On a solo

SINGLE PARENTING can be tough on both the parent and the child. But it can be made rewarding by following these tips:

A single parent doesn't have to be lonely

According to psychologists, many people find that being single is actually less lonely than being in a bad relationship.

The threat of loneliness drives many single parents into hasty marriages or keeps them in dead-end relationships that do not benefit them or their children, psychologists add.

But always remember that loneliness is a condition of being human. It is unavoidable, whether you are single or married, in a relationship or alone.

Think about that the next time you choose to stay in a bad relationship rather than risk being lonely. And keep it in mind the next time you think getting married will solve your problems of loneliness.

Children need discipline to build self-esteem

Children who are not disciplined tend to be more dependent and feel they have less control over their world, say psychologists.

Kids need the physical and emotional protection of rules and limits for self-esteem.

Psychologists suggest positive discipline holds the key.

Use the language of self-esteem

Use the words `decide' and `choice' during interactions with your children.

Discuss the behaviour, not the child.

Criticism lowers their self-esteem while having choices and control raises self-esteem.

Psychologists advise acknowledging the child's feelings, motive, or situation.

Use clear language, provide a statement of what is expected from them such as, "I want all the trash cans empty by 6 p.m."

Clarify the consequence of not complying with your request. Say, "If you choose to leave the trash in the house after 6 p.m., you are deciding to stay home alone this entire week-end."

Stress that the child is entirely responsible for his/her choices, decisions, and actions.

Realistic praise aids self-esteem.

Self-esteem is built by realistic praise. Children know if they have truly earned your praise or if you are manipulating them.

More praise for the child doesn't translate into more self esteem, psychologists warn.

Children can even be confused by excessive praise.

Example: you call your son a genius. He thinks:

"Does anyone else feel that way about me?"/ "She knows I'm not a genius."/ "It's too much work to be a genius."/ "I know I am not a genius."

The result: he starts wondering what you want or discounts much of your praise as being ridiculous.

If you want to be accurate as well as pay a complement, follow these steps:

Explain that your child has done well and can do even better next time.

Don't answer a statement of dissatisfaction with praise. Instead, acknowledge the feelings shown and help your child plan for a better performance next time.

Psychologists say the best praise for your children is praising their own judgement. Of course, that can't always happen. Sometimes their judgment, or society's judgment as mirrored in their eyes, is not the best action or accomplishment to praise.

Example: your six-year-old daughter spends much too much time in front of a mirror. She's cute. You know it and she knows it. However, the mirror needs a rest and your daughter certainly needs to know there is more to life than appearance.

Try saying, "You look nice today, Latha, but I am really proud of your drawing this morning. How did you do that so well?"