Q: I am a single mother with four daughters. The oldest is married with two children. The other three are still at home. The twins (20) refuse to find jobs. The youngest is still at school. I struggle to find money to pay her school fees and our bills. My biggest concern is that my girls do not want to go to church with me anymore. They have thrown away the values I taught them. Sometimes I worry and wish that I could run away or even die.
A: Being a single parent is not easy. Not only do you have to look after the physical needs of your children but you also have the task of helping them grow up as responsible adults. I can understand that sometimes this burden would seem too heavy for you to bear.
It is important for the twins to realise they must share in running the home. They have reached an age where it is important to learn some skill that can help them earn their way through life.
They may have grown so used to you providing for their needs that they do not think they have to make a contribution to the family. Have an honest and open talk with them. Write down all the bills that need to be paid every month and let them see how much it costs to run a household. Include expenses such as food and clothes. Discuss with them what they can do to help meet these expenses. Speak calmly without blame or shame. Discuss the issues in such a manner that they will begin to see themselves as partners with you— if you all work together there will be benefits for all.
When it comes to your girls’ spiritual lives, the most powerful thing you can do is to set the right example. If you want them to go to church with you, then invite them to accompany you and encourage them but do not get angry with them if they do not go. Lovingkindness is stronger than anger and has more power to draw your children to God. Your older girls are now at an age where they must make decisions for themselves. They do remember what you taught them when they were younger. Now, they must decide how they will live. Your loving example will remain with them and your influence will impact them.
Your work as a single parent is difficult, but your love and concern as a parent will be rewarded. Do not be too hard on yourself. Find other single parents who struggle with the same problems. Perhaps you can help and encourage each other.