For the past 30 years or so, single-parent families are becoming increasingly common and accepted in our society, especially in the more-developed countries[i].
Even in Asian countries like the Philippines, we can see a gradual evolution from the more traditional nuclear family – consisting of a father, mother, children, in-laws, and grandparents – to the more pragmatic and in some ways, modern family set-up of a single parent, kids, nanny, and a pet.
There are some households headed by a father, headed by a mother, or, headed by a grandparent. There are also combination household set-ups where a single mother lives with her parents to help her raise the kids, or, a single father living with some younger siblings to help him raise the children.
If you are a single parent, raising a child is no easy feat. Now think about three kids, or four kids, or five kids – you get the picture. The daily pressures could be insurmountable. And this is only the beginning.
According to Mayo Clinic,
“Child rearing can be difficult under any circumstances. Without a partner, the stakes are even higher. As a single parent, you might have sole responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care. This can result in added pressure, stress and fatigue”.
“If you’re too tired or distracted to be emotionally supportive or consistently discipline your child, behavioral problems might arise…. Juggling work and child care can be financially difficult and socially isolating.[ii]”.
A single parent faces many unique difficulties. One of them is how to make both ends meet. For some working one full-time job and one part-time is a solution. This is where support from family members become critical (even assistance from your ex’s family). It’s alright to ask for help when you need it.
Do not feel guilty if you can’t provide better things for your child. It is useless to worry about things that are beyond your control. Take things as they come. Talk to your child regularly. Explain honestly why he or she can’t have that toy in the Department Store. By teaching your child the value of money and self-control, the lesson learned first-hand could become crucial during the formative years.
In a blog written by Pepper Tan, she answered a question on what special skills do a single mom need to have that new moms would benefit of knowing. This is what she said:
“Most single moms seem to have perfected the art of hiding their emotions from their kids. We are only human. Our hearts break…we cry buckets- oftentimes in the bathroom, without our children knowing. We have to be the bastion of emotional strength for our kids, as they have nobody to look up to but us. When we’re having a bad day, we can’t just sulk and lock ourselves up in the bedroom. We have chores to do and our kids’ needs- emotional and physical- to attend to. There’s nobody else we can tag to be our substitute even for a few hours[iii]”.
A single mom needs to be strong not only for herself but for her child as well. You can’t be there when your child needs you if you are indisposed yourself.
Last but not the least, help your child sail through the rough times. When the tempest is over and you look back hand in hand with your child, victory is not only sweet but also fulfilling knowing that it’s all worth the effort.
“Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears; but it is also twice the hugs, twice the love, and twice the pride” – Anonymous
‘Single parent who trust in God are not raising their kids alone” – Anonymous
[i] From a book entitled Dynamic Speech i – 2008 edition (page 136)