Everyone finds parenting hard at times, but single parenting has added pressures. One of the most difficult aspects of single parenting is not having another adult in the house to offer support and validation. But there’s nearly always something you can do to reduce the stress you feel and make life easier, and there are often people who are willing to help.
Ideas for single parents:
- Develop and nurture several sources of support; perhaps team up with other parents. It’s always easier to cope if you have people to turn to.
- Stay on top of your finances.
- Always reassure your children and let them know how much you value them.
- Fit in some time for yourself, and explore your feelings. Be kind to yourself and build up your confidence if it has been damaged.
Stress from Relatives
Many people feel guilty if they don’t enjoy spending time with their relatives, but it doesn’t make you a bad person, just an honest one. Look for the good in others and try to see things from their point of view, at least temporarily.
When visiting relatives:
- Try to keep your expectations realistic. If you predict unpleasantness, don’t plan to stay for too long. Take a deep breath and remember it will be over soon.
- If you anticipate criticism and stress-inducing questions, have your (reasonable) responses already prepared.
- Strike a bargain with your children, perhaps a reward for behaving well.
- If you do get upset, go for a walk, have a nap, or find somewhere private to call a friend and get it off your chest.
- Pack a good book which lifts your spirits.
When relatives visit you:
- Plan in advance where they will sleep, what you will feed them, and how can you budget to meet any extra costs.
- Let them help with cooking and washing up, if they offer.
- Don’t attempt an elaborate — stock up the fridge and freezer with food that’s quick to prepare.
- If tensions are likely to arise, don’t provide too much alcohol.
- When you go out, don’t feel you have to cover all the expenses.
- Play games together to create a fun atmosphere.
- Don’t feel you have to fill up every minute with activities.
References and other resources
LifePositive (alternative spirituality)
Stress management on About.com
Collingwood, J. (2007). Tips To Reduce Family Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/tips-to-reduce-family-stress/0001099
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.