Being The Parent Your Kids Confide In Even When It’s Tough

Nichole Bannister

Currently a stay at home mom of 4, who has been divorced, was a single mom for most of 9 years working one to three jobs

There are many movies/tv shows out there about what would happen if someone were to touch or hurt a child in a way they would not know how to explain or be too terrified to tell someone. Either be terrified or not know how to tell you. 

One day I was in the kitchen making dinner. My 4-year-old daughter came up to me telling me she had a booboo and pointed down toward her private area, so I took her to the bathroom and had her show me. There was a scratch down there and I started asking her open questions. Has anyone touched you down there? How did they touch you? When did they touch you? How did this happen? Who was around? 

I was shocked by the answers I was getting. I knew overreacting was not going to get us anywhere so I tried to be calm. I was trying to ask her in different ways to see if she would change her answers. I tried not to overload her with questions but enough to get some answers. After months of investigations and court dates, the person that had hurt her would no longer be able to get near her. I was so grateful that she had come to me when she did. As a mom, I had to protect my child. 

When watching those movies or tv shows where things like this happen to people, I never thought I’d be one of them. But I also did not want to be that mom that could have helped my kid and didn’t. I believed her, and I did what I had to do to make her safe. Yeah, I had lots of people angry with me, saying I was wrong, but I did not care what any of them said. I was there to fight for my daughter. 

With me knowing how to ask open questions, I knew it wasn’t me putting words into her mouth. My 4-year-old was able to come to me and tell me there was something wrong. Years later, she still feels comfortable coming to me and telling me things. If it wasn’t for me teaching her at a young age, things could have been so much worse. I took the time to listen to what she was telling me, and I did what I had to do to show her I believed in her. 

You can start this while your children are young. This will help when they become teenagers and they either don’t want to talk to you or don’t know how. As a parent, you know from growing up that things arise and you just don’t know who you can tell or who will even believe you.

Do your kids close up when you try to talk to them? Only giving you short answers or barely saying anything at all? Do you hope that one day when they are teenagers going through their ups and downs they are able to come to you? Sitting around hoping that one day they will open up and talk to you is not going to work. You have to show them that you are their safe place. Show them how to talk. 

When talking to your child, ask them open questions. Asking open questions means asking them questions where they will give you more than a yes or no answer. They will have to explain their answers. 

For example, when picking them up from school ask simple questions like: What did you have for lunch? What did you do during recess? Who did you play with? What book are you reading? What is your favorite part? Or if they are little and don’t go to school yet. Ask them, what was your favorite part of the park? What is your favorite food? Show me what you’d like to do today. 

Or maybe if your kids go back and forth to another parent’s house, you could ask them simple questions like: What did you guys have for dinner? Did you play any fun games? You want them to feel comfortable talking to you, but not in a way where they are telling on the other parent and they will get into trouble. Try not to ask questions where you are being too nosey about their other parent. Remember this is supposed to be about the children. 

Talking to your children about little things will eventually turn your small conversations into big conversations. Show them you are interested in their day and what it is they enjoy. Take the time to listen to them. 

They might start off saying ‘nothing’ or ‘don’t know’. After some time of showing them you care, they will start to open up. They might even share some information you never thought they’d share with you. Even some things you may not have wanted to know. They need to know that it is okay to come to you and talk. Be their safe space. 
If you can build openness in your conversations with them it will make such a difference in your relationship. You will be so thankful when they become teenagers and go through their first breakups or even if something terrible were to happen to them. They will be able to come to you and talk. They will know that you have their back and will not judge them.


Why Everything You’ve Tried Isn’t Working?

Most single parents already know about the things they need to do to feel better – to have less stress, more energy, more peace.

But they’re not doing it.

Not because they’re lazy. Not because they can’t. Not because they’re overloaded.

But because they’re putting their time and energy toward other solutions that are less effective, or at least less effective on their own.


The solutions that are communicated the loudest and the most convincingly are the ones with the most money behind them.

The ones with the most money behind them are the ones that can earn the biggest profits, not necessarily the most effective solutions.

So, with millions of experts saying different things and companies using manipulative techniques to deplete their wallets, single parents with no training have to decide for themselves which solutions have the best shot at giving them some relief.

At no fault of their own, they’re usually wrong.

The solutions that are best for most single parents seem too basic to have a big impact.

The thinking I hear is, “What I’m dealing with is much too severe/complicated for something like that to work.”

Basic interventions can be extremely powerful, but they can’t be patented and copyrighted.

So, people make them more complicated. They package them into complex protocols, complete with a snazzy diagram and acadmic sounding multi-step methods.

Those doing this usually have great intentions. Attracting investors with a profitable product is an extremely effective way to get the resources needed to make positive change.

But that doesn’t mean that solutions that are simpler and less profitable aren’t as effective.

My passion is figuring out the most efficient ways for single parents to feel GREAT and handle whatever life throws at them.

Sometimes it starts by communicating that,
of all the possibilities in the world, the simple tips their grandmother told them are in fact the best ones to put their limited time and energy into.


Do you choose being single to avoid heartache?

Do you choose being single to avoid heartache?

Those of you who are single by choice, if you look deep inside your heart, do you really want to be single or do you believe that the relationship you want isn’t possible and therefore not worth pursuing?

The answer is different for different people, and even for the same person at different points in their life. I’m not insinuating that those who claim to love being single are actually afraid of pain.

But some are. And to those people, I’m sending love and saying don’t give up on what you really want.

Pain has no power unless we give it some. The worst it can do is be unpleasant.

Yes, VERY unpleasant. But still, that’s it.

Dating involves pain. Even if everyone had great intentions, incompatibility often surfaces after we’re already attached. Feelings aren’t always reciprocated. It burns badly each time.

But if we guard ourselves from pain we also close ourselves off from true love. True love requires intimacy. Intimacy requires vulnerability. Vulnerability leaves us…vulnerable.

One of the worst ways we hurt ourselves is by becoming attached to our fantasies about who someone is or what a new connection might become, instead of waiting with open curiosity to see what actually unfolds. That random stranger you never met ghosting you doesn’t hurt if you see them as a random stranger instead of the person who might have been your soul mate.

Another way we torture ourselves is by creating reasons for other people’s behavior that involve us being unworthy or unloveable. Back to the random stranger who ghosted you – was it because someone that great would never actually want you? They must have found someone better! Or is it because their spouse found their dating app and deleted it? You’ll never know! So stop trying to figure it out.

One of the most damaging ideas is that we’re supposed to know if dating someone is a bad idea. Yes, it’s a bad idea to ignore red flags. But we often put our best foot forward and don’t show the worst in ourselves until later on, usually when we’re under pressure. Heck, we wouldn’t want to date that side of ourselves either.

Compatibility means being able to deal with someone at their best and worst. So when we see someone’s less desirable side, sometimes we realize we’re incompatible. But instead of simply moving on we wonder why we didn’t see it sooner. Next thing you know, we see EVERYTHING as red flags.

Depending on your definition, we all have red flags. And we all hurt people sometimes.

My red flags, according to some people:

  • I’m divorced (must have been a bad wife)
  • I’m a single mom (must be irresponsible and have baggage)
  • I only go on dates when my son is with his dad (I must not be willing to make time for a relationship or make my partner a priority)
  • I‘m too available (I work online and tend to check and answer messages quickly. But I must be a clingy psycho)
  • I work a lot (must not have time for a partner)
  • I don’t have much of a social life (must be lonely, desperate, and miserable – not just a busy single mom)
  • I value sex positivity (Slut!)
  • I don’t commit or become exclusive for at least a few months (must be playing games and disloyal)

I’ve broken hearts. Didn’t want to, but it was the right thing to do because I didn’t feel the same or we weren’t compatible.

Realizing this about myself, it’s easier to open myself up to others.

No, I don’t put up with BS. I’ll walk away. But I don’t have walls up.

And so I get hurt. Deeply.

But I also experience intense romance, adventure, intimacy, and fun.

In fact, that’s been what I love most about being single.

I love it so much that anyone I get into a relationship with has to be even BETTER than single life.

One day I’ll find that person. I’ll keep my heart open until I do, no matter how much pain I experience along the way.

Our exes don’t deserve the power to sabotage our future happiness.

Nobody deserves that power.


5 Simple Strategies to Stay on Track When School Starts

Surely you want to be at the top of your game physically and mentally as you navigate these next couple of months.  You want to be the calm, centered parent your kids can lean on like a rock.  It would be great not to feel like a zombie as you rush your kids out the door in the morning, or at your wit’s end as you juggle multiple homework assignments.

However, understanding the value of self-care doesn’t magically make it possible.


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Are you setting yourself up to thrive as a single parent?
When you take the quiz, you'll get our FREE report based on your answers and that include: -Your key areas to work on -Quick suggestions to improve each area.
Are you setting yourself up to thrive as a single parent?
When you take the quiz, you'll get our FREE report based on your answers and that include: - Your key areas to work on. -Quick suggestions to improve each area.