Running a single parent household is a daunting task, and yet it is something that is more frequently heard of today than even a decade ago. Being a single parent could be a result of choice, divorce or death of a partner. When faced with having to deal with the trauma of a separation or death, individuals with children often find that being a single parent is the harder task.
Single Parent Households
Children of single parents are susceptible to psychological issues, emotional problems and social difficulties, and need the extra attention and care to help them cope with their situation. Single parents need to offer emotional care and nurturing, traditionally seen as the mother’s role, as well as being the discipliner and provider for the child, usually mantles that the father takes on. In addition to child care and upbringing, single parents juggle the demands of a job, social pressures, and a personal life. When the stress levels increase as they so often do, members of single parent homes can develop problematic relationships, leading to further estrangement and isolation for children.
Being a Single Parent – Making New Rules
In single parent households, every day can be a challenge. It takes effort and reflection to help make life in a single parent home easier for everyone involved. Rules and routines that once worked need to be reconsidered and changed to suit the new situation. Some basic rules:
- Children of divorced or widowed parents will need to be counseled separately for their own issues. Parents must understand that each child reacts differently and should not presume that the success formula of another single parent will work in their own case.
- At the time of change, most children are likely to want to help if they are old enough. Allocating some of the household responsibilities not only lifts some of the burden off the shoulders of a single parent, but makes the child feel useful and gives purpose. Put your child in charge of safe tasks like doing the laundry or laying the tables for meal times, or other age-appropriate tasks. Allowing older siblings to help in morning routines orbedtime routines makes them feel like they are making a contribution and helps them develop responsibility.
- Switching between the caring parent and the disciplining parent can be confusing for both a single parent and for the child. When a parent confronts a child for misbehaviour, keeping it firm and matter-of-fact will work better than using emotional outburst. However, single parents should remember that a lot of unruly behavior is often a cry for attention or a deeper emotional problem and treat it as such.
- Another reason to create new routines at home is that the old habits could have painful associations for both children and parents, especially in the case of death. Introducing new family traditions while keeping those that are precious and familiar is another way to ease the transition from a double-parent family to a single parent home.
Single parent families often have to consider the welfare of their children before their own, and doing so repeatedly can lead to resentment and anger. Counselling and professional help can work just because they offer someone that a parent can talk to, and single parent groups often provide help and advice. Most importantly, explore your rights and options as single parents to make sure you are utilising every resource at your disposal. Being a single parent is not easy, but a few sensible choices can make it rewarding and lead to deeper bonding and new experiences.
- Single Parent Tips – Life Tips