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When your child begins to act out after the divorce, it seems like, in a business sense, that your child is trying to be a CEO of the family! Some of that is okay because they are stretching their communication legs to state who they are (or think they are) and what they want from the family structure. It’s tough when you’re a single parenting after your marriage has dissolved. Coping with divorce and helping children cope with that, as well as helping them learn to become an independent being, can be difficult. The best way to circumvent this behavior from repeating over and over is to set rules within the house and also have a conversation with your ex (if you aren’t really on speaking terms, then I propose you use e-mail). This conversation will be about creating the same rules in both homes.
With consistency and same rules applying, there is less wiggle room for tantrums and mutiny. You can create an agreement that you can tell your child about, and they can sign to make it official. You can say to your child “Oh really, daddy (or mommy) said you have ice cream for dinner whenever you want? Let’s go call him now and find out if that’s true.” Watch how quickly your child says, “Just kidding.” The more you say, “Let’s ask daddy or mommy” the more this behavior will cease.
Now, remember it takes 21 days to break a habit (at least for adults) so be patient and know when this behavior ceases something else will pop up. It’s ALL age appropriate. Talk to other parents with children the same age that are single parents and you’ll see what I mean. Share tips with each other — it’s actually fun.
Your child is testing his/her power by manipulating, and as they grow, so do the tests. So, take your vitamins and show your child who is the adult and the boss, and allow them to take responsibility for their actions by saying, “let’s call daddy…” Chances are you’ll never have to make that call!