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This responsibility corresponds with a voice in family decisions as single parents discuss things like major purchases and vacation choices with their children that adults in a two parent household share. The reality of time management, household responsibilities and child-care can leave a parent feeling overwhelmed, under stress, fatigued, and guilty about the lack of quality time shared with their child. These feelings can make effective consistent discipline as a single parent a challenge.

Single Parents Need Effective Strategies for Managing Discipline

Single mothers face a challenging task building a relationship of open communication with their children so that they can identify potential discipline problems. The changing relational dynamics between the parent and child can manifest with behaviors indicative of a "Strong Willed Child." Discipline for a strong willed child needs to come from a firmer hand with greater love.

A strong willed child is confident, spunky, and involved with life. As we develop discipline for a strong willed child we need to protect and encourage those fabulous qualities and gain their cooperation with effective strategies.

While there is no best child discipline for single moms, the following strategies, when consistently applied, improve behavior management and the relationship between the parent and the child.

  • House Rules - a set of 3-5 discipline rules that apply in every situation and reviewed often to reinforce expectations and develop children's awareness of their behavior.
  • Praise - children crave their parent's approval and acknowledgement of achievements. Praise their efforts to work hard at following your directions and seek out opportunities to praise them every day.
  • Voice Tone - raising our voices or yelling only teaches our children to tune us out. Develop a serious voice tone that you can turn on when you want your kids to know you are serious - use this tone when you're issuing a warning.
  • Boundaries - make children aware of "where the line is;" boundaries reinforce the belief that children are capable of managing their own behavior in certain situations.
  • Redirect - redirecting your children's attention to an age appropriate activity or toy; especially helpful with young children who are exploring curiosity.
  • Ignore - sometimes you can ignore unpleasant behavior to teach children to modify their behavior on their own.
  • Time Out - remove your child from a misbehavior situation - use one minute for each year of age and do not engage with the child during their time out.
  • Privileges - remove privileges by placing toys, video games, and even favorite clothes into a time out by removing your child's access to them.
  • Natural Consequences - allow the natural consequences of your child's actions speak for themselves
  • Modification - use charts and calendars to help a child become aware of their behaviors and track modification with an award system.

Effective discipline strategies can help, especially when carrying out discipline becomes too demanding. If you are unsure about reasonable limits check with other parents. Post these rules and strategies to remind yourself to follow through with discipline and mean what you say.

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