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Loving me, loving you on single parenting – challenges and solutions

Single parent families are becoming more and more common due to factors like death, divorce, separation and abandonment by a partner. This presents certain challenges to single parents as all that pertains to parenting that is meant to be handled by two adults is handled by one parent.

So what are some of the challenges that single parents face?

Effect of Single Parenting on ones children
The reality is that break up or death of a spouse has an emotional effect on one’s children. This may impair their school performance, impact on their self esteem and relationships with their peers.

Help your child cope with the sense of loss that they may have. Maintain an open environment where they may communicate their hopes and fears. Be consistent in discipline and provide a sense of security to your children at a time like this. Be a committed parent.

Seek professional counselling for the family.

Feeling all alone
One of the challenges that single parents face is feeling that they are all alone and having no one to turn to in the parenting journey.

One can come up with a workable coparenting formula with the other parent if this is possible where mutual consultation is made regarding the welfare of the child and time sharing of the child with both parents. It takes a village to raise a child and every child irrespective of whether from a single parent or married parents home belongs to a family of aunties, uncles, grand parents, cousins. Engage close and trusted friends for their opinion in your parenting journey. Form solid friendships with your child's teacher who will help you pick gaps they may have identified in your child. Fortunately, we also live in a day and age with several support groups for single parents where one can glean experiences from other single parents.

For children of the opposite gender to yours get role models of their gender to mentor them.

Feeling lonely when your child is with the other parent or others set of relatives

Use this time to spoil yourself and do the things that you would normally not do when your children are home. Do not dwell too much on their time with the other parent. Use that time to rediscover yourself. Heck, use the time to meet new people, try out different things, learn new things, have fun, spoil yourself, date, meet someone new.

Self Doubt
Sometimes a single parent may find themselves doubting their own parenting decisions. Am I making the right decision for my child’s welfare? Am I a good enough parent for my child? Is my child disadvantaged because they are from a single parent home?

On whether to introduce their romantic partners to their children?

Do not rush to introduce your children to a new romantic partner. Children in general are very possessive over their parents and may not take it kindly that one is relating to someone that is not their parent. Affirm to your children that your new partner will never take the place of their parent. Prompt them that you have met someone special after you are sure of the permanence of your new relationship. This should also not be so soon after your break up with your child’s parent. The first meeting should be light headed. Never introduce your children to casual partners.

Sometimes unexpectedly a family that was living with income from two parents must contend with living with the income of one parent, this can be financially distressing to the single parent.

Lifestyle adjustments must be made. Have an honest conversation with your children that some things will have to change until you get sound financial footing again. Seek extra sources of income. Make a budget and learn to live within it.

Taking care of oneself
Life can become overwhelming for a single parent; where one is busy providing and meeting the needs of the family, balancing a career, work, keeping up with an active social life to the extent that they forget to take care of oneself.

Take the time to pamper and spoil yourself with things that you enjoy doing.

Feeling sad that you do not have a nuclear family
Perhaps a relationship did not work out, your marriage fell apart, perhaps you got a child in your youth and several other reasons abound that your family is now a single parent home. Your idea of a perfect family was one living in a bungalow with a picket fence at Kitengela with Dad roasting meat in the barbecue in the backyard, Mom helping the children with homework, but now you are all alone. You feel that your dream of family has indeed fallen apart.

Stop! Waste no further time. Stop the pity party. Hold your head up high. There are many definitions of family these days; there is no one way to define an ideal family. What matters the most is the memories, the love shared – that is what defines family and thank God that you have family. Enjoy, grow and build the family that you have been blessed with. This brings an end to our month long focus on the Singleton. It has been a pleasure bringing back the glamour to singlehood. Please keep it in this blog for more exciting and invigorating focus areas on wellness and inspiration in days to come. If you love our content please share the link to our blog with family, friends and colleagues.

“Wacha niKwambie”

February 2020 – Loving me, loving you On singlehood

© Kwambie Nyambane,

March 2020.