Single parent families can be complete just the way they are

When starting a family, many envision harmony and understanding with all family members. Whether that vision is reality or fantasy depends on what both spouses bring to the union. The configuration of the family before the separation is a forecast of what the family will become after separation. While no family is perfect, some single parents get it mostly right.

You can be a complete family just the way you are, if what is meant is “complete as a single parent family,” but you may want to change the family configuration if the meaning includes a bonded family growing in maturity.  Family models either give what is needed to move forward or hold one in place with little investment for personal growth.

It’s interesting to observe that single parent families with divorced parents are referred to as “broken” families, yet other single parent families such as those who lose a parent through death carry no such label. Isn’t it possible that even two-parent families can be broken and incomplete? To answer the question, we need a good working knowledge of what it means to be a complete family.

Complete families live in the present reality

While all families have different configurations, there are some things a whole family does differently than those labeled as troubled and “broken” families. Living in the present reality and reliance on one another for emotional security are the important aspects of a complete family.

You can be a complete family just the way you are if family members are connected and share the responsibility of family concerns. Children who have a voice in the family feel empowered with permission to speak about their feelings and opinions regarding the separation. This may bring immediate conflict, but working through conflicted feelings relieves anxiety and creates a stronger bond.

Temper outbursts occur with the internal turmoil of separation but learning to express them appropriately is a life lesson that parent and children will carry forever. Chances are excellent that this lesson on appropriate self-expression will provide tools for their own choices as they experience the world.

Obviously, very young children don’t possess the language skills needed for expression, and their needs require a different approach. Yet, the need for emotional security remains the central focus of living in the present.

Studies show that many children of one-parent homes reach maturity and self-reliance earlier than others. This often comes through having to take a job to help meet their need for education, clothing, and social activities. If they’ve learned to live in the present reality, they’re already on their way to making good choices.

Living in the present means to be aware of the present moment with what is happening externally with the family and what is happening inside the family boundaries but having stated that, its important for single parents to resolve a great many personal issues that impact family life.

Take time for your personal needs

As a single parent, you will grow stronger, that’s a given. It’s also imperative to stay physically healthy and connected to other people.Make time for your health by getting the proper nutrition and rest as much as is humanly possible. Seek and find interaction with adults who know what you’re experiencing. Many have been through it and you can learn from their successes and failures.

Make time to reflect upon your own thoughts and feelings about the present. What do you feel inside about the direction of your family as directed by finances, social environment, and safety? It doesn’t cost any money to think, and you may be surprised at your resourcefulness.

Learning to live in the present has benefits for the entire family. Though the family may be challenged financially, money is always vulnerable, as we’ve learned from the recent economic meltdown. Nothing can replace your family and you can be a complete family if you understand that single concept.