By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
It is very important to understand that there is a large relationship between how parents are managing their feelings and how well or poorly children do.
One place where this shows up particularly is in single parent families. However, these issues may also be kept in mind when families go through any kind of trauma to which everyone must adjust.
One primary concern of single parents is the effect this family configuration will have on the children. How you handle your ambivalent feelings about loss (you may feel relieved and hurt at the same time)and how you approach your new state of affairs will determine how your children will cope and adjust.
This does not mean that you should feel you must be strong and in control of your feelings and your life right away or at all times. If you have recently lost the other parent through death, you may be suffering intense feelings of shock, disorientation, and pain. You may find that the things that were once easy to do are now difficult.
It is important to give yourself time to recover and to enlist the help of other family members while you do that.
It is also important to realize that children are very strong and resilient and that can adjust as they see you adjusting.
The children will wonder who is going to take care of them. This is why they need to be surrounded by family and need to see that you are managing, although, very probably, imperfectly.
Keep in mind, that there will be difficult times. This holds true for divorce, death, or other life crises. However, in time, things will get easier. Your confidence will grow and you will discover that you can survive the bad times and enjoy the good ones. You will find that you can face challenges, make plans, and take steps to fulfill both your own needs and those of the children. The lesson the children will learn is one of survival and they will have you to thank for it!
Did you know? Children remember long into adulthood how their parents managed in times of crisis.