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Single Parent Dealing With Teenagers

If you are flying solo ...

Parenting bright kids can be enormously hard work at times. They have a power to divide and conquer even the most stoic of couples and leave them bickering and squabbling. If you are a single parent of a bright kid, some of the challenges will be amplified.
Single Parent Dealing With Teenagers

Here are some hints for the single parents of bright kids:

Get enough sleep. The boundless energy of some bright kids means you'll become exhausted. Set rock-solid bedroom and sleep routines.

Have some cavalry to call. There will be days when you regard yourself as an absolute failure as a parent. Ask someone you trust to be your sounding board. Phone them and ask for advice. Use them as a parent coach. This doesn't mean you always need to take their advice, but it will help you clarify in your own mind what to do.

Keep your friends. Bright kids can be difficult to manage in social settings and can alienate people. Some of your friends will be understanding about the challenges facing you, others will be less child-friendly. Work out who belongs to which category, and know who you can invite on outings with your children and who you should catch up with in a child-free zone.

Not every battle needs to be won. Single parents can't afford the energy to argue every point with bright kids.
Many bright kids love family dramas, which entertain them and frustrate you. Take some time to think of the five most important things you want your child(ren) to gain from your parenting. For example, some parents will choose issues like school completion, honesty, being a good friend, doing what you say you are going to do, or treating other people as you like to be treated. Once you've worked out your priority areas, focus fairly exclusively on them. These are the issues you must be prepared to battle for. For most other issues, take your sail out of their winds.

Find an activity that helps you clear your head and straighten out your thinking. Having a small ritual that gives you even a little bit of time for yourself each day allows you to regain perspective.

Guard new romances. Bright kids can be so used to exerting power in their families that they can feel extremely threatened if their parent meets someone new. Their behavior can intensify and quickly crush a fledgling romance. It's probably best to keep potential new partners away from bright kids while you build and strengthen that new relationship. 

You are the parent. If you do form a new relationship, don't allow your new partner to parent your bright kid. New partners often want to be helpful and protective. This means they may be tempted to intervene if your bright kid gives you a hard time. Don't let them do this. It will build resentment in your bright kid and possibly in your new relationship as well. Turn to your newly beloved and sweetly let him or her know that you want them as your lover, not as a back-up parent.

Bright children are, of course, individuals. They remain steadfastly, doggedly true to themselves. Nevertheless, in working with children and adolescents over many years, several main patterns do seem to occur over and over again.

While your child may not fit neatly into one type, it is worth reading through the following posts to help you identify common behaviors and strategies. The idea is not to describe your child to a "T," but to give you some ideas about effective strategies.

Bright kids have patterns of behavior that can become as regular as a dance routine. The problem is that when a bright kid starts a dance routine, the whole family all too often tiptoes through the steps. Rather than being run around in circles, these posts try to acquaint you with some of the common dance numbers and give you a few good moves of your own.

Instead of trying to classify your child precisely as one type or another, the more important question to ask yourself is, "What sort of parent does my child need me to be?"

Not everyone is going to like the following descriptions. They are confronting and, while at first you might read them as being too negative, I think it is important to take an honest look at what different types of kids often do and how we can help them. 

One of the common problems faced by bright children (and forceful people, for that matter) is that they become one-trick ponies. They have one way of interacting with the world, and that's it. Being forceful personalities means they are often very successful with the strategies they use. The problem can be that the strategy is so successful, they don't learn any others.

Parents know that their child needs to learn a range of ways of dealing with the world if he is to succeed and be resilient. To find out more, you can check out Single Parent Dealing With Teenagers.