drop out of school, and avoid pursuing higher education.[2]

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Still, it doesn’t mean that all children from single parents fall into this position. It truly dependents on the overall support that they have gotten from loved ones. Hence, single moms and dads need to set up a support system for themselves and their kids so that extended family and friends can offer help as needed.

Another study found that family relationships were the best predictor of a child’s success in academia and other endeavors.[3] It’s true because the parent-child relationship is very important.

Kids need to be in a loving, caring, and nurturing environment that boosts their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. That’s easy to achieve, whether one or both parents are present. (Try this helpful article: 11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother)

A Single Parent’s Role in the Family

Someone becomes a single parent happens because of a variety of reasons, with divorce, separation, and death on top of the list. Their life is not easy since they need to be an income earner, household manager, disciplinarian, parent, tutor, maid, chauffeur, and loving parent all at once.

Wearing many hats is not a cakewalk for anyone. Playing many life roles while also caring for one or more children takes courage, effort, and commitment. (Assuming you need help in that department, check this out: 13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy))

Often, people don’t choose to raise kids on their own — it’s more of a result of an unfortunate situation. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, though. It merely entails that if you have recently become a single parent, you can set up your life for success in this situation by doing some planning.

How To Survive Single Parenting

1. Have Realistic Expectations

If you set the bar too high, you are bound to be disappointed. Set your expectations realistically when it comes to single parenting.

For example, if you are working two jobs to make ends meet, then being able to attend every soccer game and practice of your child may not be realistic. You may have to ask a friend or family member to get them to and from sports events.

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You will be there when you can and when your work schedule allows, but knowing that it won’t always work out as expected helps you to be practical in life. Nonetheless, you need to discuss realistic expectations with your child, so they understand why you can’t always be there for them, even when you want to be.

2. Do Your Best

Every parent needs to let go of their pursuit of perfection. This is especially true when you have more on your plate than moms or dads in dual-parent homes. You can’t do it all correctly. You need to let some things go and do your best in different situations.

Decisions should be made to help make your life more streamlined with your top priorities. For instance, you may have to skip making home-made lunches for your child and give them lunch money instead because it gives you one less thing to do in the mornings.

Try to be flexible. You are only one human being, after all. Just do your best to focus on your kids more than anything else.

They don’t need the best clothes or most fabulous toys that money can buy when they know they have you.

3. Stay Guilt-Free

Most parents tend to feel guilty when it comes to the children, regardless of the situation.

Well, you need to ease up and let go of that guilt because there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Something has to give, especially when you are the only one raising your kids.

Don’t get sucked into feeling guilty because you can’t do everything on your own. Yes, you may miss some games. Yes, your child cannot have whatever they want all the time. But this is life, and it is not always fair. Although it is sad, it is not the end of the world.

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If your child had a choice, they will choose their parent over any video game or material item any day of the week. Hence, you should not entertain guilt feelings anymore. Stay focused on the importance of your relationship and the fact that you are trying your mightiest to be a great parent and provider.

4. Have a Positive Attitude

Our children feed off of our emotions. The number one role model for a child is their parent. Therefore, parents must be conscious of their attitude and approach toward life.

Life will get complicated, and there will be bumps along the way. An old saying goes like this: “Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% our reaction.”

Say, you find out that your bonus from work is not what you expected it to be. You will have to alter your vacation plans because of that and break the news to your kid. One positive way to react to the situation is by saying, “That’s okay! At least we still get to go on vacation somewhere that’s on our bucket list. Perhaps we can visit the other place next year.”

If we choose to react to challenges positively, we are a good role model for our child. Keep the attitude positive so that your child can emulate your attitude.

Try these 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude.

5. Develop a Support System

As mentioned above, single parents can ask for assistance from extended family, friends, church, community, and other people on the same boat. Some organizations like Single & Parenting helps provide support and information to single parents, for instance.[4] If you visit their website, you can enter your location to find a support group near you.

6. Keep a Schedule

Children perform best when they are following a schedule. When lives become uncertain or unpredictable, it can be scary for kids and possibly cause anxiety.

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To best help our children, we should strive to offer structure by creating a daily routine that gives them security and predictability. Something as simple as setting up wake-up time and bedtime can improve their sleep patterns. Other helpful practices include sitting down together for dinner every night and scheduling hours for homework and studies after school.

7. Take Care of Yourself

Self-care

is essential for parents, single or not. However, single parents often forget me-time because they have too much to do in life. What they don’t realize is that prioritizing yourself regularly can make you feel refreshed.

The self-care methods you pick can only be activities that feed the mind, soul, and body positively. Say, you can get some exercise during the week and attend religious services.

By taking care of yourself, you can provide the best care for your child, too.

Final Thoughts

If you have recently become a single parent, then life is changing for both you and your child(ren).

Don’t allow the situation to make you lose sight of the critical things in your life. Maintain a fantastic attitude and focus on your new life with your child. Let go of your “what if’s” and ideological views of what your life is supposed to look like.

What matters right now is that you are with them. Love your child and do the best moving forward.

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More Thoughts on Becoming a Single Parent

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Magdalena Battles

A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

50 Single Mom Quotes On Staying Strong And Loving Parenting Tips from the Pros: How to Teach Children Not to Lie Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It) 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success Why Self-Compassion Is More Important Than Self-Esteem

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Published on July 22, 2021

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

    These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

    Get the recipe here.

    2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

      This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

      To try this recipe, go here.

      3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

        Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

        Check out the recipe here.

        4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

          Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

          5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

            This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

            Find the recipe here.

            6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

              The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

              Get the recipe for this dish here.

              7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                You can find the recipe here.

                8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                  Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                  Find the recipe here.

                  9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                    This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                      Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                      The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                      11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                        Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                        Find the recipe here.

                        12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                          This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                            Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                            This easy recipe can be found here.

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                            14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                              Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                              Find out how to make it here.

                              15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                The recipe can be found here.

                                16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                  This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                    Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                    Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                    18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                      Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                        Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                        20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                          Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                          Get the recipe here.

                                          Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                          Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                          Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                          1. Lose the Sugar

                                          Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                          2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                          Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                          3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                          Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                          When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                          Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                          Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                          More Healthy Eating Tips

                                          Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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