Divorce can be a difficult time in anyone’s life, although raising a child alone can be even more difficult. The hectic life of a single parent can be overwhelmingly stressful. For single parents, it is paramount to fully understand and cope with this pressure for it not to rub off on your child. The good news is, you are not alone. In the United States, as low as 40% and high as 50% of marriages end in a divorce. As a result, single-parent families are more common than ever before. In fact, there are around 12 million households headed by a single parent, according to the United States Census Bureau in 2017.
These parenting tips for single parents will help those manage the special challenges and circumstances they experience and provide their child with a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.
Common Challenges For Single Parents
Before the parenting tips for single parents, it is important to recognize the common challenges single parents currently face. Raising a child is challenging under any circumstances, but for single parents, the stakes are raised. Those without a partner must take on the responsibility and bear the burden of any and all aspects of day to day child care. This can result in increased stress, pressure, and fatigue. If this gets in the way of proper emotional support or discipline of your child, behavioral issues may develop.
In addition, families with a single parent generally have less access to healthcare and lower incomes, on average. For single parents, raising a child while also juggling work or a career can be difficult financially as well as socially. The absence of a female or male parental figure for your child could be cause for concern as well.
The Lack of a Male or Female Role Model
If you are a single parent and your child’s other parent is not actively involved in their life, you may begin to worry about the effect a lack of a male or female parental figure is having on your child’s life. You can mitigate these effects by:
Staying positive about the opposite sex – Focus on positive characteristics and accomplishments of members of the opposite sex in your family, community, or even celebrities. Stay clear of negative and generalized statements about the opposite sex. Try contradicting these negative stereotypes by sharing an example of someone who does not align with the generalized statement.
Introducing your child to members of the opposite sex – These can be romantic or nonromantic relationships, as long as they are positive relationships with a responsible person who can act as a role model for your child.
How to Talk to Your Children About Divorce or Separation
The majority of families with a single parent exist as a result of separation or divorce. Though no one wants to put their families through the emotional pain or suffering sometimes involved in a divorce or separation, it is sometimes necessary to end a toxic or physically or emotionally abusive marriage. Although no one has to approach this prospect alone. A divorce attorney can help you and your family get through this turbulent time and help you talk to your children about divorce or separation. Many parents who have gone through messy divorces and were unprepared for single parenthood wish they would have read some parenting tips for single parents.
Reassure your child that the separation or divorce is a decision that has been made for the best. Reassure them that they did nothing wrong and avoid placing blame. Make them aware of the changes that may occur and listen to their thoughts and feelings. Try to answer any questions thoroughly and honestly.
It is of the utmost importance to have a plan regarding custody and the future living situation since questions regarding these factors are bound to arise. It may be necessary to speak to a child custody attorney or child support lawyer to legally work out these arrangements beforehand.
Also, address any concerns regarding your future living situation with your real estate services. They might be able to help you find a new house or apartment so you can start living more independently. A child counselor may also be helpful for you and your child to discuss these issues and any concerns or fears. Communication is key to how your child will fare and adapt after your separation or divorce.
A family law firm can assist you with everything from child support, spousal support, alimony property division, and child custody and visitation. After recognizing the common challenges single parents face and the importance of a divorce lawyer, the following are a few parenting tips for single parents that act as general guidelines for single parents to make the most of their family situation.
General Strategies and Parenting Tips For Single Parents
According to some research, teens living in a single-parent household experience an increased risk of low self-esteem and depression. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and signs in case they arise. They may include a hopeless outlook on life, feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt, disliking one’s looks, or a loss of interest or withdrawal from activities, sports, hobbies, or social life. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your teen or child, you should talk to their doctor. Meanwhile, there are many effective strategies you can implement for the well being of you and your child. Here a few other parenting tips for single parents:
Shower them with love – First and foremost, your child deserves your unconditional love and support and a certain amount of praise. It is important to set aside time every day for bonding activities, such as playing or reading with your child.
Staying positive – it is important to stay positive, as well as honest, with your child during difficult times. Remind your child that the current situation will eventually improve. Remember to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of humor while coping with the challenges presented by everyday life as a single parent.
Set reasonable rules and limits – rules, such as cleaning up after yourself and speaking with respect, should be set, explained to your child, and enforced. Set reasonable limits for playtime and screen time. Make sure that other caregivers in your child’s life abide by the same rules.
Implement a routine and stick to it – a consistent routine like a scheduled bedtime and mealtimes will help add structure to your child’s life.
Remember to take care of yourself – If you do not properly take care of yourself, your ability to care for your child will suffer. This includes focusing on the hallmarks of a healthy life, regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of sleep. Make time for activities with friends or activities you enjoy alone. Lean on child care a few times a week.
Accept help from others – Sometimes the hours spent behind the wheel chauffeuring your child back and forth from school, sport practices, after school activities, doctor’s appointments, or the family dentist can be a lot to handle on your own. With multiple children, it can become even more difficult as a single parent. Work out a carpool schedule with other parents to provide some much-needed relief. Also, give your child a certain amount of responsibility that is appropriate for their age.
Seek emotional support – do not forget about seeking out and accepting emotional support, too. Consider joining a support group for single parents in your local community or faith community. Do not blame yourself or feel guilty about being a single parent, or feel you need to make up for it by spoiling your child.
Learning to say no – it is impossible to buy kids everything they want, especially when you are on a tight budget. These financial challenges may lead to guilt, but in reality, your children do not need the most expensive things or luxurious gifts. You do not have to get into the minutiae of your family budget with your children, but you can begin to teach them about the priorities in life.
Finding quality child care – to help lighten the load and complete all the tasks you need to, you may need to find regular, quality child care. Look for safe and qualified child care programs that provide a positive influence on your child’s development and school readiness. If you have an older child, it is not fair to rely on them as a babysitter. Be leery of asking new friends or partners to babysit your child.
Other Parenting Tips For Single Parents
Because families with a single parent are generally living on a lower income, creating a budget will help keep you financially stable. Once you have created a budget, it is important to constantly keep it updated. Many single mothers say this is one of the best parenting tips for single parents. Once you have a solid understanding of how much money is coming in and how much is being spent and where it is being spent, it will be easier to determine where you need to cut back or how much you can splurge that month.
Creating a budget with pad and paper will do just fine, or you can opt to use Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, which will actually simplify the process. If your budget allows it, set up autopay for your monthly expenses so you never miss a payment deadline or suffer late fees. This will also help streamline your budgeting.
Managing Your Finances
Ensure that you are capitalizing on tax breaks like the child tax credit and the child care tax credit when you are filing your yearly tax return. If you discover your budget is tight, there are plenty of government assistance programs available to single mothers. SNAP, commonly referred to as Food Stamps, is a program run by the federal government that provides assistance to single mothers and low-income families for the purposes of buying food. You can always rely on your family law attorney to give you more tips and tricks about the legalities surrounding assistance programs.
WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. The program provides eligible mothers with federal and state grants to help pay for health care, nutrition education, and supplemental food. More than half of all infants born in the United States benefit from the assistance program. WIC is a great option for single mothers who are struggling financially. For many of them, this is among the essential parenting tips for single parents.
Connecting With Other Single Parents
All parents need to socialize with other grown-ups just like children should socialize with other children. Find other single parents who have children that are close to the same age as yours. This can be an opportunity for activities like playdates and sleepovers, or you can alternate watching each other’s kids one day of the weekend. You can save money on babysitters while your child has fun making friends in the neighborhood.
It might just be through those fellow parents that you’re able to find a great child support lawyer or discover other ways to make it through your divorce.
Sometimes it can be difficult to forget the memory of a former spouse, so do not hold on to any tokens that remind you of a toxic relationship. Consider selling your engagement ring or diamond wedding band safely through a reputable online diamond buyer or a local jewelry store and put that money towards starting your new life. When considering an online diamond buyer, make sure to check their rating with the Better Business Bureau and if their shipping process is insured and secure. Many online jewelry and gold marketplaces allow buyers to bid on items, which can drive up the sale price of your item significantly.
Being a single parent can be an extremely challenging and stressful experience, but most single parents who have been at it for a while will also tell you it is incredibly rewarding. By following these parenting tips for single parents, including showing your child plenty of love, staying positive, surrounding them with great role models, implementing rules and a routine, and accepting help from others, all while remembering to take care of yourself, any single parent can reduce their stress level and set up their child for success.