Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood

  The title may be funny, but I have seen the results of not teaching your kids independence early.  As a coach, I work with single moms whose kids have grown up but not developed the emotional or financial strength to leave home.  As a mom, it can be hard to let your kids grow up and test their independence.  When your children are young, they depend on you for their every need. It can be difficult for you to sit back and watch them develop their own independence. But when you allow your child to make their own mistakes and learn life lessons early, they will grow into happy and healthy adults.

The best thing you can do is find a balance between letting them do what they want and gradual independence because you do not want to allow your child too much independence too early. You want to be able to watch your child develop independence from the sidelines so you can step in when needed. “One of your most important goals as a parent is to raise children who become independent and self-reliant people.”

Consider these tips as you nudge your child towards an independent life:

Let them make choices. While you do not want your children making all their life’s decisions, it is essential to allow them to make confident choices from time to time. Even as young toddlers, you can give them opportunities to choose and develop independence.

  • Let them pick some family activities.
  • Let them choose toys and pursue their own hobbies.
  • Allow them to choose their clothes if their choices are appropriate.

Work on social skills. A large part of independence is learning how to effectively communicate. Improper communication skills can hold your child back. Children of all ages can work on developing better social skills.

  • Reinforce the idea of sharing with young children.
    • Teach your children appropriate ways to make friends.
    • Teach them how to be polite and to use good manners.

These are all activities that can be done as a family. 

Life lessons. It is always a good idea to work on life lessons. This can be done early as well. Your children do not need you to treat them as if you will always be there to take care of their every need. While you should still be there for them emotionally, teach them that you will not solve every problem for them.

  • Assign age-appropriate chores to your children.
  • Provide them with rewards for a job well done.
  • Teach your children time management and problem-solving skills.

When Your Children Are Young

When you create a good learning environment for your children right from the beginning, they will start to develop independence on their own. They will learn to crawl to you and walk to you.

It is important to give them opportunities to learn on their own early on. If they attend daycare, they will work on these skills during the day while you are at work. If not, it might be a good idea to attend a local playgroup so your child can get to know others their age.

During these opportunities, let them do as they please while you watch from the sidelines. Let them play and only step in when needed. If your child begins to fight with another child over a toy, feel free to step in momentarily to reinforce the idea of sharing.

Whenever your child shows positive social skills, reward them for their good behavior.

When Your Child Is Older

Older children present a different set of parenting requirements. You might be scared as they face life’s tough decisions, but in the end, you need to trust that they will make the right choices. After all, you cannot make decisions for them, but you will probably realize that your kids are smarter than you think! When my son Matt was about 14, I was super frightened to let him go to a party with his friends.  He said, “mom, at some point, you are going to have to trust that what you taught us stuck with us.”  This is my advice mom, in these circumstances, all you can do is work to keep communication lines open. As your children are growing up, have tough conversations with them and let them know that you can be relied upon for your love and support.

Trust your children but monitor them closely if you do have suspicions of harmful activities. You should not encroach on their personal space, but there are still things you can do, such as keep track of their online activities and ask them where they are going, with whom, and when they will be back. Set rules and curfews to help them make good choices.

Follow these tips, and you will be rewarded with joy and pride as your children grow into capable, confident adults. And you will not have to worry about them setting up camp in your basement.  You can thank me later! 😊

With Love and Peace,

Renee

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If you are a parent, at some point, you will be looking into the yelling disgruntled face of your teen, wondering what happened to that sweet little baby you gave birth to; you remember when they were little and happy to do just about anything for a sticker or a kind word. Now they are older, and you must try harder to motivate them to do anything homework, chores, get to bed on time.

You may become frustrated with teens who play video games for hours but avoid doing homework and chores. The situation can be even more challenging now that COVID-19 limits opportunities for you and your family to participate in socializing and extracurricular activities.

Before you enter another screaming match or label your teen as lazy, try to understand their perspective and see if any of these ideas may motivate your teen and reduce the conflict in your home.  

Review the Obstacles to Motivating Your Teen:

Make sleep a priority. Teens are tired much of the time due to sleep deprivation. According to the Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reasons, teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.  If they do not get enough sleep, it can make it difficult to wake up early for school. Try enforcing consistent bedtimes and limiting screen time at night.

Upgrade their diet. Your family’s eating habits could be causing fatigue too. Avoid junk food that is high in unhealthy fats and sugar. Try to serve balanced meals and nutritious snacks. They can fight dehydration by drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables.

Test for learning disabilities. Many students struggle due to undiagnosed learning disabilities. Ensure that your child receives recommended tests. Work with their school to arrange any special accommodations they will need in the classroom or through remote learning.

Check hearing and vision. If your child’s grades drop, they may have trouble seeing the chalkboard or hearing the teacher. Take care of their eyes and ears with regular examinations. Talk about the dangers of listening to loud music.

Treat depression and anxiety. Sudden or dramatic increases in listlessness and withdrawal could be symptoms of depression and anxiety. Talk with your family doctor about your concerns.

Strategies To Incorporate in Your Parenting Toolbox to Help Motivate Your Teen:

Build confidence. Your teen will be more prepared to motivate themselves if you boost their confidence and self-esteem. Be generous with praise and help them to recognize their core strengths.

Work as a team. Remember that you are on the same side. Search for common goals that you can pursue together. Make sure that your teen knows and understands the rewards and consequences of their actions.  This is an excellent time for the two of you to sit and have a quiet conversation when no one is angry. 
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Negotiate and compromise.  I know you have heard the term, pick your battles.  There will be times when your teen will have different priorities than you. They might be more enthusiastic about completing their term paper if you promise to give them driving lessons over the weekend.

Offer choices.  As parents, we want to protect our kids from bad decisions; before you say know, listen to their side, and gently offer alternative options to their most challenging ideas.   Your teen is more likely to cooperate when they can approach tasks in their own way. Let them decide how to clean their room, do their homework, or budget their allowance.

Use Humor: If you have a long-running conflict over dress codes and curfews, humor may dissolve the tension. Share a funny story about something similar that happened during your own teenage years.  Find a balance between setting boundaries and exerting excessive pressure. Teens may lose motivation if they feel like your expectations are too high. I remember having a conversation with my son Matt; I was trying to explain to him that he had the potential to be a straight-A student that he could be a leader in his class. To which he responded, ‘maybe I don’t want to be a leader.” I had to learn how to praise him for trying instead of demanding that he wins every time.

Keep your cool.   Turn off the “parent alarm.” Listen without judgment and reaction. When your son says, “Mom, I met this girl,” and you react by saying, “You’re too young to date,” that instinctual alarm prevented you from being able to hold a meaningful discussion on healthy sexuality.  Remember that You in this relationship for a lifetime do not want the closeness you share marred by a temporary disagreement. Speak to each other with respect and show compassion as they try to cope with their developmental changes. Step away and take a break if you need to regain your composure.

I know that motivating your teen can be difficult, especially as a single mom trying to navigate other things concerning your household like finances, employment, visitation.  However, encouraging your teen is an ongoing process. You may need to repeat the same message several times; do not be afraid to experiment with different approaches. The way your parents raised you may not work for your teen.  Your strength will come from focusing on your progress, not the occasional setback.

As difficult as it seems while you are raising them, you are the best person to help your child develop the fundamental motivation and other life skills they will need to fulfill their dreams. Your teen wants to do well, they want to please you and enjoy your support and guidance even when they do not act like it, and with the right tools, you are the best teacher for this critical and life-changing job.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

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A couple of weeks after I married my ex-husband, my mother told me to start saving a little bit of my own money.  “You never know when you will need it,” she said.  My best girlfriend echoed her sentiments; she said, “I don’t care if you call it a vacation fund or a shoe fund, just save some money for yourself.”  To which I replied to both, I am not planning on getting a divorce ever.  Fast forward 20 years later, I am leaving our family home with five kids and a miniature schnauzer named Lily in tow.  I had $1.50 in my purse. My divorce took two years to complete, and it was months before my ex- paid any child or spousal support. 

     I know that no one gets married or starts living together with the expectation of getting divorced someday. However,  there are nearly 2400 divorces every day in the United States.    The ugly truth is that divorce affects every area of your life, including your financial health, and can result in significant challenges for you and your new single-parent household. Maybe you and your ex never married but lived together and co-mingled your assets. These tips will help you as well.

If you are struggling through a divorce or break-up, there are several things you can do to take control of your finances and

minimize the adverse effects.

          For example, with investments, it is usually better to divide them and sign them over instead of selling them and splitting the money; selling them can generate considerable fees and taxes. If you go to court, the courts may order the portfolio sold, making you liable for the fees and taxes.  This happened to me.  After my divorce, I was stuck paying taxes on rental properties that my ex-husband and I purchased together.  When the dust settles, you will probablybe lesswell-off financially than you were before the divorce or break-up. As a single mom, there are steps you can take to ensure a firmer financial foundation for you and your family. 

     Before the lawyers get involved.  Try coming to a mutual agreement on how to divide your assets.  Of course, this depends on the amount of animosity between you and your soon to be ex.  It can be financially beneficial to you both to come to an agreement before the lawyers get involved.

Once the legal system is formally involved, the process is much more expensive and financially and emotionally draining.

     Try mediation. Mediation can be a money-saving alternative to the courts. This way, everything is a process of give and take, agreed upon under the guidance of an unbiased 3rd party. You can opt for methods of dividing the assets that are financially best for both of you. A meditator can also help with child custody and walk you through the child support process.

(Want tips on how to create a budget, find school funding opportunities, or community assistance?   Download the Single Mom’s Finance Success Guide-It’s Free!)

     Review your whole financial picture.   Cancel any joint bank accounts or joint credit cards.  Be sure to review your life insurance and other insurance policies and make changes to your beneficiaries.  Also, make sure that you have enough insurance to cover your home, car, and health.  A massive bill in any one of these areas could wipe out your savings in one fell swoop.

     Live within your means.   When I was married, I enjoyed shopping trips and spa days.  Of course, all of that ended once I got divorced.  Even my children lamented over how their shoe collection had greatly diminished after the divorce.  You will have to create a family budget and stick to it as best you can. If your children are old enough, get them involved.  You do not have to share all the particulars but explaining to them that there will be changes in your finances might help them understand that you are not just being mean when you tell them they cannot have a new toy or outfit.

     Do what it takes to get back on your feet Living within your means may require you to downsize your lifestyle, at least temporarily, you may need to rent or purchase a smaller home/apartment or get a second job to make ends meet.   Establish your necessary income. How much money will you need each month to take care of your expenses and live comfortably?  You would be surprised at how many women I work with do not have a number in mind.  This kind of thinking will leave you living paycheck to paycheck instead of taking action to increase your income.

     Do not be shy about contacting your family and friends to let them know you are looking for a job or an opportunity to make extra income. Network on social websites as well, such as LinkedIn. Do not be afraid to go back to school.  There are grants and scholarship opportunities available in male-dominated fields like construction or technology.  These jobs pay well and allow for upward movement, which could mean raises and better benefits.

Plan.   The important thing is that you must have a financial plan.  You may be trying to create this while dealing with the heartbreak of your divorce or break-up. But it must be done!  Write it down and review it often.   Your plan should include your income, assets, expenses, and current insurance plans.  This is a great time to re-evaluate your career path.  Your plan should be fluid and change as your children grow and your lifestyle changes.

Getting a divorce or going through a break-up can be time-consuming and overwhelming.  It can take over your thoughts, leaving you unprepared for the aftermath.  You must take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you can be a support for your kids.  They are looking at you and how you handle this situation, which will determine how they can process the changes in their lives.  Get help from your family and friends or a professional therapist or coach to process your own feelings.  Because trying to deal with it all on your own is not only mentally devastating, but it could also stunt your healing progress.

Share this post with someone you love.  Until next week

With Peace and Love,

Coach Renee

 (Want tips on how to create a budget, find school funding opportunities, or community assistance?   Download the Single Mom’s Finance Success Guide-It’s Free!)

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

Being the mom to three boys and two girls, I know firsthand that both genders can suffer from self-esteem and self-confidence issues. However, I realized that my girls tended to have more challenges in these areas.  Research shows that girls are much more likely to develop eating disorders. They are more likely to self-harm when stressed or depressed. Also, girls think about and attempt suicide at twice the rate of boys of the same age.

Want to teach your daughter the wonders of self-love?  Download this free resource: The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

While all children need high levels of self-esteem and confidence, many girls are especially at risk.  The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have had a profound effect on our young women’s mental health and wellness.  “According to the mental health charity, Mind 68% of young people have said their mental health got worse during the lockdown.”

How can you help your daughter protect herself from mental health downturns and understand how the changes her body and mind are going through during her teen years will affect her self-esteem and the value she places on herself? 

Self-esteem is based on self-concept, so it is vital to help your daughter develop a healthy one; her self-concept is based on how she views herself and is created through her beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.  Your words, support, and the closeness of your relationship will affect these three areas.

“The news about girls these days isn’t good. As teen years approach, many confident girls turn into sullen shells. Self-esteem plummets. Friends turn on each other. And the mysteries of social networking make everything scarier.”   Today’s blog will help you navigate this tumultuous and beautiful journey you and your daughter are about to travel.

Help your daughter have a happy and emotionally healthy life:

Determine what she is good at and help her develop that skill. Everyone feels good about themselves when they do something they are good at; the better you are at it; it makes you feel unique and capable.

As her mom, you already have a good idea of your daughter’s likes and strengths. From those items, sit together and identify something that your daughter loves to do and help her excel at it. Her confidence and self-esteem will soar.

Sign her up for team sports. Team sports have been shown to benefit girls by making them more confident. Team sports are a great way to learn new skills, make new friends, and build a social circle. I signed my girls up for the same sports as my boys.  They both played soccer, baseball, took karate classes, and competed in karate tournaments.  They both settled on basketball and worked on their skills to earn full college scholarships.

Winning and learning how to handle defeat are both great for her self-esteem and confidence.

Ensure that your daughter understands that your love is not conditional. Every child needs to know without a doubt that they are loved regardless of their choices or success. Tell her often, even if she pretends like it does not matter.

Let her have her own style. Allow your daughter to have her own unique style. This includes things like music, hair, and clothing. While her choices might not match your own, finding an identity can create emotional stability. This foundation can be an excellent footing for self-esteem and confidence.

Be a good example. Your daughter is always watching, even if she is not still listening. If she sees you negatively judging your body, this sends a negative message.  Fathers can also say inappropriate things about women that harm their girls. If this happens, gently remind her dad that his words can affect how your daughter thinks about herself.

Consider how your behavior and comments are interpreted by your daughter.

Be sure to praise her effort as well as her outcomes. It is not possible to be successful all the time, so focus on honoring your daughter’s actions. There are things your child simply will not be good at. It is counterproductive to be critical when your child did the best they could.

Teach her assertiveness. Confidence and self-esteem primarily come from the ability to influence and direct your own life. Without assertiveness, your child is subject to the whims of everyone around her. Assertiveness teaches your daughter that her opinion and wishes are important regardless of what others might think.

Encourage your daughter to try new things. New things can be a little scary. Overcoming that apprehension is a good thing. It also allows your daughter to add new activities, skills, and people to her life – all of which will boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Daughters often need a little more help and attention than boys do. If you are having severe issues with your child, seek out professional assistance immediately. It is worth the potential cost and discomfort. Check with your insurance for a referral or reach out to community mental health agencies; they will often see the family for free or on a sliding scale.

You have what it takes to help your daughter thrive into adulthood. Building self-esteem and confidence in your daughter is an important responsibility. But you are up for the task.  One more thing, if possible, spend time with your daughter alone; spending one-on-one time with her will make her feel important, closer to you, and boost her self-concept and self-esteem.  Pick something fun you both love and put it on the family’s calendar.

Do me a favor share this blog post with someone you love.  Until next week:

Wishing you Peace and Love,

Coach Renee

Want to teach your daughter the wonders of self-love?  Download this free resource: The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

Co-parenting children with your “ex” can be a complicated process. Your relationship has ended, and your emotions are high, but you still have a responsibility to take care of your kids together. Even when you are hurt, you must do what is best for the children, and co-parenting could be an excellent way to help your children adjust to their new normal.

Why Co-Parenting Is Better For Kids

Children love both of their parents, so they benefit from a united front:  

  • They feel more secure and enjoy a consistent parenting style. Your children will handle issues easier and be confident that they have both parents to rely on in challenging situations.
  • They also have an excellent example to follow for their own future relationships.

Try these strategies for successful co-parenting:

Separate your feelings from the kids. You will probably deal with a tremendous amount of pain, anger, and resentment after a separation or divorce. However, it is essential to put these feelings aside to take care of your kids.

  • It’s okay to deal with your feelings by getting therapy or talking to friends and family.
  • However, your children cannot be a substitute or miniature therapist. They also shouldn’t suffer and be isolated from your partner because you’re angry.
  • Avoid complaining about your partner in front of the kids or using your children to convey messages to your partner. It’s not their responsibility to handle your relationship’s leftover issues.

Make communication the key. Even if you are still hurt, you must communicate with your ex about the kids. You may need to talk to each other about various things such as school supplies, field trips, permission slips, dietary changes.

  • Try to make your communications about the kids free from anger and stress. This is not always easy to achieve, but it is an essential and beneficial goal.
  • Maintaining a formal tone in your conversations can sometimes de-personalize the discussion enough to get through it peacefully.
  • Listening is one of the keys. Be willing to listen to each other and make changes.

Work together. It may seem redundant, but co-parenting requires that you work together.  

  • Your kids need to receive consistent rules and advice from both of you. They will learn that going to either you or your ex will give them the same results. You don’t want them playing you against each other to get their way.

Make it easier for the kids. Going from one parent to the other and continually shifting from one household to another is hard for kids. Make these transitions easier for your children.

  • Talk openly about the transition with them. Let them know what they’ll be doing. Will they be spending half their time at the other house? Or just every other weekend? Just knowing the plan will help them prepare.
  • Help your children pack, organize their things, and make lists together. Help them to feel comfortable with the changes in their homes.

Co-parenting with your ex can be difficult and stressful. Keeping a mindset of doing the best for your kids can help alleviate the chaos, tone down some of the emotions, and minimize the stress as you work together.

With Love and Peace,

Renee

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Single parenting can be very lonely.  By the time you work, take care of your kids, and other obligations, you may feel like you do not have time for yourself.  But loneliness is not a good experience for you or your kids.  It can affect your mental and emotional health, making it difficult for you to be the mom you want to be.  Parenting is already a lonely experience.  

The pandemic has not made it easy to stay connected to our social circles, which has left many people feeling alone these days. It is not easy or safe to casually meet for dinner at a restaurant. It is not advisable to meet at a friend’s house for a play date.

Many of the regular activities you usually use to connect with others and get out of the house are off-limits now. It is natural to feel out of sorts and isolated.

However, where there is a will, there is away. There are opportunities to connect with others if you are willing to think outside the box.

Find new ways to stay in touch with the outside world:

  1. Be creative. Maybe your normal social channels and activities are now unavailable to you. That just means you need to be creative and find new ways to connect with others and spend your time. Maybe you were in a bit of a rut anyway. Now might be an excellent opportunity to make a few changes in your life.

  2. Meet safely. Go for a walk with a friend. Wear your mask and stay six feet apart. You can easily enjoy a walk together, have a conversation, and keep your distance. Meet at the park and share a coffee.
  3. Use the phone. You can do more with that magical smartphone than just watch funny videos, play games, and text. Call people and talk to them. Conversational skills have really gone downhill over the last decade. Reconnect via your phone and have an honest conversation.

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  1. Use the internet. There are countless ways to use the internet to connect with others. Let’s consider just a few:   Skype and Zoom. These are only two of many software platforms that allow you to see and talk to others. Zoom is excellent if you want to talk to multiple people at once.

  2. Online gaming. You can play card games, chess, checkers, and many other games and have a conversation simultaneously.

“If you are new to being a single parent, you might need a little time to figure out when you typically feel lonely. But once you have identified them, you no longer have to accept that loneliness as part of your life.”

  • Take up a hobby. What do you like to do? What would you like to learn? Maybe you would like to take up gardening this spring? Dancing? Chess? Piano? Knitting? Woodworking? Painting? Writing? What could you see yourself doing that would be fun and exciting and take your mind off the current situation?

  1. Be creative. Create something. A blog. A painting. A book. A song. A poem. A scrapbook. A flower arrangement. A set of shelves. Look for a creative outlet that interests you and let your creative side out for a change. Share what you create with the world. Take a picture or make a video and post it online.

  2. Exercise. Exercise is a great way to change your perspective. It also helps to keep your mind and body healthy. What type of activity do you like to do? Do it.

  3. Be safe. It is easy to become fatigued with the Covid-19 situation and let your guard down. Avoid becoming reckless. Look for safe outlets for your need to connect with others.

The pandemic will not last forever. In the meantime, if you are feeling isolated, be creative and reach out to the people in your life. Maybe you cannot sit on the couch and watch a movie together, but there are other meaningful ways to interact with each other. Find new and enjoyable ways to spend your time alone and to connect with others.  Do not parent alone; find or create your village.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

As a Mental Health Practitioner, I have had the pleasure of working with children and their families diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, helping them navigate educational, judicial, and medical systems.  According to the American Psychiatric Association,  Attention Hyperactivity Disorder is a common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder.   It affects about 5% of children in America. 

Research does not support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by overeating sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos. Of course, many things, including these, might make symptoms worse, especially in certain people.”

However, the diagnosis of ADHD has been on the rise for the last several years, and it is an issue that parents, educators, and doctors.  ADHD is characterized by several symptoms, including impulsivity, lack of focus, and talking too much, have trouble that is sometimes intertwined and co-existing with other behavioral and/or developmental challenges.

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Dealing with an ADHD child can be frustrating, challenging, and confusing for parents as they try to grapple with the question of why their child just will not “behave.” These techniques in conjunction with therapeutic interventions will assist you with helping your child to mitigate their symptoms and reduce the parent-child conflict that can sometimes occur when dealing with children with behavioral issues.   

  1. Realize that the ADHD Brain is Different. Researchers and scientists have shown that the brain of children afflicted with ADHD has different characteristics responsible for the child’s symptoms.

    Once you accept that your child’s brain is simply wired differently, it becomes much easier for you to keep yourself in control when faced with difficult and challenging behaviors.

    Imagine for a moment that you have a hundred different things vying for your attention at one time, and you do not have the self-control to devote your attention to just one of them.
    The result is what a child with ADHD experiences: something grabs their attention and goes after it. This is not their fault, but it is the distractibility that scrambles their brain and makes it more difficult for them to focus.

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2. Respond consistently. One of the most important things you can do when parenting your ADHD child is to use consistency when communicating with your child. This is sometimes tough for parents because this assumes that we will always have the same tone of voice and not allow our own emotional states to affect what we are trying to communicate.

However, ADHD children need to hear the consistency in what we say and our tone of voice.   Be prepared to repeat yourself often when parenting an ADHD child.   We cannot express our expectations about something on just one occasion. Instead, we need to communicate our expectations on every occasion in precisely the same manner.

For example, instead of saying, “Would you please turn off the TV?” a more practical approach would be to use the child’s name so they recognize that they are being told to do something. Use this same technique every time you want them to do something.

3. Use token economies for incentives. This is a simple yet consistent behavior management approach that uses a token economy system to encourage appropriate behaviors.

This will also let your ADHD child begin to learn what is expected of him and see that he gets rewarded when achieving those expectations.

The basic idea behind this behavior management system is that the child receives a token for following the rules, and then he can turn in those tokens for rewards.

A token economy system can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. You can use pennies, buttons, colored popsicle sticks, reward dollars, or any other number of objects as the tokens.

The frequency of the rewards that you give out will depend on the nature of your individual child. A child that has immense difficulty following-through, for example, will require more rewards in the beginning to achieve the desired outcome.

The idea is to eventually phase out the rewards or to spread them further apart so that the child does not become dependent on them.

Parenting a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD is no easy task. It often requires help and assistance from multiple professionals, such as counselors and therapists, school staff, and special education teams.

Consistency, communication, and a behavior management system are essential keys to parenting success with an ADHD child.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

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I wish my ex-husband, and I had been a little more intentional about making sure our kids felt comfortable in both their homes.  Sometimes, I know it felt like they were visiting as they shuffled from house to house.  As your children divide their time between two households in the aftermath of a breakup, remember that shared parenting is always a challenge, but you can make the transition smoother by putting your children’s needs first.

Advantages of Shared Parenting

  1. Give children the benefits of two loving parents. Children thrive on the love and guidance of both parents. Give them the best chance in life by showing them that they will still have a meaningful and nurturing relationship with both their parents.   
  2. Teach conflict resolution skills. When your kids see you cooperating with your ex-partner, they learn how to handle disagreements constructively. Focus on being respectful and considerate.

  3. Cooperate on important decisions. Even when the relationship is over, parents still have joint responsibilities, including providing for their kids’ education, healthcare, and financial support. Think of yourself as business partners if it helps you to play equitable roles.

Steps to Take with Your Ex-Partner

  1. Develop a comprehensive parenting plan. Planning and putting things in writing helps many couples sort out coordinating two households. Work with a mediator or research sample plans online if you need assistance.  Check out this link if you are looking to create or revise your current visitation plan.

  2. Aim for consistency. Similar household rules and routines give kids more stability and less confusion. See if you can agree on the same bedtimes, homework routines, and discipline forms.
  3. Communicate directly with your ex-spouse. Instead of using your kids as messengers, go to your ex if you have questions or comments. Address issues promptly to keep resentments from building up.
  4. Be flexible. Willingness to compromise facilitates solutions for the sake of your children. Stick to your core principles but consider making concessions on less vital issues.
  5. Arrange mutually agreeable exchange procedures. Switch households at convenient times like the end of the school week. Dropping kids off is often less tense than picking them up. Pick a neutral location to make the exchange if necessary.

Steps to Take With Your Kids

  1. Project a positive attitude. Staying cheerful and relaxed is paramount. Your kids will pick up on your feelings.

  2. Design a calendar. Put a calendar on the refrigerator door. When you are trying to schedule vacations and doctor’s visits, you and your kids will see immediately where they will be.
  • Keep essential items in both homes. If your kids spend a significant time in both residences, get two toothbrushes and blow dryers. You will make fewer mistakes packing and help both houses feel more familiar.

  • Plan for quiet times. It is natural to feel awkward when the kids first arrive home. Create peaceful routines like reading a book together or taking a walk in the park to help them ease back into your family routine
  • Provide advance notice. Start casually mentioning the upcoming household change when the time to visit is approaching. Kids will feel better prepared and less anxious.
  • Involve children in the process. Help your kids to feel more empowered and in control while they are coping with the significant changes in your family. Small kids can pick out a stuffed animal they want to pack. Older kids may decide how much time to spend with either parent at different stages in their lives.

Kids who remain close to both parents are likely to adjust more quickly to a breakup and grow up healthy and happy. Cooperate with your ex-partner so you can make both your households into loving homes for your children.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Let’s Chat Schedule Your 60 Minute Empowerment Call Today, It is Completely Free

From my family to yours, wishing you the best of this holiday season.

With Love and Peace,

Renee

As a single mom, the world outside can seem as big as the ocean There are so many things are tugging at you each and every day it can be very easy to get swallowed up and overwhelmed. Remember, at the end of the day, the only important thing is the health and well-being of you and your kids. Just focus on that, I promise things will get easier.

With love and peace,

Renee

For tips on how to put yourself first, download my new free e-book The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

Single parenting is challenging and frustrating. It is hard to know if you are doing the right things and making wise choices that will benefit your children. It can sometimes feel like there is no correct answer for many of the parenting situations you find yourself.

Confidence is key to parenting well. When you display confidence, your child feels free to be a kid. They feel safe expressing big feelings because they know you can handle them.”

In parenting, as in the rest of life, perfection is not a possibility. Do your best and shoot for excellence, instead!

These tips will help you to be yourself and be the best parent you can be:

  1. Learn from your own parents. Whether your parents were spectacular, mediocre, or terrible, there is something that you can learn from their parenting. Ask yourself these questions:

    What did my parents do well? What are some areas they could have done better?
  1. Ask for feedback from your children. Tell your kids that you want to be a better parent and ask for advice. Ask them what you could do better. A lot of the information you are given will not be helpful, but they might offer you a few gold nuggets of advice in there. You might hear a few things you have never considered.

  2. Do not be afraid to ignore the advice. Everyone you meet will have an opinion about how-to better parent children. Plenty of those people will give you advice without you asking for it. Everyone likes to be an armchair quarterback. Consider their feedback but make your own decision about whether to implement their ideas.

  3. Parenting basics. These may be basic, but that does not mean that they are easy! Do your best to ensure that your kids see these concepts in action.

    Help them to learn how to maintain a high level of self-esteem. Life is miserable and limiting without it.

    School matters. Help your child to do as well as they can in school—partner with their teachers. Good students have more opportunities.

    Be a good role model. Your children are always watching you.

    Money matters. Love is great, but it will not pay the rent, buy shoes, or pay for the doctor. Spend your working day trying to maximize your income.

    Keep them safe.

    Teach them the important things. Teach them the importance of saving money, making friends, dealing with negative emotions, being honest, and anything else that speaks to your values.

    Spend time with them each day. We spend time on the things that matter. When you ignore your children, they know they do not matter.

    Love unconditionally. Show your children that you love them even when they make mistakes.

    You can do everything right and still have challenges. Children are not plants. You cannot be guaranteed success just by adding some water and fertilizer. Each child is different. You could be as perfect as humanly possible and still have a child that struggles.

    Read. Parenting is one of the most researched areas of study in the world. There are a lot of great books that all parents can read and use.

Take heart in knowing that the perfect single mom does not exist. You are doomed to feel like a failure if perfection is your goal. Fortunately, kids are quite resilient and do not require perfect parenting.    All you can ask of yourself is to keep doing your best and trying to improve. Be the best parent you can be, and your children will eventually thank you for it.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling; download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

Have you ever considered that the amount of sleep you get can affect your health and your weight? When we are tired, we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day, and we reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled food options and processed snacks. When we are tired, we also tend to skip the workout we had planned for the day. For many women, this is an ongoing cycle that is tough to break. Adequate sleep sets the stage for everything else.

According to Dr.  Michael Breus, “sleeping poorly, or not enough, slows the body’s metabolism.   Metabolism is the process by which the body converts calories to energy.   Research suggests,  “poor sleep makes the body’s metabolism work less effectively, leaving more un-expended energy to be stored in the body as fat.”

So, when it comes to body weight, research suggests that if you snooze, you lose.  Lack of sleep is associated with an increase

in hunger, appetite, and possibly obesity.  According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “when people were starved of sleep late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high carb snacks.”    Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.   Ghrelin is a substance that stimulates hunger, and leptin a substance in the body that signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite.

Lack of sleep can also affect your immune function, the aging process, memory, and learning. Yes, adequate sleep is a big deal! To get more sleep, set a goal of what time you need to be in bed each night to get the 7-9 hours you need. Try it this week and see if you notice a difference between your energy level and eating habits.

Fill in the blank; I am committed to getting ___ hours of sleep each night this week.

With Love and Peace,

Renee

    The holiday season is upon us, and while this may be a happy time for families around the world single moms everywhere may be dreading it and wondering how they will get through it while their kids are celebrating with their other parent.  My first Christmas apart from my kids was the worse; I spent the whole weekend walking in and out of their bedrooms, balling my eyes out.  You might be experiencing a sense of loss and anguish; I can tell you that it will get better with time; let me tell you how.

First: you will need to let go of the past and start new traditions.  My kids and I started celebrating Thanksgiving when they got back home and exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve.

Second: show yourself some compassion; it is okay to be sad, but do not sit around all day wallowing in your sadness.  Use this time alone to give yourself a facial or manicure, sleep in, or just rest and watch your favorite movies.

Third: Do not shut yourself away from family and friends. Even though you will miss your kids, there are still things in your life to be grateful for; giving thanks will help you get through the day, and it is also a great way to expedite your healing process.

Holidays are lovely, but they can be emotionally challenging if you are a single mom; acknowledge how you feel and know that you have the power to let your sadness win or find joy.  The way you approach the holidays will have a significant impact on the memories your kids will create. Wouldn’t it be better for all of you if their memory of you was one of laughter, joy, and compassion? Give them each a big hug, tell them you love them as they leave, and remind them to have a good time.  Trust me, if your kids are happy, you will be happy too.

With love and peace,

Renee

For tips on how to put yourself first, download my new free e-book The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy.  If this is you, please fill out the form below. All eligible applications will be contacted by phone or email.  Click here to apply! Your first call is free!

As a single mom, I knew that the one way to help my children overcome single parent stereotypes was to help them learn how to be self-confident humans.  This is a gift that will serve them well throughout their lives, but it also meant that I had to boost my own self-confidence. Today, I want to share four ways that you can help you and your child bolster self-confidence.

  1. Improve your own self-confidence:  For the time being, you are the most important role model in your child’s life; they are watching your reaction as you try new things and how you handle your frustration when things don’t go as planned.  This will be the key to how they learn to handle their own frustrations and disappointments.  So, acknowledge your frustrations and anxiety, but remember to focus on the positive aspects of learning to navigate your life.
  2. Encourage them to try new things: Fear is a typical response to new challenges or experiences. These situations make children feel uncertain, vulnerable, powerless, and anxious. They strip away a child’s sense of security and control.”     My son Matt was not what you would call a natural athlete.  In fact, he hated sports; at the beginning of his track career, he spent more time standing at the fence and talking to me.  Instead of getting upset, I encouraged him to run a little more; no one would have suspected that this little boy would grow up to qualify for the state finals in high school and go on to run college track.  Helping your child try new things even when they are afraid will give them the confidence to confront their fears and do something anyway.   
  3. Set small goals:  Help your child to set and achieve small goals.  A small plan could be cleaning their room for three days, turning in their homework for 5 days, or remembering to set the garbage out in time for garbage day pick-up—a significant achievement in our household.  Setting and achieving goals will help your child take their own dreams and learn how to create a plan that will turn those dreams into reality.  With every small win, their confidence will grow.
  4. Celebrate the try:  As parents, we can get stuck focusing on what our kids accomplish, but it is important to celebrate their efforts.  They may not see the results of their labor immediately when we celebrate “the try” that will encourage them to keep going.

     Raising confident kids is no small feat.  Through a lot of trial and error, I learned that it is the little things we do every day as single moms that give them the courage to become the confident and happy grown-ups they were meant to be.

With love and peace,

Renee

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling; download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

I do not think I was a happy mom.  I had some enjoyable moments, but I think I spent too much time worrying about what might happen to my kids and me, financially, emotionally, that I did not take the time to enjoy the journey of single parenthood. This week I want to share with you four things that can make your single momhood more enjoyable as you reduce your stress and spend more time on your self-care.

1. Get some help:  the best thing that I did was to hire help. Trying to work full-time, attend class, and take care of five kids at home proved to be a little bit overwhelming. So, I hired a younger cousin to come in and help.  She was 16 at the time and needed shopping money, and I needed someone who could make sure no one burned down the house before I got home. My girlfriend and I took turns taking our daughters to Girl Scouts, which meant that each of us had two weeks off from carpooling.

2. Get some sleep: I will do an entire blog on why moms need to get more sleep, but to be a happy mom, you must get more sleep. “Sleep seems to be the thing that busy people give up first when they need more time — but sleep is the one thing we all need to get more of. It has been proven time and time again that women who get more sleep are slimmer, healthier, and younger-looking than those who sleep erratically.”

3. Plan some me-time:  I have yet to speak to a single mom who does not believe that scheduling “me time” is not a guilty pleasure.  Let me assure you that it is not; you need some time to recharge your batteries to speak, and it does not have to be a whole day.  You will be surprised at the clarity and calmness you can create in just 20 minutes.  Take a few minutes each day, turn off your phone, close your laptop, and just sit and think to add in a cup of your favorite tea and I promise you will feel refreshed and recharged.

4.Get a check-up: As a single mom, I was particularly good at making sure my children got their medical and dental check-ups on schedule.  My calendar had their appointments penciled in six months in advance.  But I was not so diligent with myself.  I made excuses for my aches and pains and ignored my excessive periods until I ended up in the hospital getting a hysterectomy.  Today, I want you to call your primary care physician and make an appointment for your check-up. 

      Single parenting can be stressful, but you have the control to decide if you are going to be a happy mom or a stressed-out grumpy mom, Choose Happy! for you and your kids.

Wishing You Peace and Love,

Renee 

For tips on how to put yourself first, download my new free e-book The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

I know you have a lot on your plate. But a mom who is overly tired, broken down, and angry is no use to anyone let alone her kids. Take 15 minutes to step out of the ring today, to breathe, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and just quiet your mind. Then you can fight the good fight refreshed and new.

With love and peace,

Renee

For tips on how to put yourself first, download my new free e-book The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself

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As single moms, we can get so caught up worrying that we are missing something, we forget to enjoy the little things we do each and every day. Your child will remember the bedtime story, the tickles, the laughter, the hugs, the notes you leave in their lunchbox. Nothing you do is wasted!

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Download your free gifts:

Single Mom’s Financial Success Guide

Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling; download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

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My Babies All Grown-Up

Listen to Episode Six of the Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Podcast

Being a single mom is scary.  It does not matter how you joined the sisterhood, whether you decided to raise your child alone, or if it was through divorce or death of a partner.  You now have the distinct honor of raising healthy, happy, productive humans.  No pressure! Having been in the trenches, I know exactly how you feel; the fear, overwhelm, self-doubt creeps in even on the most self-confident of us. 

Many things got me through, including a nice glass of wine at night when I put my five kiddos to bed, but these tips work.  As always take what you need and leave the rest.

  1. Do not neglect your self-care.  Picture this, working a full-time job, taking care of five kids, and trying to complete a graduate degree all at the same time.  That was my life, and because my decision to put my self-care on the backburner nearly broke me.  I remember showing up at my aunt Maggie’s home in tears, so tired from the strain that I could not string three words together.  Do not let that happen to you.  Take care of yourself.  Do not forget to take some time for yourself.  Get your nails done, workout, most gyms have daycares, and the YMCA offers scholarships.  Or just sit quietly with your favorite beverage, gather your thoughts, watch T.V., or read a book. When you neglect you, you become grumpy and burnt out.
  2. Do not forget you are still a person: Being a single mom can be consuming, but it is not your total identity.  Do not forget that you are still a person with goals and interests.  One day your children will grow up and leave home.  I promise 😊 So, continue working on your dreams, whether it is learning an instrument, writing, completing a triathlon, or traveling around the world.  Pursue your interests even if it is just 30 minutes a day.  I am currently working with a mom who is taking 30-minutes of her lunch break to work on her book. You would be surprised what you can get done in a focused 30-minute timeframe.
  3. Have fun:  This is my one regret.  I was so focused on making sure my children did not get into trouble that I did not take the time to laugh with them more or play games together as a family.  We had our scheduled family time each week, but I wish I had just been more spontaneous and enjoyed the journey. Schedule a family fun night to play a board game or watch a movie together.
  4. Create your village: If you want to save your sanity, get some help.  You need people to love and support you as a single mom and support your kids because this journey can be scary for them too. Your village can include whomever you want, family , friends, your child’s teacher, or your parenting coach. Because both my parents had passed away by the time I got divorced. I was so blessed that I had my aunt Maggie and my aunt Dot my mother’s sisters, we would not have made it without them.
  5. Stop feeling guilty: Feeling guilty because you are a single parent is a waste of time and energy.  Celebrate the fact that you get to be the one the shapes your child into a beautiful, confident, and loving human being that will change the world.

Being a single mom can be taxing, but it is also the best job in the world.  My only wish is that I had enjoyed myself more when I was raising my children.  So, moms, my wish for you is to treasure this journey and know that you have everything inside of you to give your children an excellent start in life. 

Let us know in the comments which step you are going to start today!

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Download The Single Mom’s Guide to Loving Yourself: How would it impact your children if you showed up as your most vibrant and loving self?

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Mom, look in the mirror and smile. You are a hero, to your children and to your community. Don’t ever forget that!

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Hi moms, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Life and Parenting Coach.  As a single mom to five adult children, my goal is simple. To help single moms raise future leaders and to increase their own self-care without guilt. My gift to you:  Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home.

Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy. If this sounds like you,  click here to schedule your  Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Call.   Your first call is free!

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

Single parenting is probably the hardest job you will ever have, but you have the strength to do it well.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

STSP Free Downloads:  Single Mom’s Financial Success Guide

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

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As a single mom to three grown sons, I get excited when I see the strong and confident men they have become; I worried that I would be unable to help them grow into strong, healthy men.  It did not help that the people around me reinforced my doubt with questions like, “how are you going to raise those boys by yourself?” “Do you think a woman can teach a boy how to be a man?”  I was terrified to make a mistake that would scar them for life.  In my experience as a mom, advocate, and parenting coach, raising healthy, confident, loving children requires love, discipline, and good communication.

Raising sons as a single mom does not have to be a mystery.  Here are four things that worked for me and the over 200 single moms I have worked with over the years.

1. Don’t make your son the head of the house:  You can teach him how to be responsible without giving him responsibilities that he is not ready for, he should not be taking care of you, or be a sounding board for your doubts, problems, or insecurities.   It can be hard to establish your authority if your son thinks that he is your partner.

2. Allow your son to show his emotions:  Emotionally stunted men may be attractive in the movies.  But not allowing your son to cry, show anger or sadness will only make it difficult for him to express his feelings healthily.   “Normalizing feelings decrease anxiety.  Making space for your child’s strong emotions and validating their experience allows your child to develop a healthy acceptance of their feelings. ” 

3. Be a good role model:  Yes, your sons need to have good strong male role models, and you can find them at church and through organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, but, ultimately, you are their first and most important role model,   Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, and healthily expressing your emotions. W.E.B. Dubois wrote, “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”

4. Listen:  Take the time to listen to your sons and be a part of their world. Listen as they explain the robotics program they have just created, or the karate move they are learning in class.  Attend their football games, basketball games, track meets and cheer them on; these are the memories that will become the foundation of your relationship. 

Yes, there will be slip-ups along the way, and you will make mistakes.  But, a good mom is not one that does not make mistakes.  A good mom learns from her mistakes and gives her kids extra hugs.  

Wishing You Peace and Love,

Renee

Download your free gifts:

Single Mom’s Financial Success Guide

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

Hey moms, question, do you have an emergency fund? Even if you can only save $5 per paycheck you should be putting something away for emergencies.

Nothing will derail your financial plans like having to borrow money for a new car battery or water heater. Dave Ramsey suggests starting with an emergency fund of $1000. You got this!

Let us know your best money saving tip!

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Hi guys, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Life and Parenting Coach.  As a former single mom to now five adult children, my goal is simple. To help single moms raise future leaders and to increase their own self-care without guilt. Download Single Mom’s Financial Success Guide

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Listen to Episode 5 STSP Podcast: Financial Mistake #1: Spending Money You Do Not Have

Hey guys, starting a new financial series, so make you sure to hit the follow button, so you do not miss a post. We are making the broke single mom stereotype a myth.

When I became a single mom, I desperately wanted to give my kids and myself the lifestyle we had known when their dad and I were together.   To do this, I tried to continue taking us out to eat, paying for cable, piano classes, getting my hair and nails done every two weeks, and buying clothes we did not need.  Doing this only put me deeper in debt.

 The solution was to create a budget and stick with it; I know that the word budget might make you think of a restrictive lifestyle with no room for fun.  But, it is the one tool that helped to take the overwhelm out of my finances, and when we did go out to eat, I wasn’t wondering if I was going to be able to pay the light bill. 

Sit down with a piece of paper and write out all your expenses, big and small, and their due dates, then write down your income streams (include everything). “It’s crucial to track your spending habits so you can get a better holistic idea of your financial circumstances.”

I know that this may be scary, but this is how you protect your family. 

With Peace and Love,

Renee


Download your free guide: Single Mom’s Financial Success Guide- reduce your overwhelm around money once and for all!

Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy.  If this is you, please fill out the form below. All eligible applications will be contacted by phone or email.  If you sign up before 9.20.20, you will get 50% off my four-week coaching package.   Click here to apply! Your first call is free!



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I remember the first time I tried time-outs to discipline my three-year-old, John.  He hated it; he cried and wailed, “please, mommy, I won’t do it again.”  Time-outs were a really great way to deter bad behavior for this little boy.  This same strategy did not work out so well with my son Alex who was five.  He loved time outs; he was and is a person who loves to be alone.  So, sitting in time-out away from his four siblings gave him time to reflect and ponder, sometimes he would even read a book.

The disciplinary technique you use has to be catered towards your child’s personality. While your household rules will apply to everyone, how you enforce them will vary.  “Remember, your ultimate goal is to change the way your child acts, not to make him miserable. So, gauge your child’s temperament, then choose a technique that seems most likely to work for him.”  So, if you have tried timeouts with little to no success, try this instead, logical consequences.

Logical consequences will help your child see that if they disobey, then something they do not like will happen. “Unlike punishment, which is aimed at making a child suffer in retaliation for inappropriate behavior, consequences offer an opportunity for children to learn from their mistakes. When used properly, consequences can teach children responsibility, accountability, and problem-solving.” Logical consequences and natural consequences are not the same.  Natural consequences occur inevitably because of your child’s behavior.  For example, if we eat fast food every day, refuse to exercise, chances are we are not going to be able to fit into our favorite dress.  So, as responsible adults, what do we do, we limit our fast food intake and workout at least 30 minutes every day.  😊

Logical consequences are given by a parent, teacher, or another authority. If used wisely, logical consequences can help your child to see how their choices and behaviors affect their level of happiness.  Three things to consider when using logical consequences:

  • Make sure that your child understands the rules:  Sit down with your child, make sure they know what will happen if they exhibit a behavior.  It might be helpful to create a chart to show them exactly what will happen.
Hitting your sister10 minutes of quiet time
Did not wash dishesExtra chores
Does not pick up toysTaking toys away for a specified period
  • Consistency: for this or any disciplinary plan to work, you must be consistent.  This is how your child will know that you mean business.
  • Realistic: consequences should fit the behavior.  If your child does not wash the dishes, giving them extra days on kitchen duty is realistic, making them clean the hold house is not.

If you want peace in your household, and I know you do, using loving, consistent disciplinary techniques that match your child’s behavior is your ticket to more laughs, hugs, and fun times.

With Love and Peace,

Renee

 

 

 

IMG_3696

Hi guys, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Life and Parenting Coach.  As a former single mom to now five adult children, my goal is simple. To help single moms raise future leaders and to increase their own self-care without guilt. My gift to you:  Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home.   

Whenever you are ready, here are two ways I can help you train future leaders and increase your personal self-care:  Join the private Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook group, a curated community exclusively for single moms. Learn from and connect with other single moms this is your village a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your parenting wins. 

 

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

http://www.stresshealth.org

When I was a little girl, the adults in my family did not put much authority in the notion that children experience stress and anxiety.  My world had been shattered after my parent’s separation and the absence of my dad in my life.  But, no one thought it necessary to help my brothers, and I deal with our emotions.  As I look at the political and social landscape we now find ourselves in, I know from personal and professional experience working with families in the field of mental health that there is no way our children are not affected by what is going on in their world. 

Who would have ever imagined at the start of the 2019-2020 school year that schools would be abruptly shut down due to a global pandemic?  Leaving millions of children across the country now enrolled in makeshift home schools, high school seniors having their prom and graduations canceled or altered and wondering what their freshman year at college will look like in the Fall.

Teaching our children how to use healthy coping skills to manage their stress and anxiety will serve them well as adults. We have all witnessed the behavior of adults who did not learn this valuable skill as children use unhealthy coping strategies such as drug use, food, or overspending to mask the pain and frustration they were feeling.

You can ensure that your child grows up to understand that stress and anxiety are part of living, but they do not have to be controlled by them; in my home, my mother, like most mothers of her generation, used food to calm our nerves and make us feel better.  There was no problem that could not be solved with a hot meal or a piece of chocolate.  Wow! I cringe when I think about the number of calories we consumed each day. But, this explains why it took me so long to make peace with food.

The coping strategies that I am sharing with you today will not add unnecessary calories and can be used by both children and adults.  So, mom, these will work for you when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  These are the top four strategies I recommend to my young clients that suffer from anger issues as well as stress and anxiety.

  1. Take a walk or do another physical activity. Physical activity will increase your endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters. “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. “ Walking is a great and free family activity.
  2. Listen to music:  Listening to your favorite uplifting tunes can be a positive brain boost.  It can decrease cortisol levels, a hormone associated with increased stress.  It can also lower blood pressure.
  3. Practice deep breathing exercises: Stress and anxiety can alter your breathing patterns causing tension to settle in the neck and upper back.  A simple breathing exercise can help you or your child release tension.  First, find a quiet place, “lie on your back on a firm surface. Counting to five, inhale slowly and let your torso expand and your bellybutton moves away from your spine, as you fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. Then, exhale slowly, counting to seven. That is one. Do this ten times.”
  4. Massage:  This is a new one I have been using over the last few months, and it has worked wonders.  I teach moms how to do a simple massage on their children, starting with the scalp, foot, or back.  Massage is known to reduce stress and lower cortisol.  Plus, if you are looking for a way to increase the parent/child bond, this is it.

A child’s stress and anxiety levels are reduced when they have information.  Always answer their questions as honestly as you can and provide information that is appropriate for their age and cognitive level of understanding. Using one or all four of these techniques, in combination with talking, will help your child learn to deal with their emotions now and as adults in a healthy way.

If your child develops chronic stress and anxiety, that begins to impact their ability to enjoy their daily lives.  Please seek help from a licensed mental health professional. Your child depends on you to help them feel safe and loved. Do not be afraid to reach out for assistance, this really is an unprecedented time, and we are all learning as we go.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

Hi guys, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Life and Parenting Coach.  As a former single mom to now five adult children, my goal is simple. To help single moms raise future leaders and to increase their own self-care without guilt. My gift to you:  Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home. Join the private Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook group, a curated community exclusively for single moms. Learn from and connect with other single moms this is your village, a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your parenting wins.  Click here to join (note: you must answer the questions to be considered). 

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

Jules has a question, “I love my kids, and I feel bad writing this, but I need a break.  How can I parent all day without yelling,  sitting them in front of the television, or letting them play video games all day.”

Jules, you are not alone.  Parenting in the time of Covid-19 can be more than daunting, there are no playdates, weekends at nana, after school activities, or school to give you a break during the day.  And as much as you love your kids, every parent needs a break now and then guess what you are human.

Put the guilt aside. Our goal has moms, is to create an atmosphere that does not disintegrate into chaos and overwhelm, which is not suitable for you or your kids.   The tip that I am going to share with you works. How do I know? When I got divorced, I became a single mom to five kids between the ages of six and sixteen, so it was vital that I planned my days as much as possible. You must remember as with any job; you need to have a plan.

The tip I want you to try starting tomorrow is to plan your day, write it out on a board and post it on your refrigerator for everyone to see, make sure your plan includes everything that will happen during the day, estimate the start time and end times of your schedule.  Remember, these times are for reference and are adjustable.  Your plan should include meals, learning, and playtime, and do not forget to include rest periods.  You can use that quiet time to get something done, or you can take a nap as well. Just because you are home does not mean you have to work all day.

While you cannot gather in person, make sure that you stay connected to family and friends through zoom, facetime, or google hangouts. It’s also important to schedule time for your kids to connect with their friends, this will give you a moment during the day to regroup

The trick to parenting all day and staying sane is to plan, but also to be flexible, no plan is perfect, do not be afraid to adjust as needed.

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

Whenever you are ready, here are two ways I can help you train future leaders and increase your personal self-care:

  1. Join the private Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook group, is a curated community exclusively for single moms. Learn from and connect with other single moms; this is your village, a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your parenting wins.  Click here to join (note: you must answer the questions to be considered).

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  1. Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy. If this is you, please fill out the form below. All eligible applications will be contacted by phone or email.  Click here to apply! Your first call is free!

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

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Single parenting is hard, and while there were many days of baking brownies and church socials, there were also days when I felt utterly out of my depth and totally out of control of my own household.  I remember one day yelling at my kids so much that my son Matt who was about nine at the time, started to cry and asked me, “why do you yell at us so much?” I was stunned, embarrassed, and sad.  All my yelling did was upset and frustrate my children, and it taught them that when you get angry, you yell instead of using your words, which is what I had always told them was the correct way to handle their feelings.

As you can see, I was not a good role model.  My yelling did not deter bad behavior; it just put everyone in the household on edge.  Research conducted by the late Murray A. Strauss, Ph.D. found that
“Parents assume that because everybody does it, yelling is harmless, that’s not the case. Yelling belittles kids and undermines the parent-child bond.”  Which was precisely what was happening between my son and me.

I want to share with you three tips that work much better than yelling. One of them may surprise you.

  1. Increase your self-care: What! Increase my self-care.  Yes, part of my yelling fits was because I was exhausted.  I was attending graduate school, working, volunteering at my children’s school, and trying to raise them to be future leaders.  It was hard.  But, then I do not have to tell you that, I asked my aunt Maggie if she would watch the kids for me one or two evenings per week.  Sometimes, I would just wander through bookstores, my favorite thing in the world.  Get a manicure, or just sit or my sofa and drink tea.  It worked wonders.
  2. Get used to repeating yourself: I know we would all love our children to act the first time we ask, but that may not happen. Calmly repeat your request and remind them of the consequences if they do not complete the task promptly. If you need help with that, you can download My gift to you:  Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home.
  3. Take a moment to calm down before reacting to your child’s behavior:  I admit this took me a while, I think my oldest had left for college before I fully understood that yelling at the top of my lungs only frustrated my other four children and me more.  Calm down before and redirect your child.  Our behavior teaches our children how to react to conflict.  Will they be calm and use their words to explain how they feel, or will they yell and scream every time they get upset.  The way they behave is up to us.

Part of the reason that I screamed so much is that I wanted my children to know that I was in charge.  There were five of them, and I thought quite wrongly that yelling would empower me and remind them that obeying me what there only option.  But, the truth was that when I learned how to become a team instead of adversaries, I did not have to yell as much 😊, and our home became a more peaceful place.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

 

 

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Hi guys, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Life and Parenting Coach.  As a former single mom to now five adult children, my goal is simple. To help single moms raise future leaders and to increase their own self-care without guilt. My gift to you:  Redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home.

  Whenever you are ready, here are two ways I can help you train future leaders and increase your personal self-care:

Join the private Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook group, a curated community exclusively for single moms. Learn from and connect with other single moms this is your village a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your parenting wins.  Click here to join (note: you must answer the questions to be considered).

Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy. If this sounds like you,  click here to schedule your  Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Call.   Your first call is free!

 

 

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

girl rolling her eyes

If you have been a parent for any amount of time of a child over the age of five, you have seen it, the dreaded eye roll from your kids. This usually happens when you ask them to do a chore, to put down their electronics, or go to bed. As a mom of five, I know how irritating this can be, not to mention it is also very disrespectful. It’s as though they are telling us, “you are so annoying.” To make matters worse, this can become a habit, especially when your child sees that they can get a rise out of you.
Instead of losing your cool, let us talk about three things that you could do instead.
1. Stay calm: do not start yelling or threatening your child, keep calm, and speak to them about how disrespectful rolling their eyes at someone can be. Be sure to discuss and institute consequences with your child so that they are aware of what will happen if they do not learn to control this behavior.
2. “Point it out and request a do-over. It is amazing how often kids do not realize the depth of contempt in their tone, or that their body language screams disdain. So make a habit of drawing attention to it when you see it.”
3. One thing that, as parents, we sometimes forget is that we are the role model for our kids. So, make sure that you are not exhibiting the exact behavior you are seeing in your child.
My last advice mom, please do not ignore this behavior. If your child does it to you, they will most likely do it to teachers, coaches, or other adults that hold in disdain. Trust me, you do not want to receive the call that your child was behaving disrespectfully to another teacher. Left unchecked, this seemingly harmless behavior could blossom into blatant rudeness, and for all the work you do, you deserve more.

My gift to you redirect undesirable behavior without yelling download How to Create A Token Economy and create a peaceful home

Whenever you are ready, here are two ways I can help you train future leaders and increase your personal self-care:

1.  Join the private Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook group, a curated community exclusively for single moms. Learn from and connect with other single moms this is your village a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your parenting wins.  Click here to join (note: you must answer the questions to be considered).

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2.  Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 single moms who are looking to reduce their stress and increase their joy. If this is you, please fill out the form below. All eligible applications will be contacted by phone or email.  Click here to apply! Your first call is free!

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family  #kids #fitmom #coparenting

anxiety photo

Anxiety in children is not uncommon, as with all humans’ children will experience some anxiety. This anxiety or worry can sometimes be redirected with an activity, a good talk, or just letting them complain. It does not help that we are living in uncharted times; as much as we try to shield our kids, they are bound to hear about the devastation that has hit America. But when should you worry about your child’s anxiety? The CDC has found that 7 percent of children aged 3-17 have an anxiety disorder; their worries generally get more intense over time,
In children with anxiety disorder, Dr. Steven Kurtz’s research found that “There’s a sort of smoke detector in your head that’s supposed to go off when the brain perceives danger, and it triggers the fight-or-flight response. In anxious kids, their smoke detector is set to a much more sensitive level, and they also have a much more dramatic reaction.” Signs of anxiety could include anger outbursts, trouble sleeping, defiance, over planning, increased negativity, and lack of focus.

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So, what can a parent do if you think your child could be struggling with anxiety? First, seek a professional. They will give you the framework you need to help your child identify their feelings. At home, be respectful of your child’s opinions, provide structure, opportunities for some fun movement, verbal assurances, and comforting activities such as rocking or holding. For older children, activities like yoga and journaling can be very helpful in coping strategies.
Be patient; it might take some time for you to put together a plan to address your child’s need but do not give up, you got this!
With Peace and Love,
Renee

Calm the child/parent conflict in your home, download How To Create A Token Economy-It’s Free

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #fitmom #coparenting

 

worried child

Well, if you have been home for the last five weeks like I have, you have had to give your kiddos a reason as to why they are not allowed to go to school or play with friends. With the 24-hour news cycle inundating our lives, some parents are still wondering how much they should share with their kids.
Somethings to consider when sharing information about the virus or any serious topic that may be upsetting to your child.
Remember that what you share with them will depend upon their age and comprehension. Use language that is appropriate for their age, and while you want to keep them informed, do not feel that you must tell all the details. You want to give them enough information to help them feel safe.
Secondly, teach them safety procedures that will help to lower their chances of contracting the virus, such as wearing a mask or washing their hands. Dr. Robert Frenck suggests, teaching your children how to wash their hands for at least 15-20 seconds, and rewashing them as they eat or touch their face since the bacteria from the virus can enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth. This will help them feel some sense of control.
If you or your child become anxious about the state of the world, no that you are not alone, ease your anxiety by focusing on what you can control, choose a new hobby that you and your child can start and focus on together, and pay attention to your own self- care.
No one expects you to have all the answers, reach out virtually to family and friends for support, and if things become too much to handle, put in a call to your family doctor or insurance company for online therapeutic services.
With Love and Peace,
Renee
Do you want to chat, you can schedule a date and time here

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #fitmom #coparenting

early learning

It is never too early to start your child on the path to learning. Dr. Jessica Alvarado believes that early childhood education is “ a time when children learn critical social and emotional skills, and a partnership is formed between the child, their parents and the teacher. When this is done successfully, it lays the groundwork for it to continue throughout the child’s education.” What you do while sheltering in place at home? The following activities will help your child develop. Guess what? No technology required. You can talk to your child eye to eye, sing with them or, keep them engaged with number games and rhythms. Here is a great resource to help you get started. Loving to Learn.com

With Peace and Love,
Renee
Tired of yelling at your kids download this free PDF How To Create A Token Economy

#earlylearning #playtime #readtime ##singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #coparenting

 

single moms Instagram Post

  When it comes to your single parenting status, what is the one thing you really want to take a stand against? As a single mom of color, I took a stand against the notion that my children were educationally disadvantaged. Not only did they all graduate from high school, but four also graduated from college, two completed service in the armed services, and I completed two Masters’ degrees, all while being their mom. It’s not the way I planned it, but we made it work. Hold your head up, and ignore the critics, your results will speak for themselves.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

 

I Want to Stop Yelling and Enjoy My Kids Download Your Free PDF Copy  How To Create A Token Economy

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #fitmom #coparenting

 

behaviorchange

 

Your first line of defense against bad behavior is to praise your child for their good behavior. Praise will often ensure that good behavior continues; just like us, children love to be commended for doing good. However, your child is going to do something that they shouldn’t as parents we mustn’t take it personally. Misbehavior is your child’s way of exploring boundaries. As a mom, your job is to use their misconduct as a time to teach and redirect them towards more suitable behavior.
For this to be effective, you must provide redirection as soon as possible. To do this, you want to
• Keep your voice even-no screaming
• Get their attention, it helps to get down on their level if they are shorter than you or sitting if they are taller making sure that you are eye to eye
• Before rendering disciplinary action, remind them of the rules and make sure that they understand what is expected
Believe it or not, when your child misbehaves, it is time for you to become their teacher.

With Peace and Love,

Renee
Tired of yelling at your kids download this free PDF How To Create A Token Economy

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #fitmom #coparenting

 

 

 

Household-chores

photo via: spotonlists.com

     As a single mom, the one household chore I truly enjoyed turning over to my children was their laundry. Washing clothes for six people every week was a bit much, as each one of them turned 11 I instructed them on how to use the washer and dryer, how to sort, wash, dry, and fold their clothes. Sometimes the clothes stayed in their basket all week, but most times, it found its way into their dresser drawers.
Have you been hesitant about having your child do chores? Now that we are all hunkered down in our homes waiting for self-isolation to end. Let’s use this time to introduce or re-introduce the household chore list to your children. When you assign your child, a task it helps them to learn responsibility, what it means to be part of a team, teaches them how to take care of themselves in their household when they leave home. It will also allow you and your child to spend time together as you teach them the task.
Psychologist and author Ann Lott believes that “chores are one of the best mediums we have for teaching kids about being part of a family, and about belonging, significance, and teamwork.”
Three things to remember:
• Make sure the chore is age-appropriate.
• Complete the task with your child until they learn how to do it appropriately
• Consistency is critical, don’t have your child complete the task one week and skip the next unless they are alternating with a sibling

Having your children do chores at home may not take the complete burden of housework off your plate, but it will teach them skills that will come in handy as they make their way out into the world.

Wishing you Love and Peace,
Renee

Tired of yelling at your kids download this free PDF How To Create A Token Economy

 

 

 

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom #healthymoms #parenting #parentinglife #diabeticmoms #motivation #divorce #singlemother #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #family #kids #fitmom #coparenting

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, employed single mothers are 40% more likely to have cardiovascular health problems and 74% more likely to have a stroke compared to married moms who worked. They are also 77% more likely to smoke.  This is due to inadequate self-care, stress, lower incomes, and less assistance.

I am on a mission to change these statics, as a former single mom of five, I understand the toll that day to day single parenting can take on us physically and mentally. Today, I want to share with you 3 easy to implement tips that will help you to improve your health and become a healthy role model for your children.

Tip # 1

Get more sleep:  you put your kids on a sleep schedule, you should also be on a sleep schedule.  Figure out how much sleep you need to feel rested in the morning, to create your schedule. schedule.

Tip #2

Get more exercise: as a single mom, I could not afford to join a gym. But, with my family’s health history, I knew I needed to work out.  Who was going to take care of my kids if I couldn’t?   So, I checked out DVDs from our local library and took my children on walks nearly every day at the metro park near our home.  Not only did I lose weight, but it was also a great time to spend with my kids, they were in better shape even though they complained most of the time.

A person standing in a kitchen preparing food

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Tip#3

Cook more meals at home:  The reality is that as a single parent, you are busy from the time you get up until your head hits the pillow.  It’s so easy to just grab burgers from the drive-through, but this isn’t good for your health or your children’s.  Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, affirms these beliefs by saying, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

When you cook more meals at home, you save yourself time, money, and calories.  Plus, you know exactly what ingredients went into your dish, and you can regulate portion sizes more easily than you can if you eat out.

Taking care of your health, will benefit both you and your children, prepare your menu each Sunday and go then only order the groceries you need to prepare this week’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Apps like Instacart allow you to order your groceries from your favorite neighborhood stores, and they will deliver them right to your home.

Illness is something we can prevent or delay by taking the right steps.  Which one of these steps will you implement today?  Just ask yourself the same question that ruminated in my mind, who is going to take care of my children if I can’t?

You’ve found your tribe, join our private Facebook group for more training and support. 

Download your free gift: How to Create a Token Economy  

Wishing you love and peace,

Renee

single mom black

Happy New Year! As we embark on this new year, it’s fun and exciting to think about all the things we hope to accomplish.   I know we are halfway through the month, but, I wanted to ask you what goals have you set for your family.   Or, more importantly what vision have you set for your family?  Your vision will be the inspiration for all that you do this year.  Being a single mom can be scary and overwhelming.  It can also be the most rewarding, fulfilling, and most fantastical journey you’ll ever take.

As with any journey, we can take the overwhelm out of the equation when we have a vision about where we are going.   Parenting is no different.

What will you look back on and be able to say, “Great job- I’m really proud of myself!” about?

What do you want to tackle this year? Are there goals you’d like to achieve, habits you’d like to make, adventures you’d love to take?

On a piece of paper, write down your top 1-5 goals that you’d like to accomplish this year for yourself and your kids.

LookingtotheFuture

This week your challenge is to supercharge our goals and turn them into reality! This exercise might feel strange at first but do it anyway! I promise it’ll be worth it!

Maybe your vision is to get your finances in order, create a disciplinary plan that works, or make your health and your children’s health a priority.   Whatever it is just know that you can achieve it.  That’s the hardest part, knowing that what we want is doable.

Take a few minutes to think about how amazing you’ll feel as you accomplish each thing on your list. Really let yourself feel it all: proud, happy, grateful, amazed, fulfilled – all of it!

Now, write yourself a letter, dated Dec. 31, 2020, congratulating yourself on each and every one of your accomplishments.

Tell yourself exactly why you’re proud of yourself for each one, and go into detail about how it has improved the quality of your life.

Studies show that when we put emotion behind our intentions, we’re more apt to make them a reality.

Put your letter somewhere you can read it on a regular basis (even daily!) so that you remind yourself of what each accomplishment means to you. Post it on the refrigerator to inspire your kids.

First, are you in for this challenge!? If you are, let me know in a comment below! Also, once you write your letter, please share with us one of your biggest takeaways!

Don’t judge your parenting by looking at someone else. Join our tribe, we could use your support. Surviving and Thriving Single Parenthood Facebook Group

#singleparents #singleparentfuel #singleparentslife #stsp #divorcedparents #singparentsupport #singleparenthood #singledad #singlemom

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