Raising a child alone is difficult and challenging but do know that you are not alone. Single parents are more common now than ever. This could be a result of divorce, being widowed, or being single by choice. Regardless of all of these, solo parenting is one rollercoaster ride filled with decision-making, stress, and overbearing demands, even more so when you are inexperienced. And while it’s true that parenting is learned best through experience, parenting books and a little advice here and there won’t hurt. Here are the top tips for single parents who are just getting ready to raise a child alone.
Challenges of Single Parenting
Without a partner to help and balance everything out, raising a child alone is nerve-wracking, As a single parent, all responsibilities are tied down to you, this includes financial, emotional, and physical support.
If the parent is not stable on her own and hasn’t been consistently disciplining the child, behavioral problems might occur later. Furthermore, single-parent families have it tougher than most with low incomes and less access to health care. Not to mention, juggling a job (multiple jobs, even!) and taking care of the child.
There’s also the worry of the lack of a father or mother figure for the child.
Tips for Single Parents: How to raise a child alone
Singlehandedly raising a child is a journey that will quickly exhaust the joy of parenthood. Single parents often find themselves trapped in a pressure cooker and boiled down with stress and struggles.
For the new single parents, remember you are not alone and soon, it’ll get better. Here are some wholesome tips for single parents who raise their children alone.
One of the greatest struggles of single parents is finances. Even a full family of three (mom, dad, and kid) can feel the difficulty of money matters, what more when you are managing finances alone with a growing child? This is where budgeting, learning about long-term investments, and planning come in.
There are instances where you might need to give up a thing or two in favor of saving up or making the ends meet. Budgeting is important but what’s even more crucial is sticking to it. It’s also essential to plan for retirement and your kid’s college.
If it allows you financially, you can improve yourself more by going back to school, taking a post-grad degree, or extra job training.
Have a support system
There’s only so much a single parent can do alone, this is why it’s important to have a stable support system. This is could be family and friends whom you can ask to look after your little one as you run errands or someone you can talk to when things get too rough.
It can be tempting to bottle it all up and try to solve problems on your own, but trust us when we day nothing beats having a steady shoulder to lean on.
Be honest with your kids
Eventually, it’ll come up. One day, your little kid will come up to you and ask you questions you don’t know how to answer to. For single parents, it could be ‘where is my mom/dad?’
The best approach to this is to answer your child’s question honestly and in words and situations where they’ll be able to fully understand. Do note that this is not easy for your kid as well so make sure that he has the support and help that he needs.
Give your children time
Single parents would often find themselves seemingly running out of time every day. There’s the laundry that needs to go into the washing machine, meals to be cooked, dishes to wash, floor to be broomed, and a whole lot of household chores. But what’s important is to spend time with your child too.
Set aside time each day and spend it with the kids. Indulge them in their interests and show them that you support them and will love them despite everything.
Give yourself time
Most single parents feel guilt when they are spending time for themselves. However, this is also a vital step. It’s difficult managing kids alone, doing household chores, and even working through a day job. Schedule a time for yourself and spend it any way you want. Take a warm shower without hurrying, finally read that book you’ve been putting on hold for months now, chat with a close friend, or maybe go for a walk alone. Set aside a me-time and take this a chance to breathe, relax, and recharge.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Being a single parent means that there is more on the plate than usual. More stress, more demands, and more responsibilities. But remember to be realistic. It’s not going to be perfect every time. You won’t be able to give everything your child needs and there’s no need to be guilty about it. What’s important is to show them all the love that you have and everything that you can.
Your love and love support will come a long way more than material gifts.