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Topic : Single Parenting

Number of Replies: 470
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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 12:46:38 pm
Author : dataimport
A family doesn't always include a mom and a dad. If you are raising children alone, get support from people who understand here.

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November 4, 2005, 7:41 am CST

I need help with my pre-teen

 Hi I am the 47 year old mother of a 12 year old boy. His father left when he found out I was pregnant. My son has met his father only once when he was about 9. He has not asked about him sense. Over the years we have had ups and downs and fortunately we have had more ups than downs. 

  

However, over the last couple of years we are having more and more downs. He tells me that he doesn't care about anything. Last night was the straw that broke the camels back. I think we both need cousnelling. However, I don't want to jump into something that may be more harmful. 

  

Let me describe my son to you.  He is 12 years old and gifted. He is currently in a program for the gifted and doing reasonable well. He is receiving A's and B's. He is quiet and very respectful to people outside of the house. Everyone loves him and tells me how wonderful he is. I get to see the otherside of him. Because no one else sees this side. I think it is me and I have done something wrong in raising him. I do try to compensate for him being in a single parent situation and this is probably where I have made my mistakes in raising him. He has not had to want for anything that I could provide without going into debt to get it.   

  

Last night he told me that he hated to me and always have and that I am too blind to see it. I can deal with this comment, because I know he is probably lashing out. What I can't deal with and what hurts the most is the anger that I saw in his eyes. Which leads me to believe that he may mean what he has said.  This morning I woke him to get ready for school. He has not spoken two words to me. I need help or guidance in how to proceed. I am very frustrated and concerned. I realize that it is only going to get worse unless I can fix it or get us both help. 

  

Frustrated in Chicago. 

 
November 4, 2005, 10:36 pm CST

Single Parenting

Quote From: panda58

 Hi I am the 47 year old mother of a 12 year old boy. His father left when he found out I was pregnant. My son has met his father only once when he was about 9. He has not asked about him sense. Over the years we have had ups and downs and fortunately we have had more ups than downs. 

  

However, over the last couple of years we are having more and more downs. He tells me that he doesn't care about anything. Last night was the straw that broke the camels back. I think we both need cousnelling. However, I don't want to jump into something that may be more harmful. 

  

Let me describe my son to you.  He is 12 years old and gifted. He is currently in a program for the gifted and doing reasonable well. He is receiving A's and B's. He is quiet and very respectful to people outside of the house. Everyone loves him and tells me how wonderful he is. I get to see the otherside of him. Because no one else sees this side. I think it is me and I have done something wrong in raising him. I do try to compensate for him being in a single parent situation and this is probably where I have made my mistakes in raising him. He has not had to want for anything that I could provide without going into debt to get it.   

  

Last night he told me that he hated to me and always have and that I am too blind to see it. I can deal with this comment, because I know he is probably lashing out. What I can't deal with and what hurts the most is the anger that I saw in his eyes. Which leads me to believe that he may mean what he has said.  This morning I woke him to get ready for school. He has not spoken two words to me. I need help or guidance in how to proceed. I am very frustrated and concerned. I realize that it is only going to get worse unless I can fix it or get us both help. 

  

Frustrated in Chicago. 

A few things:  

  

1) While there no clear link between your situation as a single parent and any of his behavior, one this is sure. Given your situation, there is addes stress for both yourself and your son. The program for the gifted, while nice on paper is probably adding more unnecessary stress in his life. Your son is getting to the age where being "normal" and fitting are going to be just about the most important things. Why not just let him be a really smart 12 year old? Not only are there less expectations (stress) of him to do well, he will have be in class with the rest of the kids his age. 

  

2) I'm not a professional by any means, I am still an undergraduate. But what I do know is that childhood depression can be tricky because a lot of the signs of childhood depression are things that many kids do (and are not necessarily depressed). But the one thing that really should be a warning sign is something you wrote: "He tells me that he doesn't care about anything." But something else you write alarms me, "I think we both need cousnelling. However, I don't want to jump into something that may be more harmful." Getting proessional help is never a bad thing. Worst case senario, you go in and you fine out everything is fine and maybe you were over reacting and you're out some money. Best case, you find out something is wrong and they are able to help! I would certainly consult a professional. A few things though, make sure you get someone who specializes in Child Psychology, and ask what type of therapy they use. Generally, for depression you are looking for a Cognitive Behavorist (CBT or REBT).  

  

3) "I hate you," isn't that a right of passage? I thought every kid tells their parent(s) that they hate them. I'm sure I did at some point and I have a great relationship with my parents now... and really always have. If you're really concerned that he really does hate you, ask him why he "hates" you.  

 
November 9, 2005, 2:36 am CST

Outsider looking in

This is probably a little off base for this topic.  The single parent I am writing about is my sister.  I have a great amount or respect and admiration for her.  She is raising a little alone, putting herself through college, and has been divorced twice.  I am not sure how she manages to get out of bed each morning.  My hat is off to her and all single parents for their devoted efforts!   

  

My sister and her 5 year old daughter have a very troubled relationship and I am unsure how to help.  Heather has had a lot of rough life experiences, from childhood abuse, to multiple failed marriages etc.  She is very short tempered, demanding and belittling toward her daughter.  They fight constantly, yelling at each other.  This is a 27 year old woman and a 5 year old !  Her daughter is VERY strong willed and stubborn, worse than most teenagers I know.  I love her dearly, but I can only handle her for short periods of time.  I feel guilty admiting that, but it is true.  What, if anything, can I do to help ease the situation?  They have both been in counseling for quite some time and I am not sure it is making any difference.  It has kept my sister from making some poor decisions in the meanwhile, but the parent child relationship is suffering!  Please give me some suggestions! 

 
November 9, 2005, 5:57 pm CST

disrespectful kids

I AM A SINGLE MOTHER WITH THREE GIRLS AGES 14, 9 AND 3.  THEY DONT FEEL THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE TO HELP OUT AROUND THE HOUSE. ALL I ASK OF THEM IS TO PICK UP ANYTHING THEY GET OUT IN THE EVENING AND SORT THEY'RE LAUNDRY TWICE A WEEK. FROM THE REACTION I GET YOU WOULD THINK THAT I ASKED THEM TO SCRUB THE FLOORS. SO OF COURSE TO AVOID A BATTLE I ALWAYS END UP DOING IT FOR THEM. MY PROBLEM IS I CANT STAND TO HAVE A CLUTTERED HOUSE. SO IT IS NOT SOMETHING I AM WILLING TO LET GO. WE ALSO HAVE ISSUES EVERYNIGHT AT DINNER. ONE DAUGHTER IS EXTREMELY PICKY AND REFUSES TO EAT ALMOST EVERYTHING I MAKE. I HAVE ASKED FOR DINNER SUGGESTIONS,HOWEVER SHE WOULD LIKE TO EAT CEREAL EVERYNIGHT.(NOT AN OPTION) I DONT FEEL THAT THAT IS A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE. ASKING THEM TO CLEAR THE TABLE IS RESPONSED BY ROLLING OF THE EYES, SIGHING ETC. 

MY OLDEST DAUGHTER IS NOT SPEAKING TO ME RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I TOOK AWAY HER ABILITY TO ACCESS THE INTERNET. I HAVE PARENTAL CONTROLS SET UP, BUT SHE WAS STILL FINDING WAYS TO VISIT CHAT ROOMS. WE DISCUSSED THE DANGERS OF PREDATORS ONLINE BUT SHE DOESNT FEEL THAT ANYTHING WOULD HAPPEN TO HER. EVEN AFTER I POSED AS HER TO ONE OF THE KIDS SHE WAS TALKING TO AND FOUND HIM TO BE VERY SEXUALLY EXPLICIT. AFTER A PHONE CALL WITH HIS MOTHER I FOUND OUT HE WAS EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL FOR ASSAULT AND BATTERY AND ATTEMPTED MURDER. 

SO NOW ALL I GET IS HATEFUL LOOKS AND ATTITUDE FROM HER BECAUSE I HAVE CUT HER OFF FROM THE INTERNET.  

AS FOR MY THREE YEAR OLD SHE IS OUT OF CONTROL. EVERY DAY FROM MORNING TIL BEDTIME IS CRYING AND TEMPER TANTRUMS. 

I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO OR WHERE TO TURN. I REALLY DONT KNOW HOW MUCH MORE I CAN HANDLE. ANY SUGGESTIONS. 

  

 
November 9, 2005, 10:09 pm CST

Single Parenting

Quote From: loridenton

I AM A SINGLE MOTHER WITH THREE GIRLS AGES 14, 9 AND 3.  THEY DONT FEEL THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE TO HELP OUT AROUND THE HOUSE. ALL I ASK OF THEM IS TO PICK UP ANYTHING THEY GET OUT IN THE EVENING AND SORT THEY'RE LAUNDRY TWICE A WEEK. FROM THE REACTION I GET YOU WOULD THINK THAT I ASKED THEM TO SCRUB THE FLOORS. SO OF COURSE TO AVOID A BATTLE I ALWAYS END UP DOING IT FOR THEM. MY PROBLEM IS I CANT STAND TO HAVE A CLUTTERED HOUSE. SO IT IS NOT SOMETHING I AM WILLING TO LET GO. WE ALSO HAVE ISSUES EVERYNIGHT AT DINNER. ONE DAUGHTER IS EXTREMELY PICKY AND REFUSES TO EAT ALMOST EVERYTHING I MAKE. I HAVE ASKED FOR DINNER SUGGESTIONS,HOWEVER SHE WOULD LIKE TO EAT CEREAL EVERYNIGHT.(NOT AN OPTION) I DONT FEEL THAT THAT IS A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE. ASKING THEM TO CLEAR THE TABLE IS RESPONSED BY ROLLING OF THE EYES, SIGHING ETC. 

MY OLDEST DAUGHTER IS NOT SPEAKING TO ME RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I TOOK AWAY HER ABILITY TO ACCESS THE INTERNET. I HAVE PARENTAL CONTROLS SET UP, BUT SHE WAS STILL FINDING WAYS TO VISIT CHAT ROOMS. WE DISCUSSED THE DANGERS OF PREDATORS ONLINE BUT SHE DOESNT FEEL THAT ANYTHING WOULD HAPPEN TO HER. EVEN AFTER I POSED AS HER TO ONE OF THE KIDS SHE WAS TALKING TO AND FOUND HIM TO BE VERY SEXUALLY EXPLICIT. AFTER A PHONE CALL WITH HIS MOTHER I FOUND OUT HE WAS EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL FOR ASSAULT AND BATTERY AND ATTEMPTED MURDER. 

SO NOW ALL I GET IS HATEFUL LOOKS AND ATTITUDE FROM HER BECAUSE I HAVE CUT HER OFF FROM THE INTERNET.  

AS FOR MY THREE YEAR OLD SHE IS OUT OF CONTROL. EVERY DAY FROM MORNING TIL BEDTIME IS CRYING AND TEMPER TANTRUMS. 

I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO OR WHERE TO TURN. I REALLY DONT KNOW HOW MUCH MORE I CAN HANDLE. ANY SUGGESTIONS. 

  

First let me start by saying that taking away the internet for a little while is a good solution, provided that you follow a few basic rules of punishment/reward. One, you set a specific time for how long you have taken away the internet. Second, that you really clearly explain why you took it away. Also, if you haven't already done so, place the computer in a shared, common place like the kitchen so that anyone can see what is going on.  

  

As far as getting them to pick up, you might just have to suck it up and have a messy house for a little bit. If you tell them to pick up their toys and sort their laundry and you end up doing it for them, all you are teaching them is that if they don't listen to you, you'll do it for them anyway. You need to stop reinforcing that idea that they can get you to do things for them by ignoring the problem long enough. Also, if you haven't already done so, show them specifically what you want them to do when you ask them to pick up their toys or sort their laundry 

  

The picky eater... let her starve. And I don't mean that in an abusive way... what I mean is that you should make food you know she has been willing to eat in the past, and if she doesn't eat it then don't give her anything else to eat. She'll get hungry, and when she does, she'll eat what ever you cooked her. I'm not saying to withhold food. But what I am saying is to make available ONLY the foods which you feel are appropriate... it's like letting a child go outside in the winter with out a jacket, they learn real fast that they need one! 

  

The little one... I have a few good tricks for her :-) A 3 year old is developmentally old enough to feel embarrassment/shame.  If these tantrums are happening in public go right ahead and have a tantrum with her! Get on the ground and go to town with the screaming and whining. You might feel silly, but imagine how stupid your kid will think you look and how embarrassing that will be. Another useful thing that many parents try, but seldom to correctly is Time Out. There are a couple key things that need to happen for time out to be effective.  

  

1) It needs to be issued immediately.  

  

2) The child should be sent somewhere 100% free of ANYTHING that might be rewarding. "Go to your room" is a horrible option. Unless the bedroom is a stark white room with nothing but a bed, there is bound to be something rewarding in here. Rather, send them to the corner of a room where there is nothing rewarding.  

  

3) Time out should be short. And by short I mean less than 30 seconds. Once I heard some guideline like 10 seconds, plus 2 more for each year. So in your 3 year old's case, about 16 seconds. Many learning theorist feel that in order to make an association, the reinforcement must happen with in 1-5 seconds. If you remove the possibility for any reinforcement for 20 than there will be no association made.  

  

4) After time out is over explain to them, very clearly, "______ is what you did. That is not acceptable, and because of that, you got a time out."  

  

Just a few more basics about punishment/reward. First, when possible use a reward rather than a punishment. "If you behave/do ________, then you will get _______."  IF you have to punish, keep in mind that taking away stuff is usually better than adding something (more tasks, or spanking). Also, not only with time out but all punishment, it needs to be immediate... that classic line "wait until your father gets home," is a really bad idea because by that point there won't be any connection between what they did that was wrong and the punishment. And finally, always explain why.  

 
November 14, 2005, 7:11 am CST

Single Parenting

I'm 24 and a single mother to a beautiful 3 yr old daughter.  I'm hoping to get some advise from a neutral source.  I thought that this may be a good place.   

  

I'm wondering what to do about the time my daughter gets to spend with her father and his new fiance.  My concern is that he is exposing our daughter to a lesser quality of life than I find acceptable.  He has always had trouble keeping a job, and periodically pays support.  Currently he is engaged to a 21 year old mother of three, who by the way, is still married.  Seperated but married.  This woman has a daughter who is 6, this girl lives with her grandmother.  She also has two sons who live with their father.  My daughter's father and his fiance live with his fiances father.  Keep in mind that they are both fully capable of working.  She is on welfare and claims all her children even though she has none of them. 

  

In Indiana there is a state guideline for child support and visitation.  He is allowed rite of first refusal.  Which means that while I'm at work, he gets the first opportunity to provide daycare.  If he isn't available, THEN I can take her to the sitter.  However, he is only doing this in an attempt to lower his childsupport.  He gets credit for taking care of her while I'm at work.  Our daughter is enrolled in a private school, which I pay 100% of the tuition.  He has her on the days she is suppost to go school and he has not been taking her.  We've argued over this in court, he felt that a private school was excessive and unnecessary.  The judge said that he didn't have to help pay for any tuition.   

  

Also, last week I found out that she got scabies from being over at their house.  I had to tell all my family and friends about this because it is contagious.  Talk about angry and embarassed!   

  

Yesterday, my sister was at the grocery and overheard my daughters father talking about his new baby due in four months!  He doesn't take care of our daughter, only spends time with her to get a break on support and is an overall bad influence.   

  

I feel sick to my stomach.  I feel like I'm faced with a decision that I don't want to make.  Do I attempt to limit the time she spends with her father.  Including taking him back to court to stop the Tuesday and Thursday daycare.  This would limit his time with her to every other weekend.  My father was never there and I really feel that the father,daugher relationship is very important.  At the same time I don't want her to think is life style.           

 
November 14, 2005, 11:52 am CST

cut off

Looks like I cut off the last part of my post.   

  

Basically, I want the best for my daughter.  I do feel her education is important, I think that preschool at three is a must.  I feel that his focus is on arguing with me about everything, and not on what is best for our daughter.  I feel it is my duty to make sure my daughter grows up happy, healthy, independent  and successful.  I also feel it is my responsibility to make sure that she graduates college.  What to do?????? 

 
November 15, 2005, 1:14 am CST

Single Parenting

Quote From: jenmichele

I'm 24 and a single mother to a beautiful 3 yr old daughter.  I'm hoping to get some advise from a neutral source.  I thought that this may be a good place.   

  

I'm wondering what to do about the time my daughter gets to spend with her father and his new fiance.  My concern is that he is exposing our daughter to a lesser quality of life than I find acceptable.  He has always had trouble keeping a job, and periodically pays support.  Currently he is engaged to a 21 year old mother of three, who by the way, is still married.  Seperated but married.  This woman has a daughter who is 6, this girl lives with her grandmother.  She also has two sons who live with their father.  My daughter's father and his fiance live with his fiances father.  Keep in mind that they are both fully capable of working.  She is on welfare and claims all her children even though she has none of them. 

  

In Indiana there is a state guideline for child support and visitation.  He is allowed rite of first refusal.  Which means that while I'm at work, he gets the first opportunity to provide daycare.  If he isn't available, THEN I can take her to the sitter.  However, he is only doing this in an attempt to lower his childsupport.  He gets credit for taking care of her while I'm at work.  Our daughter is enrolled in a private school, which I pay 100% of the tuition.  He has her on the days she is suppost to go school and he has not been taking her.  We've argued over this in court, he felt that a private school was excessive and unnecessary.  The judge said that he didn't have to help pay for any tuition.   

  

Also, last week I found out that she got scabies from being over at their house.  I had to tell all my family and friends about this because it is contagious.  Talk about angry and embarassed!   

  

Yesterday, my sister was at the grocery and overheard my daughters father talking about his new baby due in four months!  He doesn't take care of our daughter, only spends time with her to get a break on support and is an overall bad influence.   

  

I feel sick to my stomach.  I feel like I'm faced with a decision that I don't want to make.  Do I attempt to limit the time she spends with her father.  Including taking him back to court to stop the Tuesday and Thursday daycare.  This would limit his time with her to every other weekend.  My father was never there and I really feel that the father,daugher relationship is very important.  At the same time I don't want her to think is life style.           

The good news is that morally, you're right. The bad news is, legally, the United State protects JACKASSES like your him. So, what can you do for your child, regardless of his actions? Social support should be high on your list, be it one of your parents or a girl friend of yours who sees your daughter on a regular basis, school activities (e.g. band, sports [and thus coaches], ect) , chruch/worship... point being that all children need soicial support. PARTCULARLY those of single parents. A child ough to have at least 3 supportive, consistant, adults in their life. 

  

The scabies thing, that might be legal grounds, I would read this: 

http://library.adoption.com/child-abuse-and-neglect/definitions-of-child-abuse-and-neglect-indiana/article/8493/1.html 

It's a link to the Indiana State Staute on Child Abuse and Neglect. 

If that seems to fit the case, then perhaps you should consult a lawer.  

  

In most cases, a child ought to have both parents in their life. But when one parent is CLEARLY a failure at life (and needs professional help... e.g. skills training like resume writting, interviewing, etc., and probably a number of other personality issues) then the next best thing is to replace that parent with other STABLE adults. In your case, you probably ought to do everything you can (legally) to take her away from him.  

 
November 15, 2005, 8:26 am CST

Single Parenting

Quote From: tkebobby

The good news is that morally, you're right. The bad news is, legally, the United State protects JACKASSES like your him. So, what can you do for your child, regardless of his actions? Social support should be high on your list, be it one of your parents or a girl friend of yours who sees your daughter on a regular basis, school activities (e.g. band, sports [and thus coaches, ect) , chruch/worship... point being that all children need soicial support. PARTCULARLY those of single parents. A child ough to have at least 3 supportive, consistant, adults in their life. 

  

The scabies thing, that might be legal grounds, I would read this: 

http://library.adoption.com/child-abuse-and-neglect/definitions-of-child-abuse-and-neglect-indiana/article/8493/1.html 

It's a link to the Indiana State Staute on Child Abuse and Neglect. 

If that seems to fit the case, then perhaps you should consult a lawer.  

  

In most cases, a child ought to have both parents in their life. But when one parent is CLEARLY a failure at life (and needs professional help... e.g. skills training like resume writting, interviewing, etc., and probably a number of other personality issues) then the next best thing is to replace that parent with other STABLE adults. In your case, you probably ought to do everything you can (legally) to take her away from him.  

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO RESPOND.  I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR ADVICE.  YOU CONFIRMED MY THOUGHTS, AS WELL AS, THE THOUGHTS OF MY FAMILY.  IT IS JUST A DIFFICULT CALL TO MAKE AND I WANTED AN UNBIASED OPINION.  THANKS AGAIN! 

  

PS. DO YOU DEAL WITH THIS FOR  A LIVING?  YOU SEEM TO HAVE TRAINING IN THIS AREA.  JUST WONDERING 

 
November 15, 2005, 6:45 pm CST

Looking for some help for my 11 yr old son

Hi there, I am looking for some advice on how to deal with the situation of my sons father. 

We seperated when my son was 1 and a half and I moved back home, approx 3 hours away from his father.  Visitations were left wide open but sadly have not been taken advatange of.  My son sees his father on a very rare occasion.  His father seems to step in and out of his life whenever he sees fit.  I have tried to explain numerous times how damaging this is for our son, he cannot count on his father what so ever.  My son is active in sports and lucky if his father sees him play once a year.  He has let him down numerous times by telling him he will be at certain events and then just no show up, no phone calls no explanations then you don't hear from him for months.  This is effecting our sons life, he feels he is not good enough for his father to be around, his self esteem is low and is now starting to have trouble with school.  He has seen his father once in the past five months, and phone calls are very sparatic, he has not spoke with him in almost two months.  My son is longing for some stability from his father, some sort of schedule that he can depend on, and not matter how much I explain this to his father he just doesn't seem to get it, or if he does he doesn't seem to care.  What can I do for my son?  This in of your life out of your life for months at a time is tearing him apart, I have also told my son he needs to express these feelings to his father and he refuses to.  I don't know what to do for him, I want him to have a relationship with his father and yet the way it is and has been for years is tearing my son into a million pieces.........Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do for my son?  Thanks for your help. 

 
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