5 Life Lessons Single Moms Can Learn from Their Children

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By Benna Strober, Psy.D., Guest Author - November 28, 2016

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As parents, we learn it is our job to teach our children life lessons both big and small. We want to protect our children from all that is bad in this world and enrich their lives with all good things. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, particularly when going through one of life’s most stressful and sad times.. a divorce.

No one gets married with the intention of getting divorced. But it happens. While we try to get through it as best we can, many times it might seem we’re doing everything wrong, and to make that even worse, our kids are watching. It is important to know that while our kids are learning from us, we can learn just as much, if not more, from them.

Here are 5 valuable life lessons a single mom, or any parent, can learn from her kids.

1. Live in the Present:  Dwelling on the past can lead to depression and regret. Thinking of the future can cause significant anxiety. Remaining in the present is the place you are now and all you should be focusing on. Your kids want to be with you, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Enjoy the moments with them before they are gone. Once you can learn to enjoy the beauty of the moment you are in you can see how peaceful your life can become.

2. Laugh: Kids always seem to find something to smile about, laugh about, enjoy. They don’t know yet to only focus on the negatives, which is a learned behavior. Talk with a friend, watch a short video with laughing babies or silly pets. Ask your child to tell you a joke or a funny story. Take the lesson from your kids and try to focus more on positive things, even little ones, and find a reason to laugh every day. It really is the best medicine!

3. Accept people for who they are: Your kids love you unconditionally and do not care how well you sing or whether or not you can cook them gourmet meals. They appreciate you for who you are, warts and all. It is important to remember that no one is going to be that perfect person and that you have to learn to accept them for who they are and not for who you want them to be.

4. Say you are sorry: When our kids are little we are quick to tell them to “say sorry” when they hurt someone, yet for many of us it is a much more difficult thing to do to apologize to someone and instead wait for the other person to do it first. This just prolongs the problem that could be easily solved by an apology instead of a dragged out argument, that later on, you might then not even remember what it was about. Usually, there are two sides to every story and if you can keep your side of the street clean you can feel better and have a clear conscience about the argument.

5. Forgive and Move On: As adults, many of us do not know how to forgive- maybe we see it as a way of giving in or losing. We find it hard to let go of what the other person said or did to us. But when we hold on to the anger it is not doing anything to the other person and instead could be eating you up inside. Take the lesson from your kids who are very resilient and forgiving. One day you might be the worst mom ever and then, later on, you are the best in the world. See how that happened when they just let go of the anger, accepted you for who you are and moved on?

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