Single Parenting Advice
Becoming a single parent can be a huge shock. You may well find that your life becomes an emotional roller coaster, and you will feel strong and capable one day, and completely hopeless and even scared the next.
You will feel exhausted, angry, sad, lonely and helpless-often all in the same 24 hour period, but these feelings will change and you will be able to find a way through the rough times. We hope that this feature will give you some ideas for dealing with the difficult early days of single parenting.
Challenges And DilemmasWhether you made the decision to bring up your children alone, or if your partner has left the family home, you will face the same challenges and dilemmas on a daily basis. Everyone’s situation is different however, and it is important to remember that you are not alone-even though you may feel isolated, lonely and sad.
Last year in the UK there were 141,750 divorces, and 138,332 children under the age of 16 had parents who went through a divorce. Nearly two thirds of those children were under 11 years old. Not all single parent families exist as a result of divorce.
One Parent FamiliesThousands of couples who are not married but have children together split up every year, and in many other cases a parent has died. One quarter of all children in the UK live in one parent families, and nine out of ten of single parent homes are headed by women.
New lifeBecoming a single parent is an emotional time, but you will need to consider the practicalities of your new life as well. From accepting your new situation, talking to your children and managing your home and finances, to working, looking after yourself, dating again and establishing new relationships, there are many aspects of your new life that will need attention.
Many parents overlook their own needs because they are so busy concentrating on their children. This book helps you achieve balance in your life, and tries to offer solutions that will make your life easier, happier and less stressful. It is important to build time into your week that doesn’t just involve household chores, school runs and work, and actually give you time to yourself to think and plan for your family’s future-and have some fun and relaxation as well.
One of the most important things to remember is that your situation will not be the same as anyone else’s, so do not be tempted to put yourself under pressure to do too much too soon. This is particularly true if you have very young children.
It is all too easy to pick up a magazine and read stories of parents who are running businesses and living what would appear to be an enviable lifestyle. In reality these people will not be facing the same challenges as you on a daily basis, and trying to aspire to their lifestyle will only add to your stress levels.
Move At Your Own PaceIt’s much better to accept your situation and move forward slowly, at your own pace so that you can stay in control. Planning is an important part of the process when you suddenly find yourself on your own with your children, and throughout the book we will give you tips and advice to try and help you to get organised.
From getting a family diary to creating a planner for the kitchen wall and getting in control of your finances, there are lots of simple ways to get your life back on track and make improvements, and the ideas that have been written about have all been tried and tested by single parents and their children, so we know they work!
Positive StepsThe very fact that you are reading this feature is a positive step in the right direction. We cannot promise miracles, and your life will never be the same again, but in time you will find that you will start to re build your life and the challenges and problems that you faced early on will get easier.
There is a lot of help, support and advice available for single parents, particularly on the internet, and new chat rooms, support groups and even dating websites just for single parents are being launched all the time.
Remember that your children need to be insulated and treated with honesty and respect when it comes to issues such as a parent leaving the family home. Their behaviour will change and the style of parenting you use may not work for every situation. By spending time with them and talking to your children you will be able to find a way through potentially difficult times.