Parenting alone

Being a single parent brings extra responsibilities. There are often financial pressures, which can make balancing demands at home and work a constant struggle.

Woman pushing her buggy along.

Me, the sunset, the sea and a screaming baby.

At the same time, a lone parent can provide just as much respect and support to their children as any mum and dad put together, if not more. You may have double the workload, but not half the love.

Annie is 20 years-old and a single parent. “The hardest thing for me has been the lack of support during the day,” she says. “It would be nice to have someone to share opinions with about the best way to bring up our child, as well as simply having a male figure around. Things would also be easier if there was someone to share the burden, especially when I’m tired.”

If you’re a single parent, here’s how to make your family work as one:

  • Encourage your children to regard their family situation as normal. Stress that it doesn’t take a mother and a father to make a whole.
  • Be open and honest with your children. Make them aware that you are there for any problems they may have and try not to hide your own. The stronger your channels of communication, the more confident your children will become.
  • Find appropriate role models for your child, preferably of the same sex as the absent parent.
  • Sort your legal situation, to be sure of your rights as the parent living with the child.
  • If you are separated or divorced from the other parent, try to make any visits arranged as pleasant as possible. Your child needs to feel loved and secure, whatever your relationship with his other parent.
  • Visits to or from the other parent should be as regular as possible. Plan ahead, but keep some flexibility on both sides.
  • Try not to treat visits as special occasions. Regard it as a chance to spend quality time together, but don’t spoil the child. Often, doing everyday things together are of the most value to the child.

“When my son was born I found that routine was the best thing and made things a lot easier,” says Annie. “I also think it’s a good idea to sit down and decide what rules you want to put in place as your child grows up.”

Photo of woman and buggy by Shutterstock.

Next Steps




Updated on 29-Sep-2015