According to the Census Report, a total of 12.5 million children live with a single mother. With July being National Make A Difference To Children month, millions of single mothers may be asking themselves how do you handle parenting alongside work and ensure that your children are being taught all the important life lessons, allowing each child to feel seen, feel loved, and most importantly, feel set up for success? How do you communicate with your child as a single parent?
“Never shut them down if they bring something to you that is out of the ordinary or feels weird as a parent to discuss.”
As a single black mom to three grown young men, Dr. Sonja Stribling knows firsthand through personal experience what it takes to raise children on her own while juggling the success of a budding business empire. To make a difference in your life, here are some tips from Dr. Stribling on how to raise successful children as a single parent:
Keep Lines Of Communication Open
Never shut them down if they bring something to you that is out of the ordinary or feels weird as a parent to discuss. They are growing up in a completely different time and environment than you did and their experiences will be different. “Never be surprised by anything they say, or make them feel weird about their feelings, about their friends, or whatever they need advice on.”
Encourage Children To Bring Their Friends Over
Allow the friends around a little more than you would or might like. “You can see who they are hanging out with, see who the friends are as they grow, and most importantly have conversations with the friends and children in front of each of you to ensure that you know your child is hanging out with the right group.”
Speak Their Language To Start Difficult Conversations
As my kids say to their friends “what’s good?” Use some of their verbiages to ease your kids into conversations and questions. “My son will actually say to me ‘Mom I need you to tap in’ when he needs some advice. Other times I’ll approach him and ask ‘Where does mom need to tap in?’ Ask about their relationships and encourage them to speak freely as nothing is off-limits. This will build trust and ensure they are comfortable talking to you about anything at any time.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Don’t be afraid to dive deeper into conversations to communicate with your child as a single parent. Make sure you ask open-ended questions to allow your child to express themselves, and not just give you a simple yes or no answer. Actively listen, and allow them the chance to speak from their heart. Use questions like “how does that make you feel, what do you want to be different, tell me more…” You can use open-ended questions to check in on other parental relationships.
Check-in On Other Parental Relationships
Ask your child if they have spoken to their dad lately? This is a simple question to ask without prying into their relationship. If they don’t have a relationship with their other parent and it would be healthy for them to, encourage them to foster it. Don’t pry into their relationship and discussions (unless safety is a concern), but always ensure that they are fostering every relationship possible to teach them even more about strong communication as they grow up.
We want to hear from you. If you are a single-parent, comment below and help other parents learn from you about how you communicate with your child as a single parent.
Dr. SONJA STRIBLING is a keynote speaker, Transformation Specialist, and Influence Expert known as the General to Giants, and Best-Selling Author of The Divorce That Saved My Life. This retired Army Major, recipient of Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, National Speaker for the Think & Grow Rich The Legacy World Tour, and former TV Host on Bravo Network, now uses this training and experience to lead thousands to their victory in dominating in their space and using their inner power to ascend to their Next Level in life and business.