Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Single parent's guide

Favourite son child mother hugIt can be tough being a single parent but there's loads of help available. We've got all you need to know about being a lone parent and where to get help.

Did you know?

  • Recent surveys have found that almost 1 in 4 of children live with only one parent.
  • In 9 out of 10 of those households the kids are with their mum.

After a break-up

Becoming a single parent can bring up a mixture of emotions. You might be scared that you won't be able to cope on your own. Maybe you're worried about money or you're angry and frustrated about the relationship that broke down.

You might even become depressed and want counselling.

All of these emotions are very common and if you talk to other single parents you'll probably find that they feel these things too.

 In these articles will give some tips and advice for single mothers needing support. 

Advantages For The Single Parent

Greater Control
An obvious advantage is having far greater control over the childs routines, discipline, nutrition and habits than may be the case when living with the father. There are sometimes conflicts over how to discipline the child and that just leads to confusion and insecurity.

 Manipulative Children: Thwarted!
A big problem in some households is the children trying to divide and rule: trying to play one parent off against the other in order to get what they want. This is clearly much less of an issue in single parent households.

Total Financial Control
Having total financial control can be a huge relief if you were with a financially irresponsible partner. You may have less income now, but you're now able to choose exactly how it's used.

Less People to Care For
It's often said by mothers that the husband is like another child in the house, in fact my husband jokes about it! Of course some husbands are more helpful and considerate around the house than others. But all husbands make basic demands on their wives' time and energy. For the single mother they need only worry about themselves and the kids
More Time For The Child
Another of the advantages of single parenting is having more time for the child. The single mom is able to focus on the childs best interests without distractions or conflicting opinions getting in the way.

Advantages For The Child of a Single Parent

Leaving The Conflict Behind
Some of the advantages of single parenting arise from a high-conflict divorce situation. The obvious advantage then is that (at least day to day) the conflict is left behind. There is plenty of research to show that it is detrimental for a child to live in a household full of conflict. It is damaging to their self esteem to see abuse take place because they subconsciously blame themselves. It also distorts their view of relationships and therefore reduces their ability to build relationships with others.

Increased Independence
Children of single parents tend to be more independent. I guess that's because there is only one adult to do everything that needs to be done and therefore the children will need to muck in at an earlier age than perhaps otherwise they would.

Two Different Home Regimes
Spending time in two different home situations will teach the child flexibility, resilience and adaptability; all skills which will assist them in adult life.

Decide What You Want
At the end of the day there can be a million advantages of single parenting, but if you're unhappy, they mean nothing. At that point you can decide to take considered action to meet someone for frienship or romance.

 Disadvantages For The Single Parent

There are several disadvantages of single parenting, but there are ways to overcome these with some thought, planning and organisation. The situations of single parents vary greatly: it may be that you are divorced, widowed or never married. Your baby may have been planned or unplanned. Here are some disadvantages that are common to most single parents:

Lack of Support
One of the disadvantages of single parenting is lack of support. Mothers with parters or husbands have support in parenting, even if that's only for part of each day. They have some backup. When you're a single mother you don't have that backup there every day. If you're lucky you'll have family nearby who support you, but if not what do you do? A good source of help can often be your local library; they will likely be able to give you information about statutory provided support for parents, and voluntary organisations. Also you can do an internet search for "single parent support" looking for sites within your country and I'm sure lots of helpful sites will come up.

 Too Much Pressure and Stress
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is pressure and stress. Not having enough support can lead to a feeling of being under pressure and this will cause you stress. Motherhood is a demanding role and feeling that you have to do it all alone can lead to overload. There are many strategies you can use to deal with stress: among these are relaxation techniques, going for a walk and exercise.

Financial Pressure
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is financial pressure. In the modern world and the expectations that most of us (at least in the Western world) have about our lifestyle, it is imperitive to have two incomes coming into the household. Everything costs so much and the kids have high expectations; wanting this toy and that computer game. This can put incredible pressures on single parents who tend to have severly constrained finances. I was living on government benefits while I was a single mom and was only able to run a car with the financial help of my parents with tax and insurance. Children of single parents I guess need to learn to enjoy what they do have and all you can do is try to teach them that attitude. Leading by example is the best way to get this message across. I sincerely believe that being grateful for what you've got is the first step towards getting more.

Child Care Issues
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is childcare. This can be a big issue for single parents. Parents in couples have the advantage of being able to share childcare if their working hours permit it. Others are able to use grandparents as a childcare resource. If you have to use professional childcare it can get expensive. In the UK the government will give you child tax credits if you work at least 16 hours per week. You can claim up to 80% of your childcare costs back up to certain maximums depending on how many children you have. You could get together with other moms and set up a babysitting circle where you each exchange babysitting credits.

Limited Social Life
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is the limiting effect it can have on your social life. Even as a married mother your possibilities for socialising change. It's good to develop frienships (if you haven't already got some) with other moms and do stuff together with the children. This can work really well, especially if the kids are similar ages. You can take it in turns who hosts the group at home, or go out to a local park or play area. That way you get to mix with other adults without the childcare headache.

Difficulties Balancing Children and Work
For any parent balancing children and work can be a problem, but for single parents this can be especially difficult. Again it's the issue of childcare that's flexible and affordable. You may be able to look into the possibility of flexible working, or working from home part of the time; or you may have to work part time as a compromise.

Another of the disadvantages of single parenting can be loneliness. It can be lonely being a single parent, but as I mentioned above the best remedy to this is to meet up with other moms You could also sign up for an adult education class that interests you or join a club. If you feel you would like to find someone special I can personally recommend dating services as Barry and I met through one. When going on a "blind" date there are certain precautions you should take to ensure your safety:
~Choose your location carefully: somewhere public in daylight.
~Do not get into their car.
~Make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
~Don't give away any personal information, except perhaps an email address.


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