Challenges Single Parents Face

Challenges Single Parents Face

Picture yourself in a loving relationship one day with someone at your side, and the next day with no one, and you are left with bewildered children who do not know how to accept their new situation and how to act, besides being in turmoil over the separation or divorce. No one can say what this is like unless they have stood in your shoes. No two separations or divorce are the same. The causes of the break-up will linger forever and only you know how you feel. Whether it is the mother or the father who is left with the children, the pain is the same.

Picking up the pieces

The immediate aftermath of a family split is perhaps the worst experience in a person’s life. You can’t believe it is over. You can’t come to grips with being both mother and father to the children. You can’t accept that it has happened to you. You still can’t figure out why your partner has left. This is a terrible period of anguish and nothing but the passing of time will make you feel better. In the meantime your challenges as a single parent propel you to accept that the relationship is over and that you should quickly step into your new role as a single parent. Unfortunately, there is no quick way to go through the stages of grief you will experience as a separation or split is a loss for all the parties concerned.

Ongoing challenges as a single parent

The moment your partner walks through the door with his bags to the truck waiting outside with all his furniture and personal belongings, you are the head of the household. Your first priority should be your children who will feel bewildered and ill at ease as they do not know what the future holds. All children want both their parents, and they will be confused. Don’t be alarmed at unexpected outbursts and unruly behavior. If this happens and continues over a long period of time and the children can’t come to grips with their new situation, it is time to consult a psychologist who can help you and the children work through this. It would be good for you to speak to a psychologist anyway as you are now the head of the home and must be strong for your children.

Another huge challenge when there has been a messy breakup is dealing with the parent who has left. It is not unusual for some couples to have major fights which make it difficult to discuss the children’s needs. It is an emotional time for both parents. As much as you do not want to, at all times, if only for the children’s sake, try to be civil and discuss the children’s needs in an amicable way. Your children are secretly hoping for reconciliation between mother and father. Spend time with them to make them understand and do not speak ill of their father. Get support through your family and friends. If you can make it through the first month, you are well on your way to healing.