Last week, I overheard a mother chatting with her friends seeking advice on how to handle her two teenage sons. Apparently, her teens are too demanding and there is no father figure in their life - their dad passed on 4 years ago. Call it eavesdropping, but listening to this woman, I realised there are a lot of women out there going through the similar experience.
According to an article by Mark Gregston ‘Help for Single Parents with Teenagers’, published on cbn.com, a Christian website, one of the toughest roles today is single parenting.
Gregston further wrote that it’s hard enough to rear a child, especially a teenager with two parents; but with one, the burdens and pressures and problems multiply.
He also said that, as a parent, his hat is off to every single parent. But more than praise for the difficulty of their task; he talked to most single parents as they always need someone to encourage them.
It is one thing to be a parent to teenagers but it becomes a different story if you are a single parent. Single parenting is tough and has a lot of challenges, especially at the adolescence stage.
In an interview with Women Today, Carolyne Nderitu, a renowned karaoke host in Kigali, talks about her relationship with her teenage son.
“My son is a blessing and we are great friends. We have this relationship because we freely speak about different issues of life. His father died when he was just six years, so I play three roles in his life, I’m his mother, father and friend,” Nderitu explains.
She adds that she has heard many single parents complain about their teenagers, but she thanks God that she has a considerate son.
“When he does something wrong, we talk about it and I explain to him the reasons why what he did was wrong. This is how I raised him even as a toddler. When he encounters any problem he will freely talk to me,” Nderitu expresses.
In an article published on wikihow.com ‘How to Deal With Teenagers As a Single Parent’, the parenting website outlines key matters to talk to your child about; the fact that you can’t be there all the time and let them know what you expect.
Teenagers have a natural tendency to bottle up feelings and stop communicating as they struggle with new feelings and begin to recognise that you don’t “know it all” as a parent. Therefore, try not to over-parent. If you are constantly getting in the way of your child’s life, they will not act the same.
Know your child’s friends. As your child matures, they are exposed to more people and their circle of friends may change from when they were in elementary school or middle school. Get to know these kids and if you have a concern about their influence, watch things very carefully and make a move if you must.