Tips for Coping as a Single Parent
Life as a single parent can be a happy one with many rewarding moments as you watch your children grow and achieve their goals and dreams. However, there are times when exhaustion and stress can feel overwhelming. Balancing commitments such as taking care of the kids, work, child-care, maintaining the home, running to sporting activities, helping with homework, dealing with an ex-partner, financial responsibilities and combating tiredness all take their toll when there is nobody to share the workload and worries with.
Some tips for helping you cope as a single parent include;
- Take time to re-energise – remember you are a person, not just a mum or dad! Schedule time to do something you enjoy as often as possible. Simple things like a walk along the beach allow you to gather your thoughts and refresh your soul.
- Enjoy time with your kids – don’t let life get so bogged down with “getting things done” that you run out of time to enjoy happy family moments and doing things together. This may mean accepting you have a less than perfect house however it will help build strong long-lasting bonds and help to reduce tension in the home.
- Implement boundaries, consequences and be consistent – children thrive in situations where they have stability, consistency and know what to expect. It also makes your life easier as everyone knows the family rules and you don’t have to struggle with arguments about what you let the kids get away with at another time.
- Ask for help – you aren’t a superhero, you are a single parent trying to do the work of two parents! Asking for help is not a sign of failure, it simply means you have a lot on your plate and could do with some support. Enlist the help of friends and family and contact support groups in your local area.
- Be organised – planning ahead and remaining organised each day will help you feel more in control and on top of things. Remember though, it is important to have room for flexibility as plans may need to change unexpectedly.
- Encourage resilience in your kids – help them face difficulties and give them chores to do at home. Not only will this help you with tasks around the house, it will teach your child to think for him/herself and amass a toolbox of skills which will be helpful throughout life.
- Amicable co-parenting – if circumstances permit, aim to co-parent in a peaceful manner with the mother/father or your child. Avoiding angst and conflict will not only relieve stress in your life, it will also help your child to accept the situation and have stability in their life.
- Avoid criticism of the absent partner – easier said than done, however it’s important to avoid making kids feel they have to choose which parent they can love. The single parenting journey will go more smoothly if the child feels loved and supported by both parents. In turn, this will make your life easier!
- Financial awareness – be aware of your finances and work within a budget. Living within your means as a single parent will help minimise debt and unnecessary financial stress in your life. Ensure you contact appropriate government agencies such as Centrelink to access any financial benefits you may be entitled to.
If you feel you could benefit from counselling to help cope with single parenting, please call Karen Cummins at Mindful Crossroads counselling services on 0400 416 535 or fill in the “Contact” section on the Mindful Crossroads website to arrange a confidential discussion.