Since many single parents have come out of difficult marriages or even suffered the death of their spouses, it is important that they establish boundaries and learn to identify safe people whether they plan on dating now or not. Boundaries are an important part of maintaining healthy relationships with others, especially for people who have come out of dysfunctional childhoods or chaotic relationships. Moreover, it is crucial for single parents to bring safe people in their lives and their children’s lives as they travel the unpredictable and challenging journey of parenting alone. So, how does one go about recognizing a safe person? What are the qualities or characteristics of a safe person?
- A safe person will accept your boundaries. Someone who becomes angry or pushes you to bend your boundaries is not safe until he or she learns to respect your boundaries.
- A safe person will be consistent over time, especially with honesty. Someone who tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next day or whose actions do not match up with their words is not safe. Remember that trust is built by consistency over time.
- A safe person will reciprocate in the relationship and not make you do all of the work. An ideal relationship is 50/50. For example, you put in 10 cents of the effort and the other person puts in 10 cents. Realistically, most relationships are like sea-saws, even healthy ones. It is more like a 60/40 split and then flip flops when one person is down or stressed while the other is doing better.
- A safe person will accept you for you for who you are because that person can accept him or herself as well. A safe person understands that people make mistakes and is willing to overlook minor offenses.
- A safe person will help you be the best you can be because that person will help to bring out your potential and will not want to drag you down. If you are around someone who makes you feel worse about yourself when you are with him or her, you are probably dealing with an unsafe person.
Because we are flawed human beings who make mistakes every day, no one is 100% safe. Learn to spot the safe people around you and surround yourself with them. Ask yourself how much time you want to give to the unsafe people in your life and begin to use your boundaries to limit interactions with them. Above all, learn to be a safe person yourself because like attracts like. As you grow healthier as an individual, you will attract healthier people who will come along side you in the positive journey of personal growth.
In order to recognize single parents and their hard work of doing it all—often without help— Single Parents’ Day was created on March 21, 1984. Today, take a moment to honor a single parent with an encouraging text message, email, or card. Single parents are often overwhelmed, so a kind word can go a long way. What little thing can you do to help out a single mom or dad today?