You have probably heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. For single parents children need the input of family, friends, mentors and the other parent if they are still around, to be the examples that we can’t be. This is especially true if you are a single parent a child of the opposite sex. As I am female I have no idea how to be a man or raise one. My son needs men to show him how to be one, teach the shaving thing and mold him especially in the hormone driven teenage years. Likewise a teenage girl can be a puzzle to a single dad.

Sometimes it takes deliberate choices by the parent to position the child to have other role models. It may mean working with the other parent for the benefit of the children. Or involving the child in an activity where coaches, instructors, teachers can be role models. It may mean asking someone to be a mentor or enrolling kids in a mentoring program (the web has information on what mentoring is and the types of programs available see below). Always, always, always be safety conscious, aware of predators and just who is having an influence on your children.

Others can also teach what we are weak at. A simple ways of involving others is asking someone you trust to teach your kids a specific skill that you struggle with, for example an uncle to kick a football, grandma to bake a cake (embarrassingly that was me), a neighbour to fix a bike, a friend to do your daughters hair for the dance concert (me again!).

As a single parent we cannot do it all (though some of us try!!!) and we can’t do it alone. Others will need to be role models for our children and teach them. Choose wisely who those role models will be.

Apart from you, who else in your community is a role model for your child? Who else could be? How will you know they are safe?

Resources

Mentoring programs examples in Australia (these are not an endorsement)

Kids Hope

Big Brothers Big sisters of Australia

The Smith Family