What would make a difference in your life as a single parent?

SPARC (Atlanta, GA) and Conchetta House (Olympia, Washington) are working on a project to benefit single parents across the nation. One aspect of the project is to make recommendations for programs and policies that will improve our lives and that of our children. We need your help.

Parents as Friends

There is a growing trend among parenting experts that encourages parents to befriend their children. The benefit of this philosophy is that children will feel that their parents are on their side and will be more likely to respond positively to correction. Traditional parenting methods suggest that parents maintain a more authoritative role in their children’s lives. Is it possible for parents to be their children’s friend? Do they have to sacrifice a certain amount of authority in exchange for friendship? Is that in fact, in their children’s best interest? Can you ride the line of friend and authority figure without sacrificing either?

Talking Through Tough Topics

Sex. Drugs. Alcohol. Violence. Aids. Relationships. All tough topics but important ones that must be discussed with our children. How do we approach these difficult topics and handle them in an age appropriate manner?

Family Night

“Back in the day” there was no such thing as “Family Night” because just about every night was family night. Before electricity became the norm, families gathered around the table in the evening by candlelight. After television was invented, families began to gather around the one television set they owned in the evenings to watch shows together. Now that technology has granted us access to just about everything, we now find access to our families to be a challenge.

The Good Listener

Regardless of the love you and your child have for each other, unless you both develop good communication skills, your relationship will not be as strong as it could be.

Single Mothers Raising Sons: Shaping His Character Part I

The crisis facing our boys today is the subject of much debate. Since a large number of them are being raised by single mothers, this crisis is close to a single mother’s heart. I have faced many single mothers of sons and the same frustrated sentiment seems to echo – I don’t know what’s wrong with him! The same boys that were such loving creatures what seems like just yesterday are now getting into trouble at school, failing or at risk of academic failure, disrespecting their mothers and showing no signs of the lovable little boys they once were. While their mothers are at a loss, answers must still be found.

Single Moms Raising Sons: Are Schools Failing Our Sons?

“The culture of schools, especially for young children, is much more feminine than masculine. There are almost no male early childhood educators. Many teachers of young children find boys’ interests in violence, gross things, and bodily functions to be boring or stupid. We need to recognize that many of us have ‘internal prejudices’ against these interests. Just as we used to ask ourselves in the ’70s, ‘In what ways am I being sexist in my treatment of girls?’ we now have to ask, ‘In what ways are we disapproving of boys’ interests in our classrooms?'”

Single Dads Raising Daughters: What A Girl Wants

Dads, you have a great deal of influence over the healthy development of your daughters. You have the power to influence their self esteem, their sense of independence and their healthy body image. With this much influence, what does your daughter need from you to develop to her fullest potential?

A Comprehensive Approach to Discipline – Part III: Eliminate Negative Behavior

Of all of the consequences that can be applied when negative behaviors appear, the most important aspect of any plan must use consistency as its foundation. If children are not sure that they will face a consequence for misbehaving, they could be tempted to “roll the dice” and see what happens. It is only when they are sure that the first time and every time they show the behavior that they will face a consequence will your disciplinary plan have any meaning.

A Comprehensive Approach to Discipline – Part II: Encourage Appropriate Behavior

It is important to remember that positive reinforcement will not eliminate the need for providing consequences for negative behavior. It is to be used as part of an overall comprehensive plan for consistent and effective discipline for the overall health and strength of your family.

A Comprehensive Approach to Discipline – Part 1: Build The Relationship

Every moment between you and your child will not be full of hugs and kisses, especially moments that involve discipline. However, if the relationship between you and your child is intact, you will be able to weather any storm.

Why Take A Parenting Class?

A popular stance is — either you are a good parent or you are not. You cannot learn to be a good parent. Parents who have taken parenting classes, however would disagree. There is a great deal of value in taking a parenting class, no matter your situation.

I Hear You Talking…

Let’s be real. Sometimes as single parents, we find ourselves out of time. It also seems like sometimes our children can pick the absolute worst times to talk. As busy, tired, and overwhelmed as we are, it is still important to remember that children, all children, need to know they are listened to. It’s even more important for them to know that we are listening.

Get/Stay Engaged in Your Child’s Education

Guilt becomes a familiar emotion as the school year slides by with well intentioned thoughts but unfulfilled actions of being more involved this year, being more active in education, joining the PTA, joining your child on at least one field trip, volunteering for at least one book fair or bake sale, attending more athletic events, attending open house, parent teacher conferences, school board meetings and the list goes on and on. Where does one find the time to do all of this?