Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love, and twice the pride. — Unknown
Yes there are challenges for a single parent but there are also some special rewards. In her article, 5 Advantages & 5 Disadvantages Of Single Parenting, Debolina Raja lists some of the benefits of single parenthood, excerpted below:
1. You Make All The Parenting Decisions. As a single parent, the entire authority of making the decisions will rest on you. While this may seem a little intimidating in the beginning, you will soon realize what a boon it is when it comes to taking all the decisions that will affect your children. From the school your children will attend to the classes they will take, the type of food they eat, the friends they go out with, the places you visit, what you buy and where you buy, how you spend your weekends, what you do and do not do and other restrictions or freedom that your child will ever have will all come from you!
2. Managing The Finances. As a single parent, you will also have the choice to decide how you spend your money on your children and you. You will always be in a better position to plan your finances and understand when you can splurge just a bit more and when you need to cut down. You will also be able to help your children understand finances and teach them to manage money better.
3. Your Children Will Be Super Responsible. While being a single parent means that you will have to handle almost all the work by yourself, it also means that you will teach your children to learn to be responsible for their actions at a young age. Of course, it is not humanly possible for you to do everything on your own, whether it is for you, for the home or your child. Being a single parent will mean that you help your child be a team player and work together as a team, instead of making your child rely on you for every little thing. Your child will learn the importance of planning and handling his or her actions.
4. Undivided Attention. As the child of a single parent, your little one will get all your undivided attention, without the worry of your love and attention getting divided between you and your spouse. As long as your child is with you, your entire love and attention will be towards your child, and similarly, whenever your child is with your ex, the entire love and attention of your ex will also be towards your child… As a single parent who is not married yet, you will also have enough time on your hands without having to worry about giving your time and dedication towards building another new relationship. Also, once you do decide to get into a relationship, your future partner will already know about the time division that you have, and you will also be in a better position to understand whether or not a future relationship will work out or not.
5. You’ll Not Be Dependent On Others. While you were in a relationship with your ex, you most probably always tried to look at the relationship as a balancing act… there was always a list of things that you had to decide with your partner and see who would do what… As a single parent, though, even while the onus of parenting and managing the home is on you, you will still be your boss. When you know that there is no one else in the house to take care of certain responsibilities but only you, you will make sure that you find a way of doing it yourself to the best of your abilities… You will learn to manage your time and whether or not you have someone to help you, you will still be able to do it on your own.
Initially, when one becomes a single parent, one can feel overwhelmed and even depressed by so much breathtaking change, happening so fast in one’s life. It helps to know that we’re not alone — others have been here before us and there is much wisdom out there for us to tap into for calm and strength. For example, explorable.com lists some of the challenges of being a single parent in the article, 10 Challenges of a Single Parent, excerpted below:
1. Don’t Let Children Divide and Conquer. Your children may try to take advantage of you not speaking to your ex. Hearing, “Dad said I could”, especially if you disagree with the decision, can be enraging and frustrating. The way to avoid this is staying in touch with your ex. The two of you could also set up some ground rules, for instance only allowing your children to do something, after you have both agreed.
2. Staying Strong. You may feel like an emotional mess after the separation. It is not uncommon to feel lost in trying to go on with your life. Add your children’s constant demand for attention and focus on your part, and it is easy to start feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Don’t be afraid to ask for your family’s help or to confide in a friend. It’s normal to feel overburdened and to need time to settle your thoughts.
3. Don’t Give in to Blackmail. You may feel guilty for putting your children through such a hard thing as a separation, but that’s no excuse for them to do whatever they want. Although it is normal for children of all ages to test your boundaries – that is how they learn about the world – you also shouldn’t be afraid of setting clear rules. Despite of the divorce, your children still need to behave, have good grades in school and be respectful towards you and others.
4. Communicating with Your Ex. It’s key to keep at least a small channel of civilized communication open between you and your ex. Whether it’s through phone calls, texts, e-mails, the mediation of friends and relatives, at least the important information regarding the welfare of your children needs to be conveyed. Avoid using your children as the messengers, as you don’t want them to suffer the consequences of your ex being angry at the messenger.
5. Staying Calm with Your Ex in Front of the Children. If the separation has ended badly and you’re still fighting, this can be a tricky thing to accomplish. Remember, your children could only suffer more when they watch you fight… If you can’t stand to be around your ex, then try to ask a member of your extended family to mediate conflict and pick up your kids on weekends for instance, or just talk to your ex through texts and e-mails, rather than phone calls or in person… remaining civil with your ex, for the sake of your children, is the most wonderful approach you can have after the dissolution of the relationship.
6. Organizing Your Life. Although you may now have one less person to count on, you still have to work, plus do all of the housework, take care of the kids, and of yourself as well. If your children are a bit older, they can start helping out with small chores around the house. Not only will this take some of the weight off of you, but it will also give them a sense of responsibility. In this way, your children will be able to put themselves in your shoes and you will teach them the key life skill of empathy.
7. Financial Novelties. There used to be two paychecks coming into the household, and now there’s only one. You may find yourself in a tight spot for a while and might need to control your spending. Certainly, you will regain your financial stability at some point, you just may need to rough it out for a while.
8. Dealing with the Extended Family. They may not agree with how you raise your children, the fact that you have decided to separate from your ex-partner, or other lifestyle choices you have made. Still, this is a time when it is important to keep your relatives close, because their help may turn out to be invaluable. Nevertheless, there should also be boundaries and a certain distance between you, so that you can keep your privacy. Just make sure you try and find a balance, without ever alienating your family.
9. Holidays and Vacations. Sometimes it can be a true nightmare and you may find yourself without your kids on Christmas. It’s sad and you’ll probably have to endure some emotional suffering. However, remember that just like you need to adjust, so do your kids. The only thing you can do is be there for them, while staying loving and supportive, no matter what. Most importantly - stay strong with the help of your friends and family.
10. Living Your Own Life. You’re single now and have needs, other than being just a parent. Try to find a new hobby, make new friends, go out every once in a while, and maybe start dating. Your children may try to discourage you at first, because this situation is new, strange, and perhaps even scary for them. However, if you take the time to talk to them and explain why you are trying to start a new life, gradually they will understand – after all, they love you and want you to be happy. What you shouldn’t do is allow yourself to be lonely, you’re entitled to happiness.
We are proud of the countless men and women who have studied and graduated with CCU through the years while juggling their studies with single parenthood and careers. It is fulfilling to realize that CCU’s low tuition, with interest-free payments (plus a tuition discount for active duty military, veterans, law enforcement, fire fighters, and CCU graduates), flexible, self-paced programs, textbook rental library, and personalized faculty-student interaction, has helped make so many dreams a reality for so many single parents.
March 21, 2019 is #NationalSingleParentDay. Single parents everywhere, celebrate! It’s your special day and you and your children deserve a special moment to enjoy each other’s company.
Contributor: Cynthia Dalton
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