a mother kissing her daughter in her forehead

Challenges for Being a Single Parent

Becoming a parent is never easy, and with whatever transition in life that a person faces, there is always that emotional struggle, accompanied by sometimes physical stress, and financial pressure. Being a single mom or dad has numerous challenges. And you might be surprised that almost one-third of the families in the USA today is headed up by a single parent-either a mother, a father, or a grandparent).

a father and his two sons walking

The common reasons include divorce, abandonment, personal choice, or death. The one left with the responsibility of providing, caregiving, nurturing, role-modelling, to the child or children is also left alone with so much burden.

Some may say its exciting, and wonderful, but most parents will say it’s extremely tough, especially to those first-time single parents with nowhere to go for advice or help.

It’s undeniable that single parents face countless struggles and challenges when raising a child, and here are the most common troubles they experience along the way.

A father and son, talking to each other in a hammock

EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION

One’s emotional capacity may be different from another, but single parents are usually victims of emotional exhaustion coming from all the pressures of parenting, and at the same time compromising a career and a personal life. Single parents typically experience an emotional breakdown, feelings of desperation, being overwhelmed and stressed out. When your child is sick of has problems, you have no one to immediately run to for pieces of advice, or back up with whatever you plan to do.

Emotional Stress may come from:

  • Coping with the loss of a partner in raising a child
  • Societal stigma
  • Lack of support
  • Daily responsibilities
  • Unsure of the decisions that cause anxiety
  • Meeting Child’s Expectation

Although, single parenting demands seem like insurmountable challenges that aren’t be underestimated; the challenges are very real, and so are the rewards.

FINANCIAL STRAIN

Providing a child’s needs is never easy as they are endless-from the daily needs, education, recreational activities, hobbies, etc. Sometimes being a single parent will make you decide between choosing to work to be a good provider or being a hands-on parent and guiding your child throughout his growth until he becomes independent.

Suppose you have limited resources, just like most of us, always ensure good budgeting of your income. Set priorities for spending and do not spend more than your income because it will tempt you to have loans and debts which can be an added pressure to you.

You can look and consult with a financial planner or take a budgeting or financial management course to help make every dollar go as far as possible. Although budgeting is essential, make sure that you also not deprive your child with some of his/her wants. It would also boost your self-esteem as a single parent as you can give them every material thing they desire.

SOCIAL ISOLATION

Single parents are left with mountain-high responsibilities and daily chores that they miss going out with their friends or finding a companion in life. Getting a sitter for younger kids is an added cost.

However, despite the piles and loads of work, a single parent must also give time for self. It will help get some encouragement and some emotional release by sharing some of your emotional burdens to someone trusted enough to listen to you and not condemn you and let you feel the guilt of being a single parent.

Look for core groups, activities where you can meet new people or gatherings with old friends that will allow you for some social time for you while keeping the kids occupied or entertained.

Perhaps, you can splurge once a month for that sitter or trade out childcare with another parent close to you to go have dinner with friends and talk about what’s going on in your life.

DECISION PRESSURE

Parenting is a daily challenge and battle. There are many gray areas, and the game changes daily alongside your child’s growth. A single parent is a solo bearing the weight of all of the burdens and pressures. From infant stage needs to the time when your child turns adolescent with many confusions, a single parent must show a tough but gentle decision to build a child’s character and be a model. You are torn from choosing which things are okay, what hobbies are good, which school is best, whose friends are nice, and so on.

All these things can wear a parent down, but it would help to seek a trusted parenting mentor or peer to bounce some thoughts off. There are professional counsellors, a church pastor, a mentor, a good friend, or your single parent’s parents.

Although the final decision will still be yours to make but not disregarding your child’s voice, soliciting parenting feedback can lessen anxiety and encourage you to do the hard things that parenting sometimes requires.