Parenting on your own can be difficult, and the disadvantages of single parenting are often numerous and overwhelming. However, the rewards of single parenting are just as prolific and gratifying.
Whether you’ve just entered the realm of single parenthood or you are an experienced solo parent, understanding the disadvantages of single parenting can help you face and cope with the many issues that encompass this topic.
Economics – Probably the first disadvantage that comes to mind in pertaining to single parent homes is economics. A one-income family as opposed to a two-income family can mean a drastic difference for the parent and the child or children. Money is often tight in single parent homes, and kids may find that their parent simple can’t afford some of the extras that their friends, who live in a conventional home, might have. This can be difficult for a child to understand. For some families, however, the struggle to make ends meet makes them stronger and pulls them closer together.
Loneliness – In a two-parent home, there are two adults who typically make the decisions for the household. While of course, this is a general conclusion, and not all households experience harmonious decision making even when both parents are in the home, a single parent often feels as if she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She alone is responsible for the care of her children, her home, and everything else in her world.
Healthcare – Another major issue for single parents is healthcare. Even if a single parent has health insurance, premiums and deductibles can put a huge dent in an already stretched budget.
Stress – Because you are the main person responsible for the care of yourself and your children, an enormous amount of stress can build up in the life of a single parent. Without anyone to share your worries and concerns with, the stress can continue to build.
Sense of loss – Whatever the reason for your single parent status, be it through divorce, death, or abandonment, your child is also experiencing a significant loss. Children express their emotions in a variety of ways: some through rebellion, others through depression, and others through negative relationships with peers.
What To Do
How can you deal with the stress and the disadvantages of single parenting? First consider all the advantages that being a single parent can offer.
You can form a closer bond with your children. As your family solves problems together, you can all experience a sense of pride and accomplishment for each hurdle that you are able to overcome.
The future is filled with possibilities! Find ways to nurture yourself-join a book club, start a new hobby, spend time every day exercising with and without your kids, read a favorite book, go to the movies with a friend, and open yourself to new friendships.
Be there for your child. While of course you are already doing this, the stress of daily living can leave you short-tempered and exhausted. Spend some quality time with your children each day to unwind and simply enjoy each other. Watch for signs that your child is angry, depressed, or just having a hard time coping, and get him or her help as soon as possible.
Don’t go it alone. Build a support system around you, including family, friends, co-workers, and other single parents who will understand what you are going through. Seek counseling for yourself and your children if necessary.
Further your education. The quickest way to a better paying job is education and/or training. Visit a career counseling office at a local junior college or university, and talk with a counselor about educational or on-the-job training possibilities.
Single parenting can be difficult, but it can also be filled with rewards. As you face each of life’s challenges as a single parent, you can become stronger for yourself and your children.