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When You are Caught in a Bind
By Linda Ranson Jacobs

Most single parents set up certain rules and boundaries for their kids. It could be for safety reasons, spiritual development, family values, or for social reasons. Whatever the rationale, they are rules, boundaries, or traditions specifically designed for your family.

Then your child comes up with something he or she wants to do that fits in between the lines. It seems like no matter what you do or say, it’s going to be wrong. As a single parent you’re really tired of being “wrong” all the time. “Wrong” being the opinion of your child or someone else.

As single parents we can take our cues from Jesus. He found himself in a situation like this in the book of John. “‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” John 8:4-8

Did you read what Jesus did? He bent down and started doodling on the ground. I know as a single mom there were times I just didn’t have an answer. Or I had the answer but couldn’t face being the only adult and the only disciplinarian in the house. One thing I had to learn was that I didn’t have to give an answer right, that minute.

When I had custody of my fifteen-year-old great nephew he asked, or rather begged, me to let him do something that was one of those “in between the lines” kind of things. I had a piece of paper in front of me so I picked up a pen and started doodling. He couldn’t stand it. After a few minutes he threw his hands up in the air and said, “Oh forget it! I know you’re just going to say no anyway.” And he stormed out of the room. Answer given and he is the one that answered it – not me.

When you parent alone sometimes it can be overwhelming. Instead of thinking of yourself as parenting alone, think of yourself as the other parent in a home where Jesus dwells. Model your parenting style after Jesus. Think literally and use some of the examples in stories like the one above.


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