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How to Parent When There is No Father?
Obviously, this is not the ideal situation; however, single-moms are not without hope. I know because I was raised by a single-mom! There is much that could be said in response to this question, but I’ll try to just mention a few key principles. These principles and ideas come both from the Word of God and from those who have walked this path before you!
Principle #1: Begin each day with the Lord (prayer & meditating on His Word).
My mother has told me on numerous occasions that she would not have survived as a single-mom raising 3 kids without the strength, comfort, wisdom, and hope that came from Christ and His Word. This is, by far, the most neglected area of life for many single-moms, and it’s easy to justify simply because life itself can be so exhausting. All the more reason to make this top-priority!
If you need some guidance in this area, find a mature Christian, and ask them how they do it. Keep it simple, but regular. If you are new to having devotions, I recommend that you start with the book of Proverbs. There is one chapter for each day of the month (31) and it is basically a parenting manual! Don’t make it a burden; just take time to talk with the Lord, and listen as He shares His truth and wisdom through His Word. Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) and I believe He meant it.
Also, keep in mind; your children are watching you. I believe this is one of the greatest gifts that my mother gave to me! Honestly, I don’t remember ever waking up and NOT seeing her sitting in the family room with her Bible in her lap, praying. This had a profound effect in my life! My children will have the same testimony. They have never known anything different, and I attribute that to the faithful example of my godly mother (Deut. 6:4-9).
Principle #2: Develop a parenting plan, and stick to it.
There is no question that being a single-parent is going to be more difficult and demanding in some ways for the obvious reason – you have to wear all the hats! Having said this, it doesn’t mean that life has to be miserable and frustrating. One thing that will help a lot is to develop some simple routines in family life that teach skills and build character in your children. The more that you learn to work together as a team (with your kids), the less exhausted you will be. Included in this plan will be routines that teach honor, cooperation, responsibility, hard work, accountability, and discipline. I recommend that you check out the resources available at the National Center for Biblical Parenting –www.biblicalparenting.org. Especially helpful are the FREE email Parenting Tips! There are also many articles, books, and CD’s full of helpful ideas.
Principle #3: Team up with other single-parents (of the same sex).
Talking with other single-parents can be a source of great encouragement, prayer support, and creative ideas. Consider starting or joining a single-parent support group or ministry in your church. Again, there are many good resources out there – inexpensive, or even free, if you are willing to do just a little searching. Your efforts will be rewarded with new friendships and help in practical ways. I know of some moms who call each other on a weekly basis just to “debrief” and pray with each other. This is the “one another” ministry the Bible speaks of, and sadly, many parents miss out on this. Consider it a wise investment in your child’s future.
Principle #4: Invite other godly male influences into your child’s life.
Talk with your pastor about this to see whom they might recommend. Other men can teach your children things that will be good for them that you may not be able to. I remember when I was about 13 years old, my mother asked an older man in our church, who had finished raising his three sons, to take me hunting. He did, and it turned into an annual event for the next few years that was both fun and instructive for me during a time when I needed the example of a man. I learned some important things from that kind and generous man, and I’m grateful that my mother was brave and wise enough to do that for me. I realize that, for some moms and kids, this might feel especially “risky”, but there are still plenty of good, trustworthy “mentors” out there that could be a blessing in your child’s life. One final note on this one: the goal is not to find a “father” for your child or a relationship for you. I say this respectfully, but it’s a common cycle that some have fallen into, and it often leads to further hurt, confusion, and disappointment. Stay accountable, and keep your intentions clear.
Principle #5: Don’t waste any more time and energy looking back.
The Bible teaches us to move onward and upward in Christ as we walk by faith (Phil. 3:12-16). Take encouragement in the promises of His Word (Rom. 8:1, 28), and you won’t be so easily fooled or distracted by the enemy (Satan). Too many moms allow themselves to be “crippled” by guilt for the past, discouragement in the present, and fears of the future. If you are in Christ, you are forgiven and free, and totally secure in Him. He never promised that you would have peace with the world, the flesh, or the devil – but you can have peace with Him – so push those distracting thoughts off onto the Lord, and get on with the business of enjoying, loving, and training your children for His glory!
You have a high and holy calling, mothers! It is a lot of hard work that will require humble faith and plenty of the grace of God, but it’s totally worth it! In the Lord, you can do it. Your children are a heritage from God (Ps. 127) and He has a soft spot in His heart for you and your kids. Don’t grow weary in doing good; you will reap a harvest in due season if you don’t give up (Gal. 6:9).