As we discussed in a previous post, parenting has many rewards and to be a positive parent requires intentionality and effort from both parents. Since life comes with uncertainties and misreckonings, couples will separate for a variety of reasons and the sad reality is that most people find themselves having to raise their children on their own, either because their partner has passed on or because the other parent just isn’t interested in being a part of the child’s life.  While being a single parent can be daunting and overwhelming, there are ways in which the journey can be just as joyous as having a two-parent household. We have put together tips to help you manage life as a single parent.


The Challenges Faced by Single Parents

Being a parent isn’t easy, even when there are two parents actively involved in the child’s life. Single parents have an even harder job because, for a myriad of reasons, they have to do the job of two individuals whilst trying to pay the bills and invest in their own self-care.

A common challenge faced by single parents is financial strain; without the benefits of a dual-income, the responsibility to educate and provide for the child, or children, falls on the shoulders of the single parent—this can be especially hard for single parents who receive an insufficient salary or are unemployed. Financial difficulties mean that you have to be very careful with what you choose to spend your money on. Decision-making is also overwhelming for the single parent, the benefits of co-parenting is that one doesn’t have to make decisions by oneself; there is someone there to bounce ideas off of and with whom you can think things through.

Another challenge faced by single parents is having to explain to their children why their friends have both parents in the house and why they don’t; this can be a very difficult conversation to navigate because you want your child to know the truth without feeling that daddy or mommy left because of them.



How to be an Effective Single Parent

The first step to being an effective parent is to make sure that you invest in your own emotional and physical wellbeing. It might be hard but you have to prioritise activities such as eating healthy and exercising; this could be spending 45 minutes at the gym or taking daily walks or joining a class at your local gym. Seeing a therapist once a week will also work in your favour—you need a space that is yours, in which you can be seen and heard. If you have a space to verbalise your fears and anxieties, you are less likely to take it out on your children. Seeing a therapist will also give you the tools you need to have difficult conversations with your children, especially conversations regarding the whereabouts of the other parent.

Regarding finances, consider consulting a financial advisor to help you budget properly and help alleviate the stress of making financial decisions on your own. You can either go to your bank or speak to a friend or relative who is financially savvy. The best thing to do would be to speak to other single moms and get advice from them—there is growth in community. Being a single parent can be quite lonely—find a single parents support group and you’ll find that it makes a difference; there is something comforting and empowering about knowing that you are not the only one going through what you are going through.

We have all heard the proverbial adage, “no man is an island,” this is especially true for single parents—you cannot do this on your own and you don’t have to. Having a solid support system is crucial to being an effective single parent. Make a list of friends and family members you can reach out to when things get overwhelming, make sure that it’s people you can trust.


You Can Do This!

Raising a child on your own can be a struggle—there is a lot more you have to juggle and this can take its toll on your wellbeing, making it difficult for you to be an effective parent. But even with the difficulties, it is possible to practice positive parenting. With the right support in place and an investment in your own wellbeing, you have the ability to be the parent your children need.




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