It’s not easy being a single parent in Dallas, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s vexing and it’s challenging. And it has always been this way, from one generation to the next, but perhaps, made even more challenging today in a world dominated by social media influence.
Raising a child is also challenging because while you are teaching your child the ways of the world, teaching him or her how to win in life and navigate social norms, you’re also trying to become the best version of yourself, perhaps by going back to school to get a degree, which is a bold, exciting, and exhausting venture. It’s a proactive step that will not only help you become a positive role model for your child but also give you the means to better provide for your family.
Here are three challenges that you might face as a single parent and some practical suggestions on how to deal with them:
Challenge #1: Drug or Alcohol Addiction
When you first find out that your child has been using drugs or has become addicted to alcohol, it’s something that you can’t ignore, but you also don’t exactly know what to do about it, either.
The first thing to do is to try to understand the reason for their behavior. Why are they vaping? Why did they turn to illegal drugs? What factors started their underage drinking? After you’ve got some perspective, it’s time to start the conversation and address their behavior. Since drug and alcohol addiction is a complex issue, work with a psychotherapist. If talk therapy is not enough, consider enrolling your child in a drug rehab program.
Challenge #2: Academic Failure
You know your child is bright and does not have any learning disabilities–you have plenty of evidence to back up your faith in this belief–but they are not doing at all well in school. Their issue, based on your conversation with their teacher, isn’t an inability to grasp what is going on in class, but a complete lack of motivation to excel in school.
Rather than ignoring this issue, hoping they’re just going through a phase, be proactive. Talk to them. Find out more about how and why they are struggling in school. Once you understand the situation more fully, reiterate the value of literacy in an increasingly more complex world. Also, clarify that you expect them to do well in school and in life. Although the value of an education and your high expectations may be obvious to both you and your child, it’s still important to spell things out. You’re expressing how much you care, and you’re moving the conversation in the right direction.
If this conversation goes nowhere, then figure out how you can provide more support. Perhaps it would help if you attended parent-teacher meetings. Perhaps offering them some online learning tips will help them catch up on subjects that they’ve fallen behind on.
Challenge #3: Lack of Motivation
Motivating your indifferent child may seem like an impossible task, but keep in mind that nobody enjoys feeling apathetic, listless, and bored. Your child is probably unmotivated because they feel discouraged and don’t have enough problem-solving skills to analyze their own behavior.
Don’t make the obvious mistake of trying to give a pep talk or threaten some unpleasant consequences. These displays of parental authority fail because they only increase resistance rather than reduce it. Instead, try to understand where they’re coming from. Remember, everyone is motivated by something–so find out what motivates your child. Once you know what motivates your child, turn that interest into something that will serve them well in life. For instance, a passion for video games could be a gateway to encouraging them to learn to code in school, which, of course, could lead to an illustrious career as a programmer.
Seek to Understand and Get Wise Counsel
All these problem-solving strategies have one thing in common: they focus on seeking to understand the problem first before proposing any solutions. You can help your child understand themselves better after you make the effort to understand them. Together you can work towards a solution.