Raising Children Alone
The reason those of us on staff in Family Ministries come to work every day comes from a place that hopes to help and inspire families to be all they can be, to the Glory of God. Because of this hope, we are always looking for ways to do this within the context of where you, a unique family in your own right, might find yourself.
In the search, Pastor Barry Oram has come across a piece of literature from Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis TN that focuses on the unique issues faced by those who are parenting children alone. With their permission we want to share their insights and begin to walk with you as you raise your children alone, to the Glory of God.
Raising Children Alone
One of life’s greatest blessings and sources of joy is being called somebody’s parent. But if you find yourself raising children alone, you know better than anyone else that parenting is a job meant for two. That’s why James Dobson calls single parenting “the roughest job in the universe.” Few understand the loneliness and emotional hurt many single parents carry or how exhausting the role can be. So, how can you be hopeful and experience joyful success as a parent despite more challenging circumstances?
Priority One: Keep your child’s best in mind
Every parent is called to lay aside his or her own interests for their children. That calling takes extra commitment hen you’re going it alone. You may still be working through the painful circumstances that led to becoming a solo parent, or dealing with an ex-spouse who is a negative influence on the children, or who tries to turn them against you to cause even fore pain.
Regardless of the emotions your specific circumstances may be causing, you are called to place your child’s needs above your own. Give them as much stability and nurturing as possible within your limitations – even when they don’t seem to appreciate the sacrifice you’re making. Be assured, the Lord receives your selfless caring as an act of worship to Him because it reflects the spirit of Christ who “made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2).
Being a servant includes doing your best to maintain a Christ-like attitude when you go through the headaches of court appointments, seeing your ex with a new romantic interest, juggling financial challenges, maintaining a home or having people ask awkward questions about your family.
Putting your children first is also if you don’t have custody – if you are limited to small window of time together. Those times are your opportunity to show love and influence and not to get caught up in disagreements over parenting differences. In your visitation, in your support and all other connections, your first priority is serving the needs of your children.
Priority Two: Choose Good Relationships
Few people understand the load you carry. You’re likely to be under stress with extra work and the constant demands of parenting. You know how your loneliness and desire to be loved can lead you toward relationships with the opposite sex that may be harmful, only adding to the uncertainly and anxiety. Be very cautious about dating during this season of life. You want healthy Christian friendships that can help you face this emotional maze and make wise decisions through it all. You need to be a part of a community of believers committed to forgiveness, redemption, and growth. Your children also need the support and modeling of other Christians. God can make your next chapter better than the last.
Priority 3: Become Intentional
Be careful not to see yourself as a “second class” parent. Raising children alone is harder, but the goal is the same for you as it is for two parent families – to nurture Christian faith and values in your children. That means becoming intentional about building a strong relationship, modeling godly character and creating occasions for meaningful interaction about life’s most important truths. Remember, it is no accident that God gave you the blessing of children. He also is eager to give you the grace to be the parent they need.
©2008 Inkling Innovations
Read More About It:
We recommend the following books as well. We trust you will find them helpful.
Successful Single Parenting by Gary Richmond, a single parent pastor provides practical help and biblical principles for balancing your needs with those of your children.
Single Parenting the Works by Ken Lehman – this book tackles issues such as building stability in your children, forgiveness and developing self-esteem in kids.
My Single Mom Life by Angela Thomas – Angela brings honesty, humour and encouragement in walking through single parenthood.
Ways to Connect:
Celebrate Recovery – Join others as they journey towards hope and healing on Friday nights starting with supper at 6pm. CR Child Care and Celebration Place for kids 0 to 12.The Landing for teens 13 – 17.
Single Moms Supper – Once a month, single moms meet to be encouraged and enjoy meal with other single moms. Child care is provided. To register or for more information, please email LaurieW@CrossRoadsChurch.Ca
Register for a Group – Check out our web page to see what’s new in Groups! There are lots of ways to connect and we think meeting in small groups is a great way to do it.