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Single Parenting a Teen

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One parent, one teen: parenting strategies?

May 2006

I have been avidly following the string of thoughts about how to begin parenting this adolescent girl. It's fascinating and educational. But, I'm wondering if people could comment on how they have done this as a single parent? I am a single mother of a single 15 year old girl. We are getting into it and even though I was raised by a single mother, it still feels like unknown territory, and I'm going one step at a time. Someone said, and I totally second this thought, you really have to find your own way in working things out, there is not one or two ways to raise children, but sometimes, I know I do, run out of ideas! (That's what's so great about the PN). While we are all unique and we have unique relationships to each other, there are commonalities, especially when it comes to single-parenting. I am interested in reading stories about how to navigate privacy issues (at home, on the phone/Internet, with friends, etc.); loneliness for either person, and granting more freedom for the teen without feeling like you are losing your companion, dealing with unreliable people who you thought would be stand-in ''aunts'' and ''uncles''; decision-making; how you have kept your head on in a crisis and are alone with fixing it (!); what to do about the other parent not being communicative; and whatever else people have experienced in this process! I also would like to read about the joyful things too. It's not a negative thing to be a single parent of a single child, just challenging at times. It can be extremely fulfilling and beautiful. I have had the best freedom-filled moments ever, with my daughter! I will appreciate any and all comments! single mom looking for clues


I have been a single parent since my daughter, now almost 18, was 3 years old. Since her father lives in another state, she lives with me 12 months a year and visits her dad for a couple of weeks twice a year, however she talks to him on the phone every couple of days, so they have kept a reasonably close relationship.

Partly because money issues when she was young, partly because of my inclination, I have used babysitters only occasionally and often because of work related obligations. Consequently my social life was tightly interconnected with hers - I'm not the home buddy type - and I was lucky enough to find friends with whom was easy to organize outings that included my daughter and she was always considered a full participant even when she was young rather than a tag along.

As she gained more independece with age, I enjoyed to have more time for activities that she didn't like. When she got to her mid teens and started having more and more outings with her friends, we made a point of doing one thing together every weekend - maybe breakfast at the corner cafe', maybe going to a movie, maybe volunteering somewhere.

I have always trusted her and she hasn't given me reason to change my mind. Basically I assumed that I could trust her, and she kept up with it. I ask a lot of questions about her life, which is in part because I'm curious about it and in part to know that all is well. She doesn't seem to mind too much my questions, and I try not to sound like I'm probing. Do I know if she's not telling me something? Of course I don't know, but I prefer to trust her until I find out I should do otherwise.

As for disappering adult figures, I have tried to keep the iformation about their departure as simple and direct as possible. She knows that at least two people in her life will not disappear (her mom and her dad), so it has been ok.

Good luck! single parent for a while


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