Parenting is a tough job and when you have to do it alone, the challenges multiply many
times over. You feel lonely, overwhelmed and stressed out, and it’s natural to feel this way.
However, even if you are falling apart from the inside, the truth is that you have to think of
your child’s well-being. You have to put up a brave front in front of your child. You have to
focus on raising a happy, healthy and confident child.
Here is some help to manage your way through single parenting.
Accept the Situation
Acceptance of the fact that you are in a single parent boat is the first step towards healing
the hurt in your inner self. It will make you overcome all the physical and emotional
resistance. It will also make it easier for you to explain to your child that it’s only you and
him or her in the family. Remember that the loss or absence of another parent in life is
equally traumatic for children and they look up to you for support to acknowledge their
Shower Love in Abundance
You are now playing the role of both parents. It is on your shoulders to give the other
parent’s share of love to your child. Show your love through lots of hugs, cuddles, kisses and
appreciation throughout the day. This will give them a sense of security and comfort. They
will feel loved and nurtured.
Establish a Routine
A fixed routine gives structure, discipline and stability to your single family. Follow a
systematic schedule for morning hours, meals and bedtime. It will help your child know
what to expect, especially if they are very young. At your end, a routine will make you feel in
control of things.
Create Happy Memories
Make the most of your everyday life with your child to create great memories. Find joys
together in the little things. It could be reading a bedtime story, watching a movie, playing
board games, exercising or eating out. Go on a trek, hike or a holiday together once in a
while. Capture these memories in the camera to look back upon these wonderful times.
Encourage Social Interaction
If your child remains cooped up in the room most of the time or prefers to stay alone, don’t
ignore it. This is their way of bottling up emotions and coping with the absence of the other
parent. Encourage your child to play with friends after school hours. Organize play dates.
Invite family and friends whenever possible. Enrol the child in group activity classes. This will
increase their social circle and make them come out of their shell.
Draw Your Parenting Boundaries
Even though the child of a single parent needs extra TLC, there should be no room for
indiscipline or bad behaviour. If your child is old enough to understand, lay down the family
rules and expectations. Let your child know that you will not tolerate any kind of misconduct
and you have the final authority on everything. This will ensure that your child does not
overstep your boundaries.
Ask for Help
It takes a village to raise a child and you are trying to do it alone while balancing your
professional life, household chores, finances, and whatnot. Your child could feel ignored.
Ask for help from everyone you can think of – your parents, friends, neighbours and
boss/colleagues. If your finances permit, you can even hire a nanny, babysitter or maid to
look after the child and do cooking, cleaning, etc. By doing so, you will have more time on
your hands to spend with your child.
Make Time for Self
Every parent needs some me-time to recharge their parenting batteries. It shouldn’t be any
different for you either. Your physical and mental health should be your priority too. So,
invest some time every day for yourself. Do exercise or meditation. Eat healthy food. Visit a
salon to pamper yourself. Go shopping with friends. Join single parents support group to
share your experiences and vent out your problems. If you are balanced and happy, your
child will also pick up the vibes and feel good.
No parent is perfect. So, you should not aim for it either as a single parent. What matters is
that you stay strong and find ways to bond with your child in every way possible. Your child
will thank you for their happy upbringing when they grow up.