If you're raising a child on your own, you're in good company. Single-parent families are more common than ever. Child rearing can be difficult under any circumstances. Without a partner, the stakes are higher. As a single parent, you might have sole responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care.
Being a single parent 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.
To reduce stress in your single-parent family:
- Show your love. Remember to praise your child. Give him or her your unconditional love and support. Set aside time each day to play, read or simply sit with your child.
- Create a routine. Structure — such as regularly scheduled meals and bedtimes — helps your child know what to expect.
- Set limits. Explain house rules and expectations to your child — such as speaking respectfully — and enforce them.
- Don't feel guilty. Don't blame yourself or spoil your child to make up for being a single parent.
- Take care of yourself. Include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. Arrange time to do activities you enjoy alone or with friends. Give yourself a "timeout" by arranging for child care at least a few hours a week.
Being a single parent can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By showing your child love and respect, talking honestly and staying positive, you can lessen your stress and help your child thrive.