By Alexandra Wright
Let’s face it; raising a child as a single parent is never walk in the park. It can become quite stressful, if not downright daunting. But, you can take heart knowing that you are not alone; it is estimated that single parents head more than two-thirds of US families. With divorce rates, separations, and abandonment at an all-time high, this news comes as no big surprise to many.
Which begs the question: What are some of the challenges that single parents face while raising children alone? Read on.
Trouble Balancing Work and Parenting
Working parents know the hassle of striking a balance between work and life. For single parents, this is tenfold harder. To make the matter worse, you need to work extra hard since your family is probably dependent on a single-source income. On the overall, juggling work, life, and parenting can become overwhelming.
Handling Change in the Behavior of Your Children
It is quite common for kids to change their behavior, especially after an emotional divorce. Boys, for example, can start acting aggressively or become arrogant when a father abandons the family. Some even assume a husband-like behavior towards the mother. Handling these emotionally-charged changes can be nerve-wracking.
Raising a child alone is burdening financially. In fact, most single parents do not get financial support from the ex-spouses, making it hard to make ends meet. With bills and expenses up against your neck, it is easy to neglect your children in a bid to make an extra buck.
Loss of Self-Confidence
Being left or divorced by your significant other can take a massive toll on your self-esteem. To add insult to injury, it becomes little hard to ask for help from friends for fear of rejection. That’s why most single parents fall prey to vices like alcoholism, drug abuse, and even prostitution.
As a single parent, you are responsible for tasks and duties customarily relegated to two parents. You will have to cook, clean, do laundry, pick up kids, help with their homework, prepare for play dates, and so much more, all while trying to bring bacon to the table and live your life! That being said, it is easy for single parents to suffer from bouts of depression and extreme fatigue. The emotional and physical exhaustion is simply unbearable.
These are just but a few challenges of raising a child as a single parent. What’s next, right? Do you let fate take over? That’s a big no-no. Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to overcome challenges mentioned above and keep your chin high up.
Tip #1: Do Away with the Guilt
It’s easy to blame yourself for what’s happening to your family. You’re not to blame whatsoever. So, don’t beat yourself up – instead, stay positive and keep the guilt at bay. You don’t have to spoil your children or get carried away trying to make up for raising them as a single parent.
Tip #2: Build a Support Network
You’ve probably heard of the cliche that “it takes a village to raise a kid.” It’s perhaps not entirely accurate, but the bottom line is that you cannot and should not do it alone. Believe it or not; many people love you and want to help. Don’t build a wall, instead, let them form a robust support system for you. You’d be surprised how easy single-parenting will become.
Tip #3: Staying On Top Of Your Finances
Raising kids on child support or a single income is no picnic. That’s why you need to get a handle on all aspects of your finance. You need to come up with a practical budget and stick with it. It is also time to thinking about a college fund, long-term investments, retirement, and so on. Even better, bring in a professional to give you sound financial advice. By thinking of the big financial picture, you can enhance your earning power.
Tip #4: Create a Daily Routine
Remember you are doing tasks for two. Try to schedule your bedtimes, meals, chores, and other aspects of your day at regular times so that everyone is on the same page. More importantly, a consistent routine makes your kids feel safe, and helps you get more organized.
Tip #5: Be Strict with Discipline Matters
It’s crucial for your kids to know the kinds of behaviors that are expected of them. You should come up with consistent rules and techniques of discipline.
Tip #6: Be a Parent, Not a Pal
As a single parent, it’s tempting to see your kids as pals. The last thing you want is to over-rely on them for sympathy, companionship or comfort which will help prevent expressing unwarranted anger, frustration, and emotions towards them.
Tip #7: Show Love & Put Your Affection and Love into Action
Don’t be all doom and gloom. Yes, you are a divorcee or your spouse passed on, but you need to keep optimism going. So, let your love abound and spread in your family. It is excellent for your kids’ personal growth and emotional development.
RECOMMENDATION: Also Read Parenting Scope Article “Connecting with Your Child as a Single Parent” which provides six additional tips for establishing a better connection and relationship with your child.
Raising a kid entirely on your own doesn’t have to be difficult. With these handy tips, you can take your single-parenting to a whole new and exciting level.