4 Things Only A Single Parent Can Understand

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There are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States raising 22 million children. While that might look like a large number on paper, statistics show that the majority of kids actually live with two parents. Only a single parent can understand the struggles of raising children alone. However, as difficult as it may be at times, there are ways to manage your new lifestyle so that you and your children can lead a familiar and fulfilling life.

Financial Problems

Various research studies indicate that the financial value of parenthood is somewhere between $180,00-$230,000 a year. Considering very few single parents make that much, money is one of the number one stressors. To give you perspective on exactly how hard, only 250 people have sailed around the world, yet that’s easier to accomplish than raising a family on an entry-level salary. It’s not a bad idea to talk to a financial advisor who can help you budget your money, make long-term investments, and plan for retirement and your children’s education. Consider whether or not you have the bandwidth to take on an additional job if there are no advancement opportunities where you’re at now. If you’re considering going back to school in an effort to obtain a degree that could lead to a better job, look into local grant programs catered to single parents.

Feeling Guilty

Whether you’re feeling guilty about the divorce or the fact that you cannot provide enough time or the same lifestyle as in the past, guilt and single parenting go hand-in-hand. To help you combat these emotions, focus on all of the things you can do — make it a daily exercise. Remember that your kids need the same love, protection, and encouragement as they had in the past. If you’re constantly struggling, consider joining a support group (there’s even online options since it’s likely you are time starved) or speaking to a professional.

Adjustment Difficulties

It can be difficult for both you and your children to adjust to a new schedule. Keeping your home free of clutter is key to avoiding adjustment difficulties; it may sound stressful but here are some easy organization tips to help. Make sure you establish a solid routine and stick with it. Maintain consistent mealtime, bedtime, and wake up time — even on the weekends — so that your children feel a sense of security. If you get home late because of your job, don’t try to make up for lost time by keeping your kids up all night. It only starts a bad habit and could potentially affect their focus at school if they’re not getting enough shuteye. Instead, focus on quality not quantity time together.

Dating With Kids

Loneliness is among one of the top complaints a single parent has, so it’s just natural that you’ll eventually want to get back into the dating game and potentially find a long-term partner. Along with making the time to meet someone and go on an actual date, many parents also face feelings of guilt for doing so. However, it’s your right to be happy and have balance in your life, to include a loving relationship. Professionals agree that while you don’t need to get permission from your kids to start dating again, there’s definitely a formula for making the process stress-free for all of you. Don’t introduce random dates to your kids. Wait until you’re certain that the person is someone special and that you see him/her around for a while. When you do decide to make the introduction, make it on neutral territory — ask your children for input.

Remember that every day isn’t going to be a perfect one, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Establish an open and honest communication system with your children to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings or conflicts. Don’t get caught up with all of the stressful aspects of being a single parent; enjoy the rewards. It’s likely that you’ll develop a stronger bond with your kids and that they’ll grow up to be more mature.

Author: Daniel Sherwin

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect my own views