Look for creative ways to meet your needs for time alone and with adult friends, away from your child. Spend some time relaxing, and some pursuing personal growth -- especially spiritual growth. Don't allow your single parenting duties to overtake your entire life. You'll be a much better parent when your own basic needs are met.
Don't leave your child with too much idle time, which is too often filled with dangerous activities. Work with your child to set goals, and invest your time into helping your child work toward those goals through productive, creative activities.
Don't consider remarrying if you're not honestly at the point at which you consider yourself complete as a single person. Make sure that you're truly looking to God to fulfill your needs, rather than another person. If and when you do begin to date, don't introduce the person to your child until the relationship begins to get serious. Maintain purity in your dating relationship, and be sure that the time you spend dating doesn't interfere with your time with your child. Assure your child that he or she will always be a priority in your life. Don't force your child to build a relationship with your dating partner; just gently encourage it, and let your child know that the person will not be a replacement for his or her other parent.
Adapted from Successful Single Parenting by Gary Richmond, copyright 1990 by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Ore., www.harvesthousepubl.com, 1-888-501-6991.
Gary Richmond serves as a pastor to single parents at the Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, Calif. He speaks at Christian camps, churches, and schools throughout the western United States and Canada.
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