You are in good company if you are raising a child of your own. Single parent families have become more common than ever before. Though, single parents have to face many kinds of challenges while raising their child happily and healthily. Many single parents have to sacrifice their needs as they love prioritizing their child’s needs. But it is more than sacrificing to be a strong and successful single parent. Have a glimpse at the kind of challenges single parents face, techniques to reduce stress, and strategies to raise the child as desired.
Challenges faced by a single parent
Raising a child can be troublesome under various circumstances. Without having a life partner or a spouse, the stakes become higher. As a single parent, you must understand that the sole responsibility behind raising your child is yours and thus you need to consider every aspect of life starting from early child care.
Being a single parent means additional pressure which includes fatigue and stress. If you are distracted or tired and need emotional support or discipline your child constantly, many behavioral issues develop.
Single parent generally results in low income and less access to health care facilities. Child care along with juggling work can be tiresome both financially and socially. But you forget about all these challenges when you see a smile on your child’s face.
What Single parents must do to reduce stress?
- When you detect any kind of behavioral issue in your child, remember to show love and praise your child for no reason. Give your child unconditional love and support by playing, reading, or even watching a movie with your little one.
- What you expect your child to do or develop good habits can be maintained by following a schedule. Make a routine for your child and even for yourself regarding meals and bedtime that may make your child more disciplined.
- Find a good childcarer or assign your child’s duty to a qualified caregiver who can stimulate good habits in your child. When at work, never rely on the older child to babysit rather ask your partner or friends to look over your child.
- Explain to your child about the house rules and what you expect of them like respecting others and speaking politely. Work with or observe other caregivers so that you can provide your child with consistent discipline. Re-consider certain limits like your child’s screen time and when your child can do things of their own.
- Never feel guilty if you find that your child is getting spoiled. Believe me, this issue is faced even when a couple raises their child together.
- One of the best ways to reduce stress is being positive and honest with your child whenever you face a difficult time. Though remind your child that things will be better. Keep a sense of humor while dealing with everyday challenges rather than making them intense.
- Additionally, never hesitate to give your child an appropriate level of responsibility instead of expecting him/her to behave like a grown-up adult.
Positive strategies for single parents to raise a child alone
Dating for single parents
Dating while parenting single-handed is no big deal. After all, you have a life to enjoy of your own. Though, dating may impact your relationship with your child. Thus, you have to select your dating partner carefully like the one who can take care of you as well your child with respect. Before introducing your new partner to your child, consider developing a strong relationship. When decided to introduce, you must explain to your child about the positive qualities of your new partner. Do not expect that your child and your partner may mix up instantly. Rather, give them some time to know and feel conformable with each other. Be very clear that your new partner does not seek to replace the other parent but is trying to comfort you and your child.
One thing I have observed well is that single parents juggle the most as they need to share physical custody of their child. You need to follow a scheduled routine, manage your child’s homework and other routine and finally pack and transport all that goes with the child to manage joint custody.
To organize themselves, a single parent can use online calendar apps such as Cozi or Google calendar to manage and create events and share the same with other family members or your ex. Once you get accustomed to it, keep adding new things as soon as you feel such as your child’s sports event or report card day.
Agility is what you need to show
Being well-organized may not work every time as many things might turn wrong or different than expected. When such things happen, look for an alternative solution and be creative. For instance, if you cannot go to receive your child from school due to an ongoing meeting, call the childcare provider or your neighbor instead. If your ex is online, you may ask to swap the responsibility with other things. As long as your child feels OK, be agile and have room for changes. Sometimes responding simply to a request with a smile is all you need to adopt a change or develop mutual flexibility with your ex.
You must build a clear picture or a mindset of what you want from your little one. This is where you need to commit, determine and convince yourself to be a strong and well-determined single parent. The next step is to identify where you are at present and ascertain what rules can make your life simple when staying individually or with family. For example, you may create everyday goals like leaving your child to the school or taking them back and relocating child care to a close relative. Long-term goals may include how you can manage money effectively or improve your co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Single parent needs to be strong enough to demonstrate their child that they mean what they mean or say. This does not mean that you are not going to change for anything. But making your child listen to you is important to avoid their misbehavior. All you need is to be confident and firm in your decision-making. It will be easier for you to manage your child’s misbehavior from the start than expecting your child to make amendments of their own. In those times when you are not sure about it, check the same with your friend or any close one.
Have faith in yourself
One of the most important strategies for single parents is that they must always trust themselves no matter how the situation gets along. Look for those days when you have started with single parenting and how you accomplished so far. Praise yourself, take a diary and jot important things you’ve done till now. Once you start writing, you will know how you have managed so far and made personal growth. The next time you feel low, just go through your book and get self-motivated
Struggles do not last long
Mentally strong single parents believe that struggle is not consistent and things will turn in the right direction with time. So, if you face a conflict with your ex due to child custody or become frustrated because your little one has become whiny and clingy, it is only for now and things will change. Never stop sharing your unconditional love with your child and let his/her confidence grow in you. You will recognize that your struggles become victory and you learn many things meanwhile. This is the time when your hope and joys are strengthened for more accomplishments.
Male role models
It is feasible that a growing child staying with a mother knows less about men. Many times, when parents get divorced and the child stays with the mother, they end up building the wrong notion about men. So, it becomes necessary for single mothers to provide the child with good male role models who can guide children properly and show them how good men behave or who are ‘good men’ in the real world. It can be your father, brother, or any close friend who can play the role of a male model. Encourage your child to spend time with him. It can be playing cricket in an alley or watching a football match together just to spend some quality time. In this way, your child will develop a positive emotion regarding both the sexes.
Relying on others and being independent
As a single parent, of course, you need to stay independent whether out of preference or necessity. Smart single parents are well aware when they need to get alone with their child or when they need to rely on someone to get through the day. Just scroll through your network and find if anyone wants to provide support. Although you may feel alone maybe it is not the case. Take a turn around and look for new opportunities to spend time with your relatives, old friends, or neighbors who can provide support just in case you need one.