Single Parenting: The Trials and Travails

The Trials and Travails of Single Parenting
Dad SonRearing children in the 21st century with two parents can be hair-raising enough, and for a single parent coping on their own, it can be a downright scary prospect. You may even be an unmarried teenager trying to hold down a job while studying at the same time.

As a single parent, newly divorced, you may not even like the idea of your partner wanting to take responsibility for your child and having a part in its life. You may abhor the idea of having to maintain an ongoing relationship with the other parent and may baulk at the idea of establishing a visiting routine. Whatever your feelings, with a major change in your life, children want facts. Carefully explain how family life may change. For children, the unknown is worse than the reality.

The School of Hard Knocks

Single parent families headed by either the mother, the father or a grandparent is a tough job in the 21st century. Ask any one of the more than 20 million kids just in the United States alone who live with one parent. Single parents are nearly always working parents and this may mean a parent who is more away than at home. When they are home they are too tired and stressed to do fun things.
Many kids in a single parent home have to grow up quickly and handle responsibility way beyond their years. This can lead to loneliness and depression, especially when there isn’t support from family or friends. With no one to share day-to-day responsibilities and to help with crucial decision-making, single parents and the child may feel overwhelmed and as though nobody cares.

Welcome to the Real World!

The child may resent the fact that with just one parent, they have to get used to just one source of income which could mean less fun, less spending and less privileges. The life of a single parent can be financially draining and the circles you once moved in may no longer want you there.

If you’re a mom raising a son or a dad raising a daughter –

●you may worry about a same-gender mentor in the life of your child – the absence of a good role model
●you may wonder how you can be earning money, be a homemaker, friend, cook, sport-buddy and shopper all at the same time
●you may worry that you’re giving your child too little freedom or too much freedom for that matter

Single parents sometimes feel guilty for separating or divorcing and they try to make up for it by withholding discipline from the child, and in turn raise an insolent, cheeky, disrespectful brat.

Greeting through the day Needn’t be a Mission Impossible

sad womanDon’t try and be a super mom or super dad by trying to handle everything yourself. Getting up in the morning can be a painful transition if you set yourself unachievable goals. As you adjust to single parenthood, you’ll discover the positive side of going it alone like the freedom to do things your way and raise your child according to your own principles and rules.

You’re going to need support –

●rope in family and trustworthy friends to babysit just once in a while
●if you don’t have family and friends, join a support group
●get to know other single parents wrestling with the impact of divorce or death
●check out your local library for books on single parenting too and find out within the pages how to provide a safe, warm and happy environment for your child.  First time single parents can often do silly things with a new born baby through sheer ignorance, and baby books for single parents can be an excellent guide on getting your baby safely and happily through the first two years.

Being a single parent may not always be a piece of cake because its often about putting your child’s needs before your own, but as a single parent it is now the time to hold hands and stick together.

Images: missidogEric Huybrechts on Flicker