Being a single parent can have its rewards and its challenges. Often, single parents are simply overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities involved. Single parents have to take on the role of two people. A single parent must be both father and mother at various times in his or her child’s life. How can you manage a single parenthood successfully?
First, you need to keep in mind that you are not a super hero. You can’t possibly be everywhere all the time. Of course the needs of your child depend on several factors. Is your child still a baby or only pre-school or elementary school aged, or is your child a pre-teen or teenager.
Does your ex-spouse shoulder a lot of the responsibility, or are you the sole guardian and provider? Do you have friends and family members to help you, or are you completely alone? The answers to these questions probably have a direct bearing on how well you are coping as a single parent.
Depending on your child’s age, he or she will have different needs accordingly. If you have very young children, they will require a lot of your immediate attention. Young children need the reassurance that their parents will always be there to take care of them. Your life will become consumed with taking care of and providing for your child. You are probably already holding down a full-time job, so the combination of raising your young one and working can become overwhelming at times.
If you are the parent of a teenager, you have already discovered he or she has a whole different set of needs. While he may not want or need your constant attention, he will need supervision and guidance. He may also need your help to work through any issues he has because of the divorce. Do not mistake your teenager for an adult.
Even though he may desire more freedom, and your working situation may give him more freedom than he needs, you should still monitor his activities closely. If you can afford it, buy him a cell phone so that you can easily keep track of him while you are at work. Try to spend a few minutes every day talking with him about his life and activities.
If you and your spouse share joint custody of your children, you may have a lighter load than other single parents. Joint custody can be good or bad, depending on the relationship of the ex-spouses. It is in your best interest and your child’s best interest that you try to get along with your ex. Of course, this isn’t always possible. Don’t try to cut your ex out of your child’s life, however. If there are times that you can’t fulfill your responsibilities, the other parent should be the one to take up the slack. Your child deserves to have you both in his life.
If you are the sole provider and guardian of your child, you have advantages and disadvantages. You may be able to avoid simple conflicts that occur when two parents are involved, such as making decisions and caring for your child.
However, your child will typically have more needs. If you are a father caring for a young girl, you will have to do your best to help her with feminine issues as she grows. If you are a mother caring for a young boy, you will need to help your child grow into a young man, and you may have to search for programs that offer male role models, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
No matter what your situation is, though, you need a support system of friends and family. These people can help you and your children through the many trying and difficult times that will sometimes occur in your lives. If you do not have any family members nearby, or you are new to the area, you need to reach out to others not just for your sake, but also for your child’s sake.
You might want to join a church, or you can look in the newspaper for various support groups that meet in your area. Talk to the parents of your children’s friends at school. Make an effort to surround yourself with people who will love you and help you and your children.
Single parenting can be difficult and lonely at times. If you take care of yourself as you look after your children, however, you can become a stronger and more capable parent and individual.Single parenting