The Single Parent Advice No One Tells You but Everyone Wants to Hear
Gone are the days when raising a child alone would raise eyebrows. These days, being a single parent is equated to emotional strength. There are a lot of reasons why you’re a single parent – divorce, widowed, abandonment, being unwed, surrogacy or when your partner is working away from home. Regardless of the reason, one truth remains the same: single parenting is an onerous task with many challenges.
Looking at statistics, there are about 24.6 million children in the US alone living in single-parent households.
These are the Joys of Single Parenting
* Strong bond
As a single parent, you tend to develop a unique and strong bond with your child because you are the sole person he/she can depend on for emotional support.
* Strong sense of maturity
Your efforts to ensure a safe and comfortable living for you and your child will not go unnoticed. Because of this, your child will tend to collaborate and work along with you to make things easier. Your child will learn about disappointments and failures early in life and that will lead to maturity in thought and action. Your child will also tend to be more empathetic and caring towards others.
* Strong sense of association
Your child will have a strong sense of association with extended family members and even the immediate community. These people form the core group that will influence your child as he/she grows.
* No parental conflicts
How can there be parental conflicts when you’re the only parent in the house? With less stress and tension at home, your child will feel more secure and that allows him/her to grow as a caring and free spirited person.
* Strong sense of discipline
Studies show that children of single parents tend to have a strong sense of discipline towards life. In an attempt to help their only parent, these children try to share the responsibilities and would perhaps even agree to following a set schedule to make things easier.
* Strong sense of responsibilities
As a single parent, you are probably burdened by household tasks 60% of the time. Your child, who has a strong sense of responsibility, will engage himself/herself in daily household chores to try to support you. Appreciate the value that your child brings with these contributions to your family by praising him/her.
Here are 3 Must-Know Tips to Experience the Joy of Single Parenting
1. Take advantage of your “me” time
It’s a given that single parenting would take up most of your time. However, you also need to have some alone time; otherwise, it’s easy to feel helpless or even somewhat depressed. Is there anything you used to love before you became a parent? Go back and do it every once in a while. Better yet, join a class or a group to mingle with like-minded people.
When you satisfy your soul with the things you love to do, you’ll find yourself enjoying work and single parenting more.
2. Encourage your child to help you find a babysitter.
Let your child pick his/her babysitter but make sure you do a background check too. That’s your due diligence as a parent.
3. Find shared passions
Shared passions will make bonding less expensive and much more expressive! Maybe you can go camping together or surfing even. The world is big for you and your child to explore.
The Challenges of Single Parenting
Single parents face unique challenges that could take a toll on their physical, emotional and mental health. Further, single parenting could also affect the child negatively and could affect his behavioral growth unfavorably.
* Emotional problems
As a single parent, you may sometimes discuss your problems with your child. These problems could be financial or work-related. When you do so, you are passing your woes to a little person who is not yet mature enough to understand the situation and respond accordingly. Your child’s self-esteem may start to deteriorate and he/she would begin to doubt his/her abilities. He/she would begin to draw comparisons with other children and even lose expectations of relationships later on.
* Tendency to act rebellious
Sometimes, children may blame themselves for the loss of one parent. You will see these children throwing tantrums and getting involved with the wrong company just to feel connected to someone. When they reach adolescence, they might even turn to drugs. Monitor your child’s development and give him/her the emotional support to get through any difficult phase in his/her life.
* Financial problems
The primary struggle a single parent has to go through is financial. You are the only earning member of the family. As a result, you may be unable to give your child everything he/she wants.
* Less bonding time
Because of your financial problems as a single parent, you may be forced to work extra hours to earn additional income. As a result, you may have less time left to bond with your child, making your child feel lonely and insecure.
* Tendency of depression and loneliness
Children of single parents also have the tendency to feel depressed and lonely. This is especially the case if the parents went through a divorce. Make sure that your child does not witness your fights with your partner. Also, make your child feel that you are there to provide emotional support whenever he/she needs it.
* Academic difficulties
Children of single parents may face academic difficulties if the remaining parent is not educated enough to guide the child, or finds it hard to support tutorial needs. Yet another reason could be stress. Your child may be too stressed to focus on his/her lessons thus resulting in academic failure.
Where Can You Get Single Parent Help?
Of course, the first people you want to reach out to when you need help is your family. Talk to your parents, siblings and other family members about what you’re going through. Maybe they can give you financial help or emotional support. The important thing is, you know you have people supporting you and loving you sincerely.
There are also other organizations that offer support to single parents and families. Some of them are:
Small Parent Advocate – a non-profit organization funded by a single mom. They provide valuable resources to single parent families from events to emotional support.
Single Parent Foundation – a local non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance to single parent families making anywhere from $30,000 – $40,000 annually.
Being a single parent is hard but with the right mindset and support group, you can lead a three-dimensional life that will bring you and your child joy despite the daily trials of parenting alone.