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2.22.2013

Rise Above

Finally that time came... Dexter realized that the picture frame that held a photo of his dad wasn't actually his dad, but the man in the picture was.

I guess I wanted to write this to help other moms that have to deal with abandonment/spouse loss. So what do you do when you're child starts asking questions?? How do you raise them to be a strong child??

** As a disclaimer, just know that I don't really have answers and everyone's method is different this is simply just how I have handled things. I can only hope that it will help single parents out there.

1) Move On & Get Over It
This was thee hardest thing for me, I knew I didn't want a relationship with his father but I knew the pain of doing it alone. No doubt how you were treated was shitty but that strain in your relationship is between you two and NOT between the absent parent and your child. Just because your relationship is sour doesn't mean theirs will be, make that separation. I love this proverb 

"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." 

Don't let your bitterness get in the way of things, let go, rise above and become the stronger person.

2) Don't Teach Hate
Kinda a no brainer right? Well honestly this is easier said than done. What I mean by this is not speaking illy of their other parent, even if you think your child is not in the room. This kinda goes along the lines of #1 but at a different level. Now I'm not saying praise the other parent or not speaking the truth, I'm just saying don't talk negatively of them. Even venting to family and friends can lead to a pattern and before you know it you've slipped up and said something that your child overheard. Try not to fill your child's head with images that YOU have of the absent parent, when your child is old enough they will learn on their own. Let them make that choice.

In reality speaking poorly of anyone will just teach your child to learn the action of hate and not forgiveness. We have to keep in mind that everyone is fighting their own different battles and just because the moment isn't right doesn't mean they are a bad person (they're just a person that have made different/poor choices).


3) Don't Lie
Whatever you choose to do, don't sugar coat it. Obviously there's things your child won't understand until they're old but don't tell your child 'Daddy lives in another state' when he lives in a nearby town. 

I've consulted with many people on this issue (since my parents have been married for 32 years I was clueless to this) and it was hard finding the balance of explaining to Dex the situation and not putting words into the absent parents mouth. My great friend Jenn told me this:

"Me and your dad (or mom) made different choices and I chose you."

This doesn't put words into the absent parents mouth, speaks truth and yet ends with love.

4) Start Early
 The earlier you start all of this the more 'normal' it will be. I feel that along with being honest starting early will help the questions that come.

5) Frame A Picture/Make A Book
This was a HUGE debate for me. I don't want Dexter to have a complex but I knew when he got older he was bound to ask questions and want to see what his father looked like. So at 6 months I printed off pictures of his dad. Every now and then I'd pull them out tell him "This your dad we made different choices and I chose you." When he was a year and a half I framed one for him to keep in his room. If for whatever reason Dexter's father decides he wants to finally meet his son (that's no typo, Dex and his dad have never met) I didn't want Dexter to have to meet someone he knows nothing about.
6) Teach About Different Families
I go over this a lot with Dexter, I want him to be accepting of everyone. In today's modern world families come in all shapes. I want to teach him that there is no such thing as a 'traditional' family. Almost every week we go over the types of families. 

"Some families have one dad, some have one mom, some have two dads and some have two moms. Some have a mom and a dad and they're are families with no moms and dad's but grandpas and grandmas"

I don't want him to think that just because it's the two of us that we're not a family. We are and I won't treat it any other way.

7) Love On Them Daily
Okay so I'll admit, I got this from The Help but I love it. Everyday tell you're child their qualities and why you love them. Mine for Dex is 

"You are smart, you are handsome, you are important, you are kind, you can be anything you want to be and I love you to the moon and back."

The great thing about this is each child is different, pointing out their qualities makes them feel all warm and fuzzy.

Now I'm still learning as I go and I keep my heart open for new advice. I think you definitely have to figure out what works for you situation. However, I hope this helps single parents out there that are trying to raise a strong child.







 

7 comments:

  1. This is some great advice. When Dex is older, he's going to look back in wonder at how strong his momma was, and is!

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  2. thank you :) I'm just hoping it helps because I was at a loss on how to handle the situation properly.

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  3. I so agree with number 2. When my parents divorced, my mom never talked bad about my father to any of her children. and when I was older, I was able to see him for who he really was and make up my own mind. great advice :)

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  4. I just stumbled upon your blog and fell head over heels. You are so inspiring. Stay strong and keep blogging!

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  5. sorry but I think showing a child a pic of their other parent and say this is your father we made different choices I choose you is a horrible thing to say to a child... basically you have been telling your child he isn't good enough for his other parent your probably better off just showing pics of his dad and telling him who it is and probably leave out the self praise on what you chose.. do you really want your son to grow up thinking all broken families the parent the child is with chose the child. because I know more cases where the mother keeps the child from the father for their own reasons and then blames it on choice of the father but in reality it wasn't.... I grew up with a single mom and 2 sisters. and my father, made the choice to sign his rights away.. .. he did that.. I know he did that.. but my mom never ever once told me "I CHOSE YOU".. which I am glad.. because one day it can come across as I chose you now YOU OWE ME.. .. I have seen it so many times... .. what my mother did for me was try and try and try and try to get my father to make time for us.. until we were grown that was the good thing she did for us.. .. was try.. .. not give me a stupid excuse like I CHOSE YOU.. cause really I kid doesn't give two shits that there parent chose them all they care about is that the other one didn't.. so best thing in my opinion would be to tell the child the truth unless they are at danger with the other parent..... anyways my best friend and I plan to stay together for the rest of our living days.. hope all is going well with your situation as you are right all are different.. .. thanks for the good read..

    CWB

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    1. Thank you for voicing your concern. I'm sorry about your dad not being there as much as you'd would have liked him to. I wrote this because my son and I were abandoned. I do not receive child support despite the many efforts (and continuing efforts) to collect it. My son has never met is biological dad and I have not seen him since I was a few months pregnant. He told me when I choose to go through with the pregnancy that he was not going to be there. Every single mom's story is different and I'm sure my advice wouldn't apply to those fathers that are active in their child's life even if it's a few times a year. With my situation I knew after trying and trying to get his biological dad to come around he would not, that I was doing this on my own, completely. I knew that my son would never see the face of his dad and that eventually he's going to notice other kids have one. So in my case I chose to show him the picture, this way if his biological dad ever came around there was a face to him. Now that wouldn't work with kids that see their dad regularly. I tell him that I chose you because his dad didn't chose him, at all, which to a kid can be devastating. I didn't want him thinking that he wasn't good enough for his dad because he dad made different choices, because in my case he did. He choose not to have any sort of involvement. If he was still remotely involved in anyway I would be able to tell him that we made different choices but we both still choose you. So yes, most of this advice isn't for the divorced single mom. It's for the mom's that are completely alone when raising their child(ren). In my situation I choose not to lie to my son, his biological dad is not around, not even 1%. I did not want to put words into his biological dad's mouth and all I could do is speak for myself and make sure that my son feels loved. My son is now 4 (going on 5 very soon) and started to ask questions when he was 3. I answered them as honestly as possible with ending on how loved he still was. He has responded greatly to it all. I'm currently happily married to my best friend now and my son made the choice to call him dad. Life is a bunch of choices, we may not be able to control others but we can control our own :)

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  6. What a beautiful mom and baby! :)

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