As a single parent, it would have been wonderful to have come home from the hospital with a manual on how to raise children. 

Of course, there is no such thing.  I realized that the journey wasn’t going to be easy. 

A single parent raising children in today’s society is definitely the minority. 

A single woman raising minority males in today’s society is a greater minority.

How do you beat the odds?  Well, teaching and learning are both initiated in the home.  It should be anyway.  Infants learn to hold their bottles, crawl, walk, etc.

There is nothing that can be taken for granted.  As parents, we can’t assume that our children will eventually learn what they need to know from their teachers only.

It is the responsibility of the single parent to form partnerships with their children’s teachers. 

A child’s environment is very important.  Home is always the initial classroom.  A baby develops into an infant and then a child.  In most instances, the parents are there.

As parents it is very important that we start training our children early.  The ABC’s and 123’s have to be enforced when they are infants.  The motor skills, comprehension, etc. can be taught with books, educational toys, educational TV programs and even everyday household items.  All of these things require hands- on, quality time to build the parent-child relationship.  If we as parents are positioning ourselves to show by example, then our children will mimic what they see.

Exposure is another key factor to learning.  Taking advantage of free exhibits, museums, park activities, library story hours, etc.  are all great ideas.  A lot of parents want to place the blame on poverty or the economy as a reason why they can’t educate their children.  These are excuses.  There were times when my sons and I would take something simple such as a joy ride and turn it into a great educational opportunity.     

As a single parent, it is definitely the responsibility of the mother to find the correct mentors and role models for our children.  If you don’t know, ask somebody.  Church is always a great foundation for the development of children.

The spiritual exposure when taught early, such as Sunday school, church activities and programs help children build their own relationship with God.  Church shouldn’t be a place where children are dropped off and picked up.  Parents need to be totally involved in the lives of their children.  Whether in church or school, you need to watch how your child interacts with other children and adults.  A lot of children don’t follow directions because their parents don’t follow directions.  Once again, showing by example is the best thing we can do as parents.  Times of “do as I say and not as I do” are out.

Another key factor in learning is responsibility.  The earlier children learn responsibility the better.  Giving them simple tasks to perform even as small children helps in their development to be responsible.  My sons started taking out small bags of garbage every week at the age of three.  Later on, they shoveled snow and cut lawns until they were able to work part-time.

Responsibility builds character and self worth.  When children feel better about themselves, they do better.   It’s very important that they know the sky is the limit to their dreams. 

Parental support and discipline encourages good learning. 

My name is Gloria D. Cavanaugh.  I’m an Entrepreneur of a small business.  I have twin sons, age 22 and they’re recent college graduates.  I’m in the process of writing a book.  I am a native of Cleveland, Ohio.