Life is never easy for a single parent family as it not only has to face daily life challenges, but also has to cope with the emotional disturbance. Losing a member of family irrespective of the circumstances is really difficult especially for teens. One person was there for them as an integral part of their life, and then suddenly he/she disappeared, be it due to divorce or death. Teens have a very hard time coping with this trauma. It is very common for teens to face insecurity, lack of trust and emotional stress after going through such an experience. The good news is that with good parenting skills and by following the right tips, you can once again bring smiles on the faces of your teenagers.
Remove Communication Gap
In a single parent family, a little extra effort is required to keep all members close. You pretty much have to start from scratch, so the very first thing that you must do as a single parent is to remove the communication gap. Lack of communication will make things worse not only for the teens, but also for you. It definitely is difficult for you to adjust to the new family dynamics, but now all responsibilities lies on your shoulders. Whether you are a single mother or single dad, you need to make sure that you know what the teens are really feeling. Openly talk about the divorce or death with them instead of avoiding the topic. Support them through the change. You must make them feel that you are always there for them no matter what happens. The teens may have fear in their minds that you will also leave them alone some day. You must assure and convince them that it won’t happen. The bottom line is that you need to keep talking with teens in order help them cope with this new life and what know how they are feeling during the whole transition period.
Think like Them
If you want to develop good parenting skills, you must start thinking like your teens. Think how you will feel and what you will do if you were in their place. This practice will help you in getting to know what they are going through. You have to give them time and space. And most importantly, you have to understand them in this critical situation. They may show strange reaction, but you have to tolerate their behavior as they are also going through a phase of trauma. Remember they too have suffered the same loss as you.
Don’t be an Extremist
Most of the single parents become an extremist after the divorce which is not a good practice. Some single parents become too lenient thinking that the teens are already struggling to cope with the tragedy so they stop imposing any types of restrictions on them. On the other hand, some parents become extremely strict in order to discourage teens from asking questions they are not ready or willing to answer. Both these strategies are wrong as it will do more harm than benefit. So, do not be an extremist. Just deal with them like you used to deal before your family lost a member.