Single Moms: 8 Ways To Assert Yourself And Get What You Need
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By Terry Gaspard, Featured Journalist - August 05, 2016

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As a single mom who is taking care of herself and gaining confidence, you are equipping your child with the best tools possible and the self-esteem to move forward with his or her life.

How can you get what you want in life if you are a single mom? First, it is imperative that you focus on the things that are truly important and learn to let other things go. This involves making a commitment to helping your children adjust to your divorce and learning to ask for what you want from others.

Be patient with your children – it will encourage their cooperation. Give your kids time to adjust to the news that their parents are no longer married. Keep in mind that they will need time to get used to their new schedule and they may show signs of distress or withdraw at times. Reassure them that you are there for them and that things will get better.

Truth be told, you can help your children cope with divorce and develop a mindset of being a positive role model for them. In order to do this, you must take care of yourself. Parents who take control of their own lives, with courage and resilience, help their children do the same. Being a single mom draws on every ounce of energy from you, forcing you to become a more compassionate person.

Learn to trust yourself and embrace your new life by taking care of you. For example, sign up for yoga or an exercise class, eat healthy, and schedule in social times with friends. You will be a more effective parent if you’re rested and feel connected to others. Counseling, coaching, or a support group can be helpful supports that will enhance your transition to your new life.

Studies show that women are socialized to be obedient and responsible, which sets the stage for non-assertiveness. It's natural for girls to grow up feeling that it's desirable to be in a good mood, flexible, and to subordinate their needs to others. Over time, a lack of setting boundaries in relationships can damage a woman's sense of self-worth. Fortunately, this damage is reversible with self-awareness and support from others. The first step to recovering from being a people pleaser is self-awareness. 

Before you can begin to build successful relationships, you must have healthy self-esteem – which means believing in yourself. The breakup of a marriage can cause you to take stock and realize that divorce can be an opportunity for growth. One of the first things to consider is: how do you treat yourself? No one is going to treat you with respect if you beat yourself up. Get rid of all those self-defeating thoughts in your head – such as calling yourself “stupid” that won’t help you get back on your feet.

8 ways to get what you need as a single parent:

1. Examine your childhood experiences and ask yourself: Do I ignore my own needs due to seeking other’s approval or caring for others? Counseling and keeping a journal can aid you in this process.

2. Accept that you simply can’t be liked by everyone. There will always be those who don’t agree or approve of your words or actions. You can’t control what others think of you. We all have unique perceptions based on our personalities and upbringing. Challenge your self-defeating thoughts about your self-worth. You don’t need to prove yourself to others.

3. Treat yourself with respect and compassion rather than judging yourself. Begin with paying attention to your own needs and feelings rather than ignoring them.

4. Create a positive vision for your life and set goals: Take control of your life and develop a clear picture of where you are heading. Decide what your values are for raising your children and start with setting three goals that are meaningful to you. Keep in mind that it can take up to a month to see any change.

5. Prioritize. Make a list of several priorities for each month, week, and day. Use a positive intention to guide you such as "I will do three things for myself today." Write your intentions down and keep them where you can see them, such as on your refrigerator or desk.

6. Seek first to understand: then to be understood: Open up the lines of communication with your kids. Take every opportunity to listen, support, and encourage them to talk about their feelings with you and/or someone they trust. Think about how you want them to remember you in the years to come.

7. Ensure smooth transitions. Work with your children and possibly your ex to reduce stress in the lives of your children. Children often experience stress transitioning from parent to parent or moving after divorce. Try your best to develop routines for their leaving and coming home. Attempt to be flexible yet consistent with the custody schedule. Keep in mind that as kids reach adolescence they may become rebellious about following the original custody schedule and need to exert more control.

8. Be proactive: Get support for yourself and your children. This includes counseling, social outlets, and childcare. Avoid playing the role of victim and remind yourself that things will get better over time.

Take a moment to consider that becoming more assertive can help you to act from a place of personal power and help you to build confidence. As you become better able to express your thoughts, wishes, and desires don’t be surprised if your family, partner, or friends react in a negative way. They may need time to adapt to the “new” you but if you learn to set healthy boundaries in relationships your sense of self to soar as you build self-respect.  By learning to be more assertive, you will no longer feel like a victim. Making yourself a priority isn’t the same as being selfish. You are worth the effort and deserve a freer, happier life.

The key to successful single parenting is to reflect daily upon the importance of preparing for your new life and accepting that change is necessary. It will take time for you and your children to adjust to your new lifestyle but developing a positive mindset will help ease the transition. It’s essential that you develop daily habits and routines to smooth the way for you and your children.

As a parent who is taking care of herself and gaining confidence, you are equipping your child with the best tools possible and the self-esteem to move forward with his or her life. Experiencing parental divorce can set the stage for children to become self-reliant because they often live between two homes and are good at multi-tasking. Encourage your children to be independent but still, place limits and controls on their actions.

Your divorce can be a transforming event, and you alone are responsible for creating a new kind of family for you and your children. You can choose to model self-acceptance and hope for your kids. Learning to focus on the big picture will enable you and your kids to make a good adjustment to divorce.  

Terry Gaspard on Facebook, Twitter, and

More from Terry

6 Ways to Mend Trust After Divorce

Building Resiliency in Children After Divorce

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