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Parenting without a partner

April 11, 2017
Ami Cook , MOV Parent

I don't have a partner. How can I do this by myself?

Parenting is hard work. Some people choose to be single parents, some relationships end and some people are forced to parent alone due to military deployments. Parenting without a partner carries its own set of unique challenges. Let's look at some ways to make single-person parenting easier on the parent and the child(ren).

Here are some tips to help you be the parent you really want to be.

When we spend time together we learn about each other and have the ability to enjoy each other's company. It shows our children that we value them and being with them is important to us.

We should spend time together as a family and with individual children as time allows. A child who feels loved has increased self-esteem, which can keep them from falling into bad patterns of alcohol and drug abuse, failing grades, eating disorders and other risky behaviors children, and especially teenagers, may engage in.

Family meetings get the whole family on the same page so everyone knows the problem and everyone can be part of the solution. People are much more likely to follow an idea if they helped to create it. This is the perfect chance to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

Set ground rules for meetings:

There are no rules for which meals you need to eat together, so if you have more time in the morning, then have a family breakfast. Being together and talking to each other is the most important part of the meal. Restrict TV, cell phone and other distractions. You may need to entice your kids with their favorite meals to get the process started and then convince them how fun and heartwarming eating together as a family can be by showing genuine interest in their day, what's going on in their lives, what they need help with, or new things they are interested in.

Our attitude, habits and practices have the most influence over our children and their future behavior than any other person or thing, so make sure it's a positive influence.

Ami Cook, M.S., C.R.C., is a WVU Extension Service instructor for Braxton and Clay counties. Contact her at or



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