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Single Parents Support Network (2012-03-20)
Join our list Challenges a Single Parent Faces Single parenthood can be very overwhelming and stressful at times because you have to raise your kids on your own, without your partner. According to psychologists, single parents are very overwhelmed initially, which can often lead to problems with disciplining their child. In most cases, the parents become too strict or too lenient. If one of the parents feels guilty for the separation or death of the other parent, then such parents at times avoid disciplining their kids. Or they become lenient with house rules, and try to overcompensate their children with gifts. I have an aunt who lost her husband, and to compensate for his loss, she spoilt her kids by giving them anything they asked for. Disciplining them was a far cry for her! Parents without partners face many challenges while bringing up their children, yet they raise them to the best of their abilities. Not to mention that if you have a teen, then parenting teenagers is a difficult task! This list of challenges that a single parent faces can be endless, and I may not be the best person to talk about it as only the single mom or single dad going through it all, would know more about it. It might be tougher than what you or I think. But just as there are challenges in life, there are also solutions or ways you can use to overcome such challenges. No matter what, as a general rule, you need to remember to take care of yourself first and reduce the stress due to the parenting challenges. Here are some ways that can help parents, especially parents without partners, to cope with the challenges of single parenting — 1- Look after yourself I place this point right on top because parents without their partners are known to ignore themselves as they have a very busy life. Try to include physical activities as part of your daily routine. Ensure you get plenty of sleep because sleep deprivation can lead to various other health issues. Also, eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Take a break occasionally and go out with friends or other family members — you deserve that bit of an outlet! This is important because it helps create an automated schedule so that your child also knows what to expect when. More so, you can also take out time for doing other tasks that need your attention. Simple things like just sit with them, read, cook, play, watch TV, or perhaps take up any activity that you both enjoy doing together. You need to give them double the love of both parents, by showing your support always. Yes, you need to discipline your kids, but do it with love. Explain to your child the rules you lay out and all that you expect them to follow. Things like picking up their toys or clothes from the floor or bed, talking respectfully, or helping you if need be, do help. If you are a single mom or single dad, you need to keep a limit to the time your child is online, or set a limit to their computer time. Or at times become strict with them and stop the usage of what they like — just to bring them back on line! But you cannot entirely rely on them to do so, nor can you trust a new friend or other family members entirely with your children, unless you know them very well. So, if you send your child to day care, ensure that the people there are qualified, and they provide a safe and secure environment. On the other hand, if you have someone to baby-sit or look after your child in your absence, ensure he or she is trustworthy. You also need to be prepared to handle emergencies by keeping your first aid ready at home. Preparing a list of emergency numbers of family and friends can help in your hour of need. There are many single parenting support groups, social networking sites that you can join, or seek social service if you want. Or perhaps you can build or join a community of like minded solo parents. Sharing your life with other single mothers and single fathers, or calling a trusted loved one, friendly neighbor, or family for help does no harm. In fact, you get to learn much more from each other and can share your joys and sorrows with parents who sail in the same boat as you do. Take into account — your retirement, education, investments, and saving for the holidays too, which are important stress busters. Being a single mom or single dad also means that you need to cater to the expenses. Write down all that you spend weekly, so that you know how much money you are spending and saving. Take into account the unexpected costs that suddenly show up, and save money for emergencies. There are many tools such as tax estimators and calculators , budgeting programs, and expense trackers available online that can assist with this. Instead, be open and share your feelings with them. Reassure them that things will get better. Remember, they are children and need to feel secure, which happens only through your words and actions. Gather yourself, and accept that such is life and gather your inner strength once again. Perhaps it was the best possible solution and meant to be. Nor should you spoil your child by trying to make up for being a single parent. They need more opportunities. Striking the right work life balance , accompanied with the needs of your children can be tough on one parent. Let them know about the changes in your life. Accept the fact that you cannot be both parents. Just do your best. You need to bond better so that your child will open up with you completely. This saves you last minute hassles. You can even use their online chat rooms to talk to other single parents. Studies indicate that parents who get support are able to use better parenting skills as compared to those who try to do it alone. Yes, where money matters and maintenance is concerned, you need to talk those issues out. Wait to strengthen your relationship before you introduce your partner to your child. Your partner should treat you and your child with respect. Give them time to know each other and develop a relationship. But it can be a rewarding one if you can be honest with your child, remain positive, express your love, which can reduce the stresses of single parenting and help your child to become a better person. Let me pep you up a little if you are parenting all alone. You do have the brighter side to see to, like — you are the boss, and there is no one you have to be answerable to, unlike normal parents! I think you are doing great for yourself — rise up and shine! How do single parents cope? Share in the comments.
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