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Solo Parent Society

Creating Relational Stability

4/13/2021 00:34:25
Creating Relational Stability
"Relational stability after a failed relationship, or a painful loss of any kind, can seem like a lofty goal. As single parents, we may find ourselves bringing our hurts, fears, or mistrust into new relationships. So how do we create relational stability as we move forward?

Robert Beeson and Kimberley Mitchell were single parents for eight years. Elizabeth Cole and Marissa Lee are both single moms. Robert asked Kim, "How long did it take for you to believe that you were able to have a new relationship and how could you tell?"

"When God doesn't bring someone, that's a good way to tell", says Kimberley. After her divorce, Kim dated someone for a while but quickly realized it wasn't going to work out and that she needed to focus on her kids and her relationship with God. It's easy to react out of loneliness and jump into something quickly but Kim says she is glad she ended up having to wait for another relationship, but the waiting wasn't easy. She had meltdowns with God asking what was wrong with her and if she would ever have a significant other in her life again, but it wasn't time. IF she had jumped into things much sooner, she would have missed out on a whole lot of blessings she experienced with her kids, and seeing God shine on them in ways they would have missed. Waiting was hard but she's grateful now.

How do you handle the loneliness of not having a relationship?

For the complete show notes go to https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/04/12/creating-relational-stability 

How To Have Enough When We Don't Have Enough

4/6/2021 00:32:24
How To Have Enough When We Don't Have Enough
"The fear of the unknowns as a single parent, being unsure of how we will provide for our kids, with so many things changing, can leave us wondering if we will ever have enough. It's uncomfortable being in a position where you feel like you don't have enough, physically, or emotionally and to wonder if you ever will.

The life of a solo parent often feels like it could be summed up in that one phrase - we don't have enough. We don't have enough time, we don't have enough money, we don't have enough "me". There never seems to be enough.

So, how can we have enough when we don't have 'enough'?

Single mom, Marissa Lee shares how she has struggled with never feeling like she has enough or is enough while raising her boys alone. And it's something she's afraid they may struggle with too. And as a single parent, especially if you struggled in your marriage or past relationships, we even feel like we aren't "good enough" as a person. We just don't feel like we measure up. It's common to feel like this, so, how do we deal with that? How do we find stability and a sense of having enough?

Kim shares that the only way she found her way through was with "a whole lotta prayer and relying on Jesus". She was raised in a home where she watched her parents pray and trust God her whole life but then, as a single mom, it was her turn. She was faced with a crossroad. She didn't know how or why things would work out, but she had to trust God when things were crazy and uncertain. She prayed for milk, gas for her car and for money for rent. And God came through.

Robert shares that he couldn't give his daughters everything they wanted after his divorce. At the time, he felt like he was lacking because he couldn't provide the way he once had. Now, though, years later, one of his daughters told him she's glad they didn't get everything they wanted as kids. She now sees she is better off than friends who had things handed to them.

Kim said she and her kids look back at the time they spent in one of their tiniest apartment as one of the best times in their lives. Financially, Kim felt like she was failing. The kids wanted iPads and she couldn't buy them. Instead, her kids saved for over a year to purchase them. They became prized possessions they carried with pride because they worked hard to get them. That lesson was priceless and has stuck with them into adulthood. What felt like a season of lack became a time with some of the richest memories.

There will be many times like this, as single parents, when we feel like we just don't have "enough" but these seasons can become some of the richest experiences we have with our kids.

For complete show notes and links go to - https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/04/05/how-to-have-enough-when-we-don-t-have-enough" 

Chip Dodd - Helping Our Kid's with Anxiety

3/30/2021 00:41:32
Chip Dodd - Helping Our Kid's with Anxiety
When our kids struggle with anxiety, we can feel so helpless, unsure of what to do. And anxiety among kids is increasing. Whether due to the pandemic, or for other reasons, anxiety is on the rise in every age group. Stress is at an all-time high.

Today we are going to explore ways to help our kids with anxiety with Dr. Chip Dodd, counselor, speaker, mentor, and author of "The Voice of the Heart" and numerous other books centered on emotions and healing.

What is anxiety?

Dr. Dodd shares that, "Anxiety is a physiological, central nervous system reaction, to thoughts we are having about anticipated disaster. It is always related to future trepidation about something happening that we're not sure about." Anxiety leads us to seek something outside of ourselves to control and quell those feelings of uncertainty.

Fear, however, is an emotion. Fear tells us we are in danger of something happening that we don't want to happen. It's a feeling we've been given that allows us to ask for help. When we express a fear vulnerably, it sets us up to be able to prevent the thing we fear and it also provides a place for us to go back to to process what did or didn't happen.

Fear can push us to connection as we seek help whereas anxiety can push us into isolation. Anxiety and fears are both thermostats that can lead us to seek help.

Children get anxious about what is happening and about what could happen next. They aren't sure where the truth is. They are guessing at how to find level ground. Adults are often anxious about what has already happened or what could happen again. Kids are most often anxious about their two biggest fear - not belonging and not mattering.

Social media platforms are a huge contributor to these anxieties because they don't affirm how we're created. They actually go against it. This is why home base has to be a safeplace where your family can process what is happening below the surface. We need to be able to talk about our spiritual root system - our feelings, needs, longings, desires, and hopes.

So often we don't want our kids to suffer, to have negative thoughts, or to feel bad. We don't want them to feel anxious so we try to "fix" it but actually feeling their fears isn't the problem. The problem is denying how they are feeling.

It's a natural response to feel fear in situations we don't have a sense of empowerment over or where we aren't in control. Kids are often afraid of the dark because it's full of unknowns. Yet, kids are willing to go into the dark if they have someone to go with them and to hold their hand. So, children aren't actually afraid of the dark. They are afraid of being alone in the dark, of being uncared for in the dark, of not being seen or heard in the dark. If a child is allowed to have their feelings and process them, when the parent says, "It's okay for you to feel afraid", we are teaching our kids they can be real and not have to fake it or pretend. This allows them to embrace their humanity and not disassociate from it which actually increases anxiety.

So, how can we walk with our kids through their anxiety?

The number one thing is to acknowledge the difference between anxiety and fear.

For complete show notes and links go to - https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/03/29/chip-dodd-helping-our-kids-with-anxiety 

How to Spiritually Guide Our Kids

3/23/2021 00:35:33
How to Spiritually Guide Our Kids
This has been such a weird season because of the pandemic. So many of our weekly activities have stopped including being able to go to church regularly. For many of us, church has been an important lifeline and a vital part of our spiritual lives. But, due to Covid, for all practical purposes, churches have been shut down leaving a void for us and for our kids. So how do we spiritually guide our kids?

Regular contributor, Marissa joins us to talk about this very thing. Many parents don't feel equipped to spiritually guide their kids and Marissa feels the same way. None of us feel like experts in God. As single parents, we may even feel like it's not our job to teach our kids about God, but God sees it differently. Not only is it important but it's crucial we pour into our kids spiritually. Researcher George Barna says that what kids believe by the age of thirteen is very much what they will continue to believe and take with them into adulthood. That information is scary, but while our kids are still in our homes, the cement is still wet. It's so important that we live in a culture where parents don't feel able to teach our kids spiritually. Parents don't see themselves as experts. Instead, they leave discipleship of their kids to the local church. And the church is an important avenue for spiritual formation. But it's not the only one and it may not even be the most significant one. The church is often viewed as the primary avenue but what kids learn at home is incredibly influential.

This can be hard to talk about because single parents don't need one more thing to shame themselves about or one more thing to feel like you are not doing adequately. So, we wanted to dig into this more and talk about ways we can spiritually God our kids when we don't feel like the experts.

For the complete show notes with links go to https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/03/22/how-to-spiritually-guide-our-kids 

When Parenting is Out of Our Control

3/16/2021 00:38:28
When Parenting is Out of Our Control
If you struggle with situations in parenting that are beyond your control, this is for you.

As single parents we often have zero control over how our kids are being raised while they are with the other parent. We may feel powerless over the other parent's values or principles that are counter to our own. Other times the struggle of parenting feels out of control because our exes don't show up in our kids' lives or participate as much as we would like them to. This can be so hurtful to our kids and we can't do anything about that. Further issues can develop as our kids get older and start making choices of their own with friends or outside influences. Each of these challenges represent parenting when things are beyond out control. So, how do we help our kids, and how do we parent, when things like this are out of our control?

Single mom, Elizabeth, shares her struggle with splitting custody 50/50 with her son's dad who has different values, different beliefs in God, and a different parenting style. "It really forces me to go into parenting with an open hand. Actually, it's more like I have a closed fist and God is prying my hand open through this." Joking aside, the struggle is real. As single parents, we worry about what's going on at the other parent's house. Some of what we teach our kids feels like it is constantly unraveling when they are not with us and when they come back, we have to start over again. Maybe you are walking intentionally toward healing but your ex is not. This can place stress on your kids as they see different things happening in each environment. So often, our protective side wants to come roaring out when we see our kids burdened by all of these dynamics.

Sometimes instead of sharing custody, you may have a coparent who, by choice or by legal decree, is not participating enough or as we want them to. It feels so helpless to want the other parent to step up and send a birthday card or call their kids. Even though we might have an issue with our ex, they are still the parent to our kids, and we want to see our kids bond with them in a healthy way.

For Kimberley, her ex would see the kids fairly regularly at first but then over time, it became less and less, until almost nothing as her kids got older. It's hard to watch this dynamic and not want to say something but we have to bite our tongues and allow our children to love the other parent. Regrettably, even if we are quiet, when communication from the other parent becomes non-existent, our kids pick up on this. They start to see it for themselves, particularly as they get older. And, if their parent has been absent, our kids sometimes get to the point that they don't want to reach out to them either because they've been hurt too much.

Robert shares an experience where he invited his daughters' mom to one of their daughters' birthday party. They were all planning on her being there, and she didn't show up. Robert felt so helpless and disheartened. He had to come to terms doing what he could do as a Dad and then surrender the rest to God and let Him take charge of the rest.

It can be so easy to want to fix and smooth things over for our kids but we just can't do that all of the time. For so long, Elizabeth wanted to do anything she could to get her ex to grow, to change, and to be more present for her son. She finally had to release this to God and focus only on what she could own within her own four walls.

We can't control the other parent's healing path, what they do as a person, or their desire to become a healthier adult. If we are trying to control those things, we will end up not being fully present with our kids. It's hard to let go but, ultimately, it's about trusting God and believing that He loves our kids more than we do. We have to take the high ground and release what we can't control. When we do that, it gives us a sense of peace.

For complete show notes and links click - https://soloparentsociety.com/blog/2021/03/15/when-parenting-is-out-of-our-control"

Solo Parent Society

The Solo Parent Society podcast is hosted by author and founder Robert Beeson to help single parents raise healthy kids, and grow themselves through conversations with other parents who have walked, or are still walking the 'Solo Parent' path. Plus experts on the things that Solo Parents face the most. The mission of Solo Parent Society is to provide the resources, community, and support that enables a single-parent to discover whole-heart wellness so that their family can thrive.