Single moms have little time to spend with their children due to all the responsibilities that we carry. That is why it is important to learn how to be effective with the time we do have with our children rather than feel guilty that we don't have as much quantity time as we may desire.

For a single mom to be effective in parenting her children with the limited time she has, she must first understand her own parenting style. Then she must understand each of her children's personality styles. This way she can respond to each individual child in the manner that they will best receive her by focusing on their strengths and nurturing their weakness.

In Hope and Help for the Single Mom's Principle #12, The Principle of Communication, Florence Litteaur speaks about four different personality types from her book, Personality Plus (Revell). They are labeled the Sanguine, the Choleric, the Melancholy and the Phlegmatic.

I have a Choleric personality. That means that my strengths are: extroversion, being a "doer," and optimism. My emotional strengths make me a natural leader. In my work I am goal-oriented, and as a friend I can thrive with very few but enjoy group activities. In my parenting style I motivate my family to action.

My emotional weakness is impatience. At work I don't analyze details well, and as a friend I can be too independent. As a parent I tend to over dominate.

My son on the other hand is the Phlegmatic. He is more of an introvert, a "watcher," and a pessimist. He is very easy-going and relaxed, he is peaceful and agreeable, he can take the good with the bad, and he is very pleasant and enjoyable. Indecisiveness is a weakness for him though, and he is not naturally goal-oriented or organized (then again, what child is?). He can also tend to be judgmental.

We have a real clash in personalities here, and if I am not a careful parent, I could really squash his little personality. When we have our one-on-one time I have to tone down a bit to relate to his relaxed, peaceful personality.

On the other hand, my personality can lift him up to new levels in leadership and motivation. I can use my strengths as a teaching tool to help him.

For example, I help him improve his organizational skills with a daily book that reminds him what his responsibilities are in the morning, afternoon and evening. In the morning, he knows what his Bible reading is for the day. He also has to feed and walk his dog, and say his prayers. In the afternoon he has his chores and homework, and in the evening he takes care of his dog and has specific reading that I have chosen for him to do. He knows what needs to be done and he chooses at what time he is going to do these things.

The beauty of this system is that it balances both of our personality types. It takes the load off of me and prevents me from being a nagging, controlling, dominating parent. Meanwhile it teaches him time management and organization. Both of our needs are met and we are both happy because of it.

With a clear understanding of your unique personality and your children's personalities, you can develop a way of interacting that meets each individual child's needs and you can make the most use of your time with them. Your system may not look like mine, but you will enjoy a stronger, more connected relationship with your children as you learn what works in your family.


Lori Little, A Woman By Design ministry's founder, is the former Director of John C. Maxwell's THRiVE!, Becoming A Woman Of Influence. A major focus of Lori's ministry is the Hope and Help for the Single Mom initiative. Watch for Lori's book Hope and Help for the Single Mom, by Waterbrook Press, in 2005.


21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom offers meaningful messages, helpful advice and loving encouragement for every single mom. To inquire about and order the CD packages, call 1-888-430-HOPE, or visit the website at: www.hope4singlemoms.com.

Dr. Charles Stanley says of the 21 Principles:

"If a single mom will follow these 21 Principles, there is no way for her to fail. She will watch herself grow in her own strength and abilities and become more confident as the leader of her home.

The 21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom is a practical asset for single mothers to apply specific, workable, successful guidelines to her life."