3 Things Single Parents Of Teens Must Do To Keep Sane
No one ever claims being a single parent is easy and as single parents of teens you know this to especially be the case. In fact, media portrayals of single parenthood rarely glamourize it. Struggles with maintaining a balance between single life and raising a child are shown as harrowing experiences, as they should be. There is no way around it: being single parents of teens - especially a moody teen - is really hard.
People don’t set out to take on these challenges. They accept them, with as much dignity and grace as they are able. But it is a serious adjustment at every phase, from the beginning of single life, to the later years when our children have grown and have different needs.
Since there is no secret blueprint for navigating it all, we all have to do our best to make life simpler for ourselves. These three things are must-do steps for not only those single parents of teens but any parent living with teenagers.
Taking Care Of Numero Uno
Already you may be rolling your eyes. This is a very obvious tip; you have heard the adage a million times about not being able to take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. But are you following the advice? If you are like so many other parents out there, single or otherwise, probably not.
Taking care of yourself properly requires a holistic approach, covering physical, mental and emotional health. You have to make sure you are eating a healthy diet, sleeping enough, getting enough physical activity, relaxing, taking time for yourself, socializing with others, and reducing stress as much as possible.
You may find the thought of making so many changes overwhelming, which is understandable. Start by adding in one or two small changes, and working your way up a you master them.
For example, begin cooking in large batches once a week so you have healthy lunches for the next five or six days. Turn off all electrical screens an hour before bed to help you sleep better. Go for a walk with your family every evening after dinner. Or maybe just practice mindful meditation to begin letting go of stress through your day.
Spending Time With Other Adults
Do you remember being a kid and making friends with other children left and right? You could go to a playground and leave it having made a connection with half a dozen others who you swear you will be friends with forever, only to forget by the next day.
That same mentality is carried into teenage years. You see someone with a cool shirt across the room who happens to be your age. The next thing you know the two of you are inseparable for months. Making friends in your youth is effortless.
As an adult, you have probably lost that ability. Time and energy are more precious commodities in your older years, and so you are more selective in who you spend them on. Connections are harder to form, and friendships far and few between. So spending time with other adults may be a rare treat that doesn’t come often.
You should try and step out of your comfort zone and make those connections more often. Go on dates, even if they never lead to anything. Join up with others for the same activity or hobby. Make connections by joining websites like Meetup.com. Go out and speak to people.
It is crucial that you spend time with other adults in the same place of life as you are. Especially those who understand your story and can empathize. It will make your life richer, and make you a happier person (and parent) as a result.
Who knows, it may even make you better at communicating with your own teen.
Being a Super Parent
What? Being a super parent? Isn’t putting pressure on yourself to be perfect the opposite of what you need to do to keep sane? Well...yes, and no.
If you have ever been on Pinterest and seen the amazing projects that some parents have undertaken for their kids, or been on a family friendly blog and seen an incredible outing that they have gone on, you may feel very inadequate. Want to know a secret? They don’t do that all the time.
Anyone can be a super parent occasionally. It just takes one really fun day out with the kids, or one birthday party, or one act of spontaneity that your teen will remember. What makes it a benefit to you is that you will remember it, just like they will.
Being the super parent once in awhile is great for our self-esteem. It is a way to help combat the feelings of overwhelming insecurity and uncertainty that are par the course for all parents, single or not. Plus, it can help you and your teen come together every so often, which anyone with a teenager can tell you is hard to do.
Carve out some time every few months to do something really cool with your family. Maybe it is something as simple as giving them a day off of school to sweep them off for lunch and a movie. Or it could be a weekend trip up in the mountains for surprise snowboarding. Heck, you could merely resolve to have coffee every morning with your teen before they head to school, and you head to work. It is simple, and yet an adult activity they can appreciate.
Being a super parent is easy and rewarding, for both of you.
Keep Sane In The Middle Of Chaos!
A single parent’s work is never done, and when there are teenagers in the house it can be especially chaotic. Beyond the three things above, you can use any number of methods to get through it. Enjoy a personal hobby or craft. Keep active in your local or religious community. Spend time with extended family. Have a glass of wine.
The important thing is that you are taking care of yourself. Only you know the best way to do that.
About the Author:
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin