Raising a child on your own is stressful physically and mentally. It may be common now more than ever, but you must still know how to manage the challenges that go with it in order to raise a joyful, contented, and healthy child.
Common Demands Of Single Parenthood
If you are a single parent, either by choice or by circumstance, you must have known by now that the stakes are higher than when you have someone to share the responsibilities with. You have the sole accountability of taking care of the child in every facet day in and out.
Try not to become involved in endless legal tangles regarding custody and visitation. This will only put more stress on your children as well as you and your ex-partner. — Ron Breazeale Ph.D.
As the kid becomes older, there will be more pressure, and you will be more stressed and fatigued. Your job can even make you too tired and distracted that sometimes disciplining your child is overlooked and sometimes omitted, and so behavioral problems arise. And because male or female parental role modeling for the child is lacking while growing up, he may end up feeling confused and neglected.
There are instances when families with single parents have less income and less access to healthcare. With all the work and childcare taking up all of your time, you can become socially isolated. There will even be times when you will feel lonely and overwhelmed.
Tips To Beat The Stress
Love Unconditionally. Support your kid in his endeavors and praise him for doing well. Hang out with your child by setting a time each day to play or just read or chat with him.
It’s only by looking directly at each emotion that engulfs you that you’ll be able to deal with it and put it in its appropriate place. — Karen Finn, Ph.D.
Instill Healthy Habits. Put structure into your kid’s daily life. Following the scheduled meals and bedtime will help you ease up your parental duties and instill discipline in the kid early in his life. There will be fewer arguments as he already knows what to expect.
Set Rules. Have house rules and strictly enforce them. Teaching them how to speak with respect will make your working with a caregiver go smoothly.
Choose Efficient Child Care. If you will need childcare, either regularly or occasionally, be careful about asking a new friend or a partner to watch over your kid. They may have no babysitting experience and could be at a loss in case there is an emergency. Look for someone qualified who can provide support in a safe environment. Be cautious also in taking on the responsibility of babysitting an older kid.
Develop A Sense Of Responsibility. Let your child do age-appropriate house chores. Simply cleaning up his toys after playing or putting the plates in the sink is a good start for little kids. If he does so, praise him because this will instill in him over time a sense of pride in his accomplishments.
Don’t Blame Yourself. When dissatisfaction strikes, never feel guilty for being a single parent and do not make it an excuse to spoil your child in order to make up for it.
Give Yourself A Timeout. It is crucial that you learn to take care of yourself. The burden on your shoulder brought stress and responsibility of being a single parent is grievous. You have to stay healthy by being physically active, having a healthy diet, and getting enough quality sleep. Have time with your friends even for a few hours a week for a healthy social life. When you feel overwhelmed, support from friends and family is essential. Faith communities can be a great support group, too.
Have A Positive Outlook. Humor is essential when dealing with everyday life challenges especially in the presence of your kids. When difficult times come, it is okay to let your kid know but never forget to tell him that it is something temporary and that things will be better soon. Remind him that not all days are good or bad; it just depends on his level of understanding.
Studies affirm that teenagers from single-parent homes are at higher risk for depression and lower self-esteem. It is of importance that you initiate an open dialogue with your kid about how he feels from time to time, find time to bond with him and look for opportunities to introduce to him role models of opposite sex, who can be an uncle, grandparent, a friend, or even his biological father. You do not need to be in a romantic relationship with the opposite sex to present to your kid whom he can look up to.
You faced obstacles that no one should have put in your way – and in some countries, no one would have put in your way – and I bet you did great. Not perfectly – no one’s life is perfect – but I bet you have lived a life that you can feel truly proud of. — Bella DePaulo, Ph.D
If you happen to find yourself swimming in the sea of single parenting, equip yourself well and understand and be ready to cope with the pressure and stress of raising a child on your own. It is never easy to be a single parent. It is stressful but rewarding if you will be able to survive it successfully with the help of your own kid and supportive people around you.