Being a Single Parent: Tips for Raising a Child Alone
Single parenthood is something that few people aspire to. But sometimes, life puts us in the situation where we’re forced to look after our children on our own. The more children we’re looking after, the more challenging it can be. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, there were just under three million single-parent families in the UK in 2020, which amounts to around 14.7% of all families in the country.
With so many people in the same situation, there’s no shortage of advice floating around on how to get the best from the circumstances.
Common Challenges for Single Parents
Generally speaking, single parent families tend to be less financially capable – simply because the earning potential is halved. In fact, it’s more than halved, since the single parent will find it hard to juggle child-rearing and bread-winning commitments. There’s also the possibility that your child will lack a strong male or female role model to look up to during their formative years.
Strategies for Coping
Being a successful single parent means running a tight, efficient ship. Make sure that you set out all of the things that you’d like to do with your time, and make time to get around to doing them. Make sure that you have a good chunk of time set aside to spend with your child, rather than working, cooking, cleaning, or anything else. You’ll find that your time is scarcer than it ever has been – which is all the more reason to make time for your children.
Adding formal structure to your day will also create predictability for your children. Keep bedtimes and meals at fixed intervals so that your children aren’t confused or excited when they should be winding down. Once you’ve gotten this routine in place, you might find that you’re at great deal less stressed, and that you have the time to invest elsewhere.
If you’re a single parent, it’s important to look for help. This might come from family members, with supportive grandparents playing an important role. You might also pay for professional help in the form of a childminder – though taking this step might require that you get financial support from outside.
If you need help navigating the legal problems associated with being a single parent, then you might look into hiring an expert family law lawyer ahead of time.
Benefits and Child Maintenance for Single Parents
Being a single parent can be tremendously taxing financially, especially if you’re the only on carrying the burden of feeding, clothing and caring for your children. Fortunately, there are a few financial remedies we might employ.
If you haven’t agreed a child maintenance plan with the other parent, then you might take advantage of the statutory support on offer. There’s also universal credit, which is available to families with children to support, and does not compromise your child maintenance.