Jen asked in Pregnancy & ParentingParenting · 1 decade ago

Is it possible for single moms to have extremely well behaved children?

I have gone through a divorce recently and I have three kids. My kids for the most part mind pretty well but my oldest is VERY stong willed and doesn't always mind. When I was married to his dad, his dad never disciplined him I always did so this has been an ongoing problem. He is 8 and my others are 2 and 3. The others mind pretty well and he is a very good kid but doesn't always listen and that has always been the case even before me and his dad divorced. I take away his playstation when he acts up....and spank him if he really acts up, is there anything else I can do?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Of course it's possible, hun. My mom raised me by herself from the time I was three and I was a good kid. Until I married my husband new husband in April, I was raising my 4 year old by myself and he was (and still is) a good kid.

    I know it's hard sometimes, but I'm sure you're doing a fine job. Just remember that no kid is perfect all the time, and they are all going to have days when they're little monsters, but the good times more than make up for it. Just keep your sense of humor and hang in there.

    Best of luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have been a single mother of three for almost 4 years now. My oldest is 12 and other two are 8 and 5. The two oldest have ADHD. We have seen several family counselors in search for better answers. First, I agree with BobG and everything he said. I have done those as well, and they work wonders! Start now, and they will listen later.

    The best thing that has worked for us, is the 1 2 3 suggestion. It doesn’t take long for the kids to understand this rule if you remain consistent. I tell them the first time, this behavior is not acceptable and WHY. If the child acts the same, tell them calmly and sternly ( be self-conscious about looking him in the eye) “If I say 3, I will take this away (or other punishment)....That is 1.” 2 should be said with only another stern look, no other words. On 3, I would say, “I told you if I said 3, ‘this’ was the consequence. You CHOSE to do ‘this’ again, so you CHOSE the consequence..” And fall through with ALL threats that you make. If you say your going to do it, then be prepared to do it. It is important to tell him that he CHOSE this punishment by choosing to disobey.

    I can also tell you, that time-out routine is better if you set a timer. One minute per age in year, i.e. 8-year-old time out is 8 min. The child can watch for the timer to go off, and mine are better knowing I won’t forget about them because I am ignoring them. Time-out time should be a time-out for you as well. Go in the other room, or just simply turn your back on him. Either way, ignore him for that time. Hug him when the time is over. I use spankings only as a last resort or the big major problems. Spanking, in the long run, could tell a child that hitting when angry is acceptable. Again, remind him that was what he CHOSE, when he disobeyed.

    Last, instead of taking things away, try rewarding him for better behavior. When taking things away, and always watching and waiting for him to do something else wrong, (as I did) you are essentially putting a spotlight on bad behavior. This becomes his way of getting the attention he is seeking. He knows, as well as you do, that it is hard getting attention from you when he has to share you. The little misbehaving, can be ignored, or made simple. Get him involved in something he likes to do. Or sit down and play with him or talk to him, if only but a minute or two. But praise him for every little thing that he does good. It is important that he knows what IS acceptable as well as what is NOT acceptable.

    The oldest will always seek more attention. He feels that you are giving too much to the babies; diaper changes, baths, or feedings. However, the oldest gets so little. Try to make extra time with him ALONE, even if its only 15-30 min or so each evening.

    The main thing is to remain consistent in all that you do; in punishment and playtime, and have as much as a regular daily routine as possible.

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  • 1 decade ago

    LOL There isn't a way to guarantee having "extremely well-behaved children" even in the most loving and secure of homes. It's always a struggle.

    Your eight-year-old needs the discipline, don't get me wrong, but he also needs some reassurance. Most kids have the mindset that their lives would never be different than how they're used to them being, so it's especially distressing for a child to cope with divorce, since it's basically the core of all he knows gone down the tube.

    As far as discipline goes, I don't think there's any differences for a single mom than for a so-called "nuclear family", so grounding, extra chores, no allowance, or getting priviledges taken away will be probably the best choices, and they're the same as everyone else's choices. 8-years-old is often among the oldest children are who respond well to spankings, so if they don't seem effective, I wouldn't do it.

    It is normal for children of divorced parents to act out, especially at first. Offer him unconditional love and be there for him, and encourage him to behave well by letting him know you know he's capable of it, and by rewarding him when he is being helpful/responsible/kind to his friends or siblings, etc. If you feel the acting out is a problem, talk to his teacher or school counselor, to his pediatrician, or to clergy at your place of worship about getting him counseling.

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  • Divorce can be tough on kids, at his age, he may think he has something to do with it, even subconsciously. Make sure he understands its not his fault. Maybe get him counseling if it might help him cope. But most of all love him. Discipline not only includes punishment, but also positive reinforcement, which usually works better. Try to catch him being good and give him attention for that. When he acts up put him in a corner and ignore him.

    If he knows that acting up will get your attention, he will do it. Let him know you need him now too. The divorce is also tough on you and can affect how you treat him. Good behavior will help you all get through it. He may be the "man" of the house now, but a real man respects his mama.

    They sound like great kids and you are making an honest effort, more than a lot of parents do anymore. Hang in there!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have seen some good tip in the TV show, "Super Nanny" or something like that. As someone above said, you are already doing a good job (not that it can't always get better, but don't stress too much). Kids are different though, and that might explain why he is disobedient and his sibling aren't.

    One thing that I find very helpful is to have a grounding area for punishment. It can be a chair or a room (not his, of course). Make sure you give him a warning before AND act if he doesn't comply. Stick to your punishments but don't make them absurd, like 2 hours for a tantrum. Always have a talk when taking him off grounding and be sure to make up. Shake hands and hug. Don't let him think you hate him... and, please don't.

    Remember, that being older, he will be more aware and feel the divorce much more intensely than the younger ones. He may be expressing his anxieties.

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  • Blue
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Consistency is best. I raised five alone and they were all well behaved. Well...they are still well behaved but they are in their 40s now.

    Make sure that he knows he is loved and that the divorce was not his fault.

    Sit down and discuss behavior with him. He has a right to be angry and a right to vent. Provide appropriate ways for him to do this. Help him understand that there are choices and with those choices are consequences...some positive and some negative.

    He wants clear boundaries. He may react and he may say hateful things, but he will appreciate knowing exactly where he stands.

    Of course, all the above should apply to the other children, too. Don't think because they are younger, they don't understand.

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  • nobody
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Yes its very possible for a single parent 2 have a well behaved kid. Its probably easier since there is no interference from the other parents. No one 2 run 2 if the kid doesn't like the answer you gave him. Confine him 2 his room and cut off the electricity in his room put a lock on the fuse box so he cant turn it back on

    either.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My sis raised 6 on her own. Her system was more reward than punish, but if for example she had taken a PlayStation away, all other toys would have gone with it and each would have to be earned back, one toy at a time. Worked on 5 of the kids. The youngest? Well, she came home pregnant and proud of herself at 13! The other 5 were good kids and are growing to be decent adults. For probably smarter answers that I can give you, try talking to the counselor at his school, who may either be able to help or to send you somewhere for assistance or guidance. There are many many free services out there, be they city, county, state, church or whatever. Good luck and Happy New Year to you.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I had the pleasure of meeting a single mom recently with two of the sweetest, most well behaved kids I've ever seen. They were great. So, yes. It is possible but a lot of work to have well behaved kids.

    It sounds to me like you are on the right track and that you care about it. Good for you! You have my respect. Please be sure to be consistant. Don't get mad, just enforce the rules and always be sure they know when and why you are happy with them or unhappy. It really makes a difference.

    I'd like to suggest something that worked very well with my kids. Please don't misunderstand, mine got their fair share of spankings when appropriate. But this worked very well. I talked to my kids a lot and they always knew what was unacceptable. The philosophy was that they had the choice of getting punished or not, it was entirely up to them whether or not the followed the rules. Once they got to be about 7-8 I started making them write essays about why they chose to break whatever rule it was they broke. It had to be neat and the spelling had to be correct. If not, I tore it in half and made them start over. You set a number of pages for them to fill while explaining why they decided it was better to be punished than to follow the rules and you set a deadline for them to finish it. Until it's finished they can only eat, sleep or use the bathroom.

    Once the essay is completed you read it while they stand and wait. Then you discuss it with them. My kids hated it. However, I allowed them to say what they really thought and they never got in trouble for an honest answer or comment. It gives them an outlet and encourages communication.

    The object is to make them think about their actions and take responsibility ofr them. I got good results with it, such good results that my oldest daughter uses it on her kids.

    The last thing is that when they have been punished its over and done with. Make sure to use hugs and laughter afterwards so they know it was only the action you were unhappy with, not the person. And always take time every day to be with your kids in a fun and happy way. We used the dinner table for that. Not much decorum but a lot of fun things happened at our dinner table. We also used the dinner time for congratulations or comments on something special one of the kids did. It worked for the needed positive reinforcement.

    Best of luck to you.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes it is possible for a single mother to have well behaved children. One has nothing to do with the other.

    It sounds as if you are doing fine with your son. Remember that behavior that is repeated is repeated because it was rewarded in some form. If a child never receives any attention unless they do something bad, then the child will repeat the bad behavior. Conversely then, a child will repeat good behavior if attention and acknowledgment of the behavior is given appropriately.

    All the best to you mom!

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