Children have physical, mental and emotional needs. It is relatively easy to see that children need food and shelter but understanding mental and emotional needs can be challenging because children don’t always know how to communicate their needs to us and we may often misinterpret their behavior.
As working single parents that have gone through a divorce, we might feel even more pressure to have our children grow up with a healthy self-esteem, positive outlook on life and good mental and emotional health. Life can be overwhelming at times as a single parent, and it is easy to let things slip through the cracks when it comes to our children.
The most important thing working parents can do is to show children unconditional love. They are adjusting during times of separation and change and may not be used to both parents working and especially living in separate households. This period of adjustment is going to require patience, love, and understanding.
Communication plays a major role in our day to day lives and it can be tempting to come home from a long day’s work and shut down. However, it is imperative that you make time each day to talk to your children, listen to their feelings and find out what is going on in their lives. Don’t be afraid to share your emotions and feelings with them, but don’t burden them with adult problems.
Children fear many things, often the unknown and the imaginary. You should be patient and loving during this time and make a point to provide them with a safe and secure environment while addressing their concerns.
Encourage your children to get physically active, to go outside and play. Video games and T.V. make for a nice distraction while making dinner but they need to interact with other children and learn how exercise and play help them live healthy lives. Consider involving your children in after-school activities especially if they are home alone after school.
Children need to be nurtured and disciplined. Be firm, consistent and realistic with what you expect from them. Teach your children self-control, build their confidence and help them set realistic goals.
As children get older, it is almost inevitable that they will spend some time alone at home after school. Take a minute to call them from the office and let them know that you are thinking of them.
If you are struggling with pulling things together after divorce or if you notice your child’s mental health deteriorating it is a good idea to seek professional help.