THE SINGLE PARENT CHALLENGE
What You Need, What You
One in four parents raise a child alone. Of
these single parents, 90 percent are women. From their
experiences, information about how to cope with this challenge is
becoming more readily available. As a single parent, you'll
probably need extra understanding, patience and cooperation. In
turn, you're likely to develop a new sense of independence and
self-confidence. You can become strong and adaptable. Your
children can become responsible and secure. Your relationship
with your children can become closer than ever. Common Trade Offs
Most parents make sacrifices for their children. Single parents
compromise for two. You can probably expect:
- A sense of loss of self, along with loss
of personal time.
- Tension from forced association with an
ex-spouse or in-laws.
- Taking blame for the upsetting behavior of
- Worry about finances.
Your list may be shorter or longer. Most single
parents agree that, in the beginning, they feel poor, lonely,
overwhelmed and guilty.
Ways to Cope
Once you understand your feelings, you can make
a plan to reduce your stress. First, you might take the time to
get quality day care. This can reduce your distractions while you
Second, you might want to talk with others who
have solved single parenting problems for themselves. Friends,
support groups, and co-workers can share ideas. You may also be
able to share chores and services.
Third, you can take advantage of the resources
available for single parents. Community and special interest
groups exist to provide help when you need it. Financial
advisors, time management experts and others can help you feel
you're in control.
Fourth, you can take good care of yourself so
that you can provide quality time for your children. It's
estimated that the average parent spends just 20minutes a day
with an individual child. This is barely enough time for checking
in. When you're feeling good, you can have the energy to be more
Benefits for your Children
Children who travel to visit the other parent
make new friends and spend time with new adults. This experience
can be enriching. Talking about it can help your child feel
secure within the family. The interdependence that you and your
children develop can help you feel closer to one another.
Children of single parents often develop an early sense of
individual responsibility. For example, sharing housework can
provide special time for sharing feelings and experiences.
Performing assigned duties can give your child a sense of
importance in your household.
Turn Negatives into Positives
By discovering how others cope, you can find
ideas for yourself. You can turn negatives into positives for you
and your child.
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