Real Families. Real Hope.
Offer God's hope to hurting families.
Yes, I will help struggling families!

Center-of-My-Universe Single Parenting

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Illustration of dad encircling his two broken-hearted children as they float in space, surrounded by everyday objects
Luke Flowers
As a single parent, I orbited around my kids' lives, but that wasn't healthy for me ... or for them

One spring morning I woke up to an eerie stillness. My wife was gone. I didn’t have to call her
name. I just knew she’d left. And in a few minutes, my three little girls would awake, asking where
Mommy was. I couldn’t bluff my way through this. I’d have to tell them the truth.

Mommy is gone, and she isn’t coming back.

After I did, I gathered my girls in my arms, pressing each one into my chest. We cried together, and
I held them in such a way as to send a permanent message to their little hearts that this hug — this
love — would not leave them.

A few years into my solo-parenting journey, I noticed that I’d never really let that hug go. My
children and I had faced such devastating change together, and I felt so awful about the things my
girls had experienced that I tried to overcompensate by dropping whatever I was doing to take care
of their needs and even their desires. Nothing would disrupt their world again or make them feel
uncomfortable. My daughters had become the center of my universe, and I orbited around them.

In my desire to be a good parent, I lost perspective on healthy boundaries that are necessary
between parent and child.

The entitlement trap

Healthy, intact families have the parents in the center, with the kids orbiting them. Parents are
the “gravity,” setting the boundaries and vision that keep their kids secure and grounded. Divorced
parents often have a tendency to put their kids in the center of their universe, letting their kids’
needs become the gravity.

Sissy Goff, director of child and adolescent counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries, says it’s
important for single parents to remain as the gravity of an intact family. “When a single parent
orbits his children, constantly shielding them from discomfort and inconvenience, the kids will
often start to believe this is how the world works,” she says. “Kids gradually become entitled and
demanding. This isn’t healthy for future relationships.”

To discourage an entitlement mindset, I helped my girls differentiate between absolute needs and
nonessential desires. I also began to take intentional steps toward training my girls to be more
independent and responsible.

These changes weren’t always easy. It required letting go of my codependency and relinquishing the
belief that I was able to fix all the problems and hurts my girls faced. I had to recognize that I
couldn’t play God for my daughters, but that the real God was fully capable of caring for and
healing our home.

Self-care isn’t selfish

We can’t give what we don’t have. I knew I needed time to recharge. For me, this meant taking up
hobbies outside of work. I exercised more. I learned to set aside time to quiet my mind in prayer
and meditate on God’s Word. The healthier I became, the healthier my kids became, as well.

Although I was a solo parent, I was not built to do life in isolation. I committed to reaching out
to one adult a day, calling my mom or meeting with a friend. Having a daily touch point gave me a
physical reminder that I was not alone.

Over time, the gravity of our family shifted back to its proper center. And although I could not
protect my girls from their painful past, I learned that I could guide them toward a better

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Raising Your Kids to Defend the Faith (1)

Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith

“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” is a series of five short videos, created to get you started in teaching your kids the fundamentals of Christianity, so they can understand it, explain it, and defend it.
Book Cover: Aftershock A Plan for Recovery

Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography: A Plan for Recovery

This book is for women who have discovered their husband’s struggle with pornography and other sexual infidelities. Based on biblical principles and psychologically sound advice, Aftershock is designed to help women heal, grow, and receive restoration for themselves, their husbands, and their marriages.

That the World May Know

Join renowned teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan as he guides you through the lands of the Bible. In each lesson, Vander Laan illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures. Filmed on location in the Middle East, the That the World May Know ® film series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author