Excerpt From Chapter 3: Doing “Double Duty” – The Role of Duality in Your New Family

   When you are a single parent, you have a certain obligation to instantly fill two VERY IMPORTANT roles with your child...

   It may feel like you’re doing “double duty” with your child.

   And chances are you ARE doing “double-duty”.

   This may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s just another chance to be creative.

   I’m sure that when you were with your previous partner, the majority of the household duties were shared. Now that you’re on your own, you need to cover BOTH sets of duties... this might include laundry, mowing the yard or making meals.

   But it goes beyond just the external actions...

   Children need the dual role of disciplinarian and nurturer.

   Finding this dual role can be immensely difficult at first, but certainly not impossible (in the “Your Child” section see Chapter 11 called “Proactive Parenting”).

   The reason this role is important is for a couple very important reasons...

   First off, you want your child to have a solid perception of you.

   You want your child to feel like they CAN communicate with you.

   If you come from a place of “fear”, where your child is afraid of your reaction, it could be the reason for an emotional “shut down” or for them to ignore you...

   Not to mention the possible damage this could do to their spirit or psyche down the road.

   This represents something GENIUNE to your child... And to your new family as a whole.

   Secondly, it gives you consistency...

   What? That doesn’t make sense... If you are playing dual (almost POLAR) roles, how can you be consistent?

   Well, it actually makes perfect sense...

   If you are consistent in being a disciplinarian it gives you an opportunity to be consistent as a provider/nurturer.

   And it’s hard NOT to make those role individually defined.

   Which is one of the hardest things for parents to do...

   What it really boils down to is not creating a “Jekyll and Hyde” environment.

   On one level you might be concerned about how your child thinks of you.

   On another level you want to make sure that they understand that you are the boss and what you say “goes”...

   Ultimately if you have the respect of your child, you’ll get a positive response in any situation.

   This doesn’t mean that they are always going to back down... and maybe some time alone in their room or away from a television is going to do some good.

   And if this is the case, always explain to them WHY something is happening.

   Let me give you an example to illustrate...

   My daughter was in the bath tub the other night...

   She was angry because I woke her up from a late nap. In fact, I didn’t want her napping and she decided to nap anyway.

   I took it for what it was and made her get up and go into the bath tub.

   When she was in the tub she called me a silly name... It wasn’t mean, but I could tell that the intention behind it was negative.

   I asked her politely to not call me that name.

   I also told her that if she called me a name again that she’d get a “time out”.

   I could tell that she was testing me and that she didn’t think I’d pull her out of the bathtub.

   Well, you can imagine what happened next, she called me the name and I stuck to my guns.

   I pulled her out of the tub, wrapped her in a clean towel and made her sit on her bed (this is how I run her “time outs”).

   I told her three minutes and walked away.

   After the three minutes were up I walked in and talked to her about what she’d done.

   She KNEW that what she did was wrong and apologized for saying it.

   I have to admit that things aren’t always this smooth, but it’s a good example of what I am talking about.

   I could have easily called her a silly name back and smiled...

   I could have just as easily yanked her out by her arm and angrily put her on her bed.

   I used only a mild threat with the “time out” and followed through when I actually put her in her bedroom.

   In this case, I was playing both the provider and disciplinarian. By being the one that puts her in the bathtub I was in the provider role. When I pulled her out of the tub I was playing the role of the disciplinarian who followed through with a punishment when something was wrong.

   You see, I came up with this idea when I heard the philosophy that you cannot be both a friend and authoritarian figure to your child.

   And while I see the point that many people make when it comes to this idea, there needs to be a happy medium as a Single Parent.

   But being that you are Single Parent playing many roles, it’s in your best interest to do your BEST to fill both roles...

   And you know what?

   It’s in the best interest of your CHILD as well.

   The more balance that you portray, the better balance they will mimic from you.

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