Many people dream of having kids someday, but most of them don’t imagine that they will end up doing it as a single parent. This can be a tough situation to find yourself in because you are essentially always on call in a way that you’re not when another parent is in the picture. A similar situation is one in which the other parent might be around but is not a source of support; perhaps they only have the children a couple of weekends each month, and your relationship does not allow for any real co-parenting. Whatever the situation, there are strategies you can use to deal with a few major challenges that arise in this situation.
Paying for Education
Two-parent families often struggle to pay for a child’s college education, so on a single income, this can seem almost impossible. The good news is that there is plenty of financial help there, including some forms of need-based financial aid. This still isn’t usually enough, however, and your child may need to turn to private student loans to supplement other funds. The problem with this is that it can mean your child graduates and starts their adult life saddled with big debts. There are parent loans for college are one alternative to this, allowing you to take out a low-rate loan instead of your children doing it. This can be an excellent way to help them with their education if you are struggling to save up enough.
Building a Community
Having a community around you is important for all families, but when you’re on your own, this can be especially valuable. Whether this community is your neighbors, the parents of your kids’ friends, people at your church, or people you met through a parenting group, this community can help you through hard times. Sometimes, the annoyance is a minor one, you’re stuck in a meeting, and you need to call someone to pick up your child at soccer practice. Other times, this community can offer advice and support when you’re unsure how to proceed or when you’re facing particularly difficult times, such as having a serious illness or losing your job. Don’t be afraid to reach out, ask for help and give help in return.
Lightening the Load
Another tough aspect of raising kids on your own is that there’s just so much more work to do. You can’t call your spouse if you must stay late at work and ask them to make sure homework gets completed or that everyone eats dinner. However, this can be a great opportunity to teach your kids to be more responsible, give them some valuable skills and actually bring your family closer. Don’t be afraid to assign age-appropriate chores to them, even if they end up doing more than some of their peers might.
Knowing how to cook, clean, and do their own laundry will put them well ahead of many of their peers when they first move out of the house. Sharing the housework can also make them feel more invested in the home and the family. Keeping a tidy and comfortable home is not something that you have to try to squeeze in between work and all your other duties; it’s something that all of you accomplish through teamwork.
Stay the Parent
It can sometimes be tempting to drop the parenting role and relate to your child more as a friend. Another temptation is to make your child a sounding board for your problems and concerns. Both should be avoided. Children need clear rules and boundaries, and they also need to not be burdened by your worries. Sharing them is developmentally inappropriate and can make your child feel as though they need to take care of you instead of the other way around. Opt instead for consistent rules and routines and be supportive of your child without expecting them to fulfill the same role for you.
p.s Related posts:
Best Children’s Books With Single Parents
Parent-Child Special Moments Picture Book List
De-stressing Ideas for Busy Parents
5 Simple Tips to Manage Your Money as a Parent
National Center for Learning Disabilities Resources for Parents
College Savings for Child: Making Sure Your Kid Will Go to College
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