Being a single parent can be overwhelming. Single parents fill multiple roles and often feel pulled in several directions.

If they have children in elementary school, practicing these principles will help their children succeed:


  • Let your child's teacher be aware of problems at home so they can be sensitive to him/her at school.

  • If problems develop at school, determine if it is a reaction to family change, a learning problem, or a social problem. Accurately identify the source of the problem. Most problems in school are not caused by being from a single-parent family.

  • Single-parent children are more at risk for development of academic and behavioral problems at school. Family changes may cause your child to be distracted by personal concerns, making him/her unable to focus on schoolwork. Often problems won't appear during the initial change, but may surface later.

  • If your child is teased because they are from a single-parent home, help him/her rehearse responses for
    365 Positive Strategies for Single Parenting></I> by Susan B. Brown and Monica Simmons. Copyright
    From: 365 Positive Strategies for Single Parenting by Susan B. Brown and Monica Simmons. Copyright (c) 1998. Used by permission. Peake Road, an imprint of Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., Macon, Ga. 1-800-747-3016. http://www.helwys.com

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    future encounters. Acknowledge the pain the child experiences. If teasing persists, contact the teacher.

  • Extracurricular activities provide the opportunity for your child to develop friendships, social skills, sportsmanship, and leadership. It also provides you with other adults with whom to interact.

  • Establish discipline guidelines for yourself and your child. Be consistent. Rules will give your child a sense of security, often lacking in single-parent children.

  • Early elementary curriculum often focuses on nuclear families. Discuss this with your child, and the teacher, so they will be sensitive to other family models.

  • Your child may feel responsible for the breakup of the family. Adjusting to change in the loss of a parent may manifest itself in acting-out behaviors, immature behavior, sleeping or eating problems, illness, or lack of interest in activities.

  • Minimize changes in your child's daily routine. Don't change meal and bedtime routines. These changes create more stress. Stick with your previous routines.

  • Be aware that your child may try to manipulate you by using guilt, motivated by the need for attention, power, or revenge. The child may work one parent against the other in an attempt to get toys or privileges, as proof of your love. Do not give in to feelings of guilt, or try to buy love. This only makes him/her feel more insecure. What your child really needs is reassurance of your love.

  • Include the absent parent in school activities, sending copies of report cards, and schoolwork. The parent will see the value of your child. The real benefit is to your child, who will be relieved to have communicated what is important to him/her with the absent parent.


Susan B. Brown holds a doctorate in learning disabilities, and is an associate professor at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. She has hosted seminars on "Parenting Special Needs Children" for 20 years, and speaks at national and state conventions on behalf of children. She is the single parent of twin teen-age boys.

Monica Simmons, an author of several children's books, taught handicapped children for 13 years, and taught at the University of Georgia for two years where she is now pursuing a doctorate in educational curriculum. She has been a guest speaker on education at state and national levels. Simmons is the single parent of two elementary school-aged children.

Originally posted on Crosswalk.com's Live It Channel, bringing you today's best advice from Christian books.