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Single Parent Basics
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You become so strong because you are both mother and father in a lot of ways,
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I think there are a lot of benefits to being a single parent. I mean I've been one for a long time but I would say that you become so strong because you are both mother and father in a lot of ways, without losing your femininity. But you gain this strength that you can pretty much do anything. And as long as you have the support so that you feel you like you are not alone - I can't emphasize that enough - there is just this strong "I am woman, hear me roar" kind of thing that happens. And the best thing is you can find a lot of joy in being a single parent as well. It's not just the old "woe is me", like in the olden days when there weren't as many single parent households.
The challenges of being a single parent are the juggling act. A lot of people have to rethink their finances because it's not the same as when they worked as a single. Finding time for yourself is really important no matter what it is, whether it's going to a movie, having a child call up or you exchange with another single mom, so that you have some time off. Time off is really important that's why they put the mask on you on the airplane, so you take care of yourself first. Same thing, you want to make sure that you're not stressed out and you've time for you. And also just making sure that your child has resources, too, whether it's a therapist or something like that so that they can be healthy through the transition as well.
I don't know if there is just one key. There's probably a lot of keys, but mostly just knowing that you can do it, and being there for your child. Other factors include getting help when you need it and knowing that you are not alone. That's really important. I think that 62% of all parents are single now, so it's not the old minority; we're almost a majority now, so just knowing that you are not alone and you can handle anything.
I believe single parenting changes a lot depending upon the age of the child. My son now is 17, so I'm still his mother but I'm more like a coach or a mentor and we are more roommates situation with rules and boundaries. But when your child is younger, it's really different, you know, and I know that a lot of single parents get like big brother
When you suddenly become a single parent and you really didn't have time to plan it, the first thing I would say is jump on the internet, look for research groups, support groups, talk to your school teachers, the principal, and guidance counsellors are amazing. Let them know what happened because they are actually joint custody with your child, they have your child at school during the day and you have your child on weekends and at night, so it's really important to talk to the teacher, talk to the counsellor and let them know for the child's sake what's going on. And then as far as you, find support, go to a group, I would get in a support group right away. Talk to your preacher, your Rabbi, and just get support, one on one or in a group, and that will really, really, really help because it's a shock to your system, it's a death of a dream and you need help to kind of pull through it all.
Some of the do's and don'ts regarding custody with your child is, firstly, don't let your child be a messenger. Don't give your child the support check for your ex. Don't give your child a message for your ex. Don't make your child be the go between between the two homes, it's just too damaging. Another do is even if you're angry, just compromise with your ex. Keep in mind the best for the child, that's your motto. When your ex upsets you or doesn't pay for something that they said they would pay, you know what, just write it down, keep track of it, but don't make it an issue. Because a lot of times what happens is people act out after divorce, and they'll do anything they can like little kids. Sometimes the child is the grown-up in the whole family unit. You want to diffuse it, you don't want to keep it going because the child is the one that suffers.
There are so many benefits of keeping a journal as a single parent. I mean first of all, you get to keep track of your emotions. You get the stress out of your body. You can even incorporate all the cool things your child did or said, your emotions, even, you know, what your ex did or said. It can be wins, it can be losses, it can be sadness. But it's a journal, a daily journal of you sitting down with yourself and getting to know who you are during this process. You can even use your journal, or a calendar, for legal purposes. Keeping track of when the child is brought back late, when support isn't paid, when they don't pay half of a legal expense. When something happens that you need to document legally, you write it down. That way, you can let go of it and then you keep track of it. Because when it comes time to modify papers or do anything like that, you'll have all the dates and everything, which normally you wouldn't remember.
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