Finding yourself alone and responsible for a child or children to rear can be intimidating. You want to make the right decisions and properly provide necessities and structure. Began your new life by carefully setting boundaries. Think of boundaries like fences around yourself and around your children. You will be the one who decides who can come into the area close to you and your children and what the rules will be.
Boundaries with others – As you are interacting with others who will be spending time with your children including grandparents, friends, former partner and even a daycare center? Make a list of what your comfort level is regarding:
- How much time will your children be with others?
- Where will others take your children?
- Will there be sleepovers?
- Will volunteers expect something in return for the favor?
Personal boundaries – Because you have gone though a loss, whether through divorce, breakup or death, you will have emotional times as you grieve. Set up boundaries for yourself concerning who you trust with personal feelings.
- Keep your personal information off of chat rooms
- Do not speak to your children about your adult issues
- Anger is a part of the grieving process. Protect these feelings by keeping them private. Start a journal where you can vent until you get it all out. Then burn it!
- Be careful with friends, especially those who were friends when you were part of a couple, they will not want to be caught in the middle.
- If a professional is available who will be bound by confidentially rules, this would be a safer choice when you really need someone to listen.
Boundaries with your children –
- This would not be a good time to allow a child to share your bed. It could really complicate any future relationships and once started is hard to stop.
- Plan a designated time in your day or week for yourself. It does not have to be a whole day; even an hour or two will give you a break. Do not feel guilty about taking some time away from your children. You need time to recharge your emotional batteries. Whether you watch a favorite adult movie, read a book, or go for a jog, find a way to plan your alone time.
- Children need structure, so be careful to maintain the same house rules that they have always had. They need to know that their whole life has NOT changed.
Boundaries concerning your decisions – When you go through a crisis, others who love you are supportive and helpful. But be careful about what help you take. Your goal is to be strong and independent, so only accept the kind of help that moves you in that direction. Moving in with parents will be tempting and may be right for some but not necessarily the best choice for all single parent families.
Set boundaries regarding advice – When you are vulnerable, others sometimes think that they know what is best for you, so you may get well intentioned but unsolicited advice! Plan how you will react to these suggestions. Decide how to politely listen and respond with a positive comment that makes it clear that you appreciate the counsel and will consider it as YOU decide what you are going to do!
As you work through planning your future as a single parent, making decisions concerning boundaries will help keep you be in control of where you are going!