Getting Through to Anybody: Raising your Child

Getting Through to Anybody: Raising your Child

Single Parenting: After Divorce, Are You Raising your Child to Succeed or Fail?

Q: I just got divorced, and now I’m a single parent. How do I make certain I’m a good parent and that I’m raising my child to be successful?

A: Every time your child comes up against an obstacle in life, they look to you. Divorced or not, here are some tips to know that you are raising a child who will be successful in life. If when they do:

1. You coddle them, they won’t learn to do it for themselves.
Their peers that do will pass them by. They will grow up looking to be bailed out and end up lost.

2. You yell at them and tell them it’s their fault, they’ll cover their fear and hurt with anger.
They will grow up blaming others and end up bitter. You ignore them. They will not take chances. They grow up indecisive and end up empty with little to show for their lives.

3. If you connect with them, they will end up with the best life possible.
They will feel less alone and be able to solve their own problems and grow up determined.

One of the best ways to avoid responding in the first three ways is to:

A. Pause before you react to your child
B. Think of a loving mentor, parent, relative, friend, teacher, coach or boss who responded to you in the supportive way above.
C. Then honor that person by responding to your child the way they did to you.

One of the best ways to connect with and support your child after they hit that obstacle and turn to you is to:

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Think of the feeling they are most likely to be having and say to them: “I know you’re upset (this lets them know you feel it’s okay for them to be upset). Are you feeling more angry, frustrated, hurt, disappointed, afraid or something else?” It’s bound to be one of those. Let them tell you whichever it is. Pause, look at them and then say: “How angry (or frustrated, hurt, disappointed, afraid or whatever) are you?”

When you do that, they will know they have your undivided attention, they’ll feel that you understand, they’ll feel less alone. They may cry with relief, and then they’ll exhale. It’s at that point that their mind will open up, and they’ll be more receptive to reassurance and to brainstorming with you about a solution. If you rush in before they get to exhale, and before they drain …into the safety of the relationship with you, they may hear your reassurance and suggestions, but they will not hold onto it.

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