Raising a child alone, you have to be one part superhero, one part drill sergeant, and one part Mother Teresa with a smidge of Martha Stewart. And that’s just the beginning.
The challenges of single parents run the gamut. From family obligations to coordinating schedules, from working a job and keeping it together at home, you’ll face budget problems, time constraints, and emotional baggage. It’s a lot to juggle. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn.
Whether it’s divorce, death, or having a spouse working long hours, single parenting isn’t for sissies. You have to possess the heart of a lion and nerves of steel. You’re on the front lines, but the good news is you’re not alone, and there are ways to cope and prevent future problems.
Here are some parenting tips for single parents in finding support:
The family unit has changed, and it’s time to pull together as a team. Children need structure and boundaries. Single parents provide this by fostering a team atmosphere where everyone knows their place and function.
Age appropriately and talk to your children. Training professionals recommend that personal and emotional baggage between you and your ex should be kept between you, but for single parents, communicating with your children is vital. Encourage them to express their feelings, and don’t be afraid to let them know it’s OK to be angry, hurt, or confused.
Raising a child alone is a monumental task. To obtain balance and structure means developing a schedule and routine. This provides stability and security for your children and helps you cope with the demands of your time. Don’t forget to schedule downtime, and keep the schedule flexible to include time for yourself.
Your children need to know they are important and matter. Counselors advise setting aside some private time with each child to talk about what they are feeling and how they are coping. Let them know you’re there for them and express how much you love and care about them.
You need nurturing, also. If you are stressed out, your kids will be, too, and it’s a self-feeding cycle. Stop it by taking time to wind down, relax, and de-stress. Raising a child alone can make you feel overwhelmed and overworked. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be in no shape to take care of anyone else.