Advice on Raising Girls for Single Mothers
Mothers and daughters have a sustaining bond that is unlike any other. For a single mother, the additional responsibility of fulfilling both father and mother duties makes the role significantly more challenging. Daughters expect support and nurturing from a mother but also require the discipline traditionally provided by a father figure. It is a balancing act that can inspire a single mother to rise to the occasion given she has access to the resources that can make it all possible.
The Guilt Trip
Girls have a way of holding their mothers accountable for actions for which they are not ready to be responsible. If something goes wrong, it is easiest to blame mom than to see and correct her own mistakes. For mothers raising a girl on her own, it is a double whammy. Not only is she wrong for failing to fix everything but mom caused the problems by failing to be dad. This is obviously not something that can be fixed like a broken bicycle. Falling into a trap of guilt will do nothing to better the relationship or the situation of the moment. Staying healthy to keep your family healthy while doing your best is what you are here to do. Just because you can't spoil her by giving her everything she wants, doesn't mean that your love isn't sufficient.
Boys to Men
There are different schools of thought on dating for a single parent. Some think women should focus on raising children and put off dating, while others believe it is perfectly healthy to have the benefit of a social life as a single parent. Take the time to get to know a potential suitor before having him over or in the company of children. Does this person have a good relationship with his own children? If no children, does he want any in the future? Ask these questions and more so you know going into the relationship if the two of you are really on the same page.
Think Like a Lady
Girls and boys are more alike than not when they are young. Their minds are full of play and discovery. Guidance and socialization over the years is what gives them identities as male and female. When it comes to daughters, single mothers want their daughters to be prepared for anything--even life as a single woman--but don't let a failed relationship spoil the idea of marriage for your daughter. She will make her own path and you are simply a guide in the process, not a spoiler. Rather, keep young girls busy in activities that are outside of school such as dance class, Girl Scouts, or science camp. These outlets allow for socialization and confidence building that all girls need and especially so for those who may have issues with self-esteem.
Seek out a positive male role model (or more than one), whether it be granddad or an uncle, to invite to your daughter's special events or ceremonies such as father-daughter dances. According to InsightNews.com, research has shown that girls with reliable males in their lives are less likely to engage in risky behavior than those who do not have a positive male role model. Also, get familiar with your daughter's friends and their family members, so you know exactly who she's spending time with. Leave her only with friends and family members that you know can be trusted. Many young women are taken advantage of by the people closest to them.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images