Single parents play a central role in maintaining the family’s functioning and stability after divorce. The single parent assumes full responsibilities and duties towards the children, particularly when they have sole custody.
The transition to a single-parent family is challenging for the children and the single parent. Studies show that divorce often has a far-reaching impact on children and adults’ social, financial, and emotional well-being.
While the challenges and pressures faced by single parents vary based on their unique circumstances, some pressures are common to most single-parent families.
- financial problems,
- difficulty finding a job or child support,
- child behavioural issues,
- social stigmatization, and loneliness.
Six ways to optimize the positive outcomes of single parenting
However, there are ways you can optimize the positive aspects of being a single parent. Here are some tips to follow to rebuild your life and nurture your relationship with your child:
Spend quality time with kids.
While your work commitments may leave you with little time to spend with your kids, you can try to make the most out of the time you do have. It is important to spend one-on-one quality time with each child if you have two or more children.
For instance, you can sit down together at the dinner table and talk about your day instead of eating in front of the TV. Telling funny bedtime stories, playing word games or having a singalong in the car are other ways to bond with your children.
Pay positive attention.
Find ways to show them that you love and care about them. This can involve laughing, smiling and hugging them often. Show you are happy to see your child in the morning and when they get back from school.
Listen actively when your child is expressing their concerns, anxiety or happiness. Talk to your children about their favourite things.
Encourage good behaviour.
Behavioural issues in children are one of the most challenging aspects of being a single parent. Older children may act out, and younger ones may throw tantrums or resort to thumb-sucking, yelling or bedwetting. These may be a few ways of expressing their anxiety, anger or frustration about the divorce. Here are some ways to encourage good behaviour in children:
- Encourage children to express their feelings and acknowledge them without accepting bad behaviour.
- Set clear rules for the household and define boundaries of what behaviour is acceptable and which ones are not.
- Hold family meetings where everyone joins in and agrees on common rules, which increases the chances that the children will follow them.
- Praise your child when they behave responsibly. For instance, you can tell them how proud you are that they picked up the toys after playtime.
- Consistency is key to ensuring good behaviour. Stick to the rules you have made as much as you can and stay calm even when your child deviates.
Make time for yourself.
Having a support system involving family and friends is vital to a single parent. This will ensure you have time to nurture your own body, mind and soul.
Safeguarding the welfare of your children and yourself is the key to transitioning to a new life after a divorce. A divorce lawyer specializing in child custody issues can help you achieve a harmonious outcome by taking a systematic and empathetic approach to all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, financial support, and other challenges.