When a parent raises a child alone, once-shared responsibilities suddenly fall on the sole provider's shoulders, which can be overwhelming and stressful. Single parents face a number of issues that impact their family. Preparing for such issues and learning how to address them can make raising a child alone a more manageable -- and enjoyable -- experience.
Visitation and Custody
Single parents often have to deal with visitation and custody issues with the other parent. During a separation and eventual divorce, parents will have to work together to come to terms with a custody arrangement. Parents may share legal and physical custody, or one parent may have physical custody while the other has visitation rights. Throughout single parenthood, the custodial parent will have to arrange visitation and secure child-support payments from the other parent. Often, these seemingly simple efforts can prove challenging with a disconnected parent or one who is unwilling to pay the required child support.
Even the custodial parent will miss opportunities to spend time with her children. When your child is visiting his other parent, you miss out on quality time with your child. Special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, might be spent with the other parent. You might struggle with these missed moments, and it takes time to adjust to sharing your child with the other parent.
Most single parents work, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Full-time employment -- particularly for a parent who might have stayed at home with children in the past -- can be an adjustment for the entire family. Children will have to adjust to daycare or after-school care, which means less time with the parent. Likewise, you will have to adapt to less quality time with your children. Moreover, full-time employment requires you to find a balance between work -- and the stress that often comes with it -- and family life.
After a divorce, single parents might eventually want to pursue relationships with others. The responsibility of raising a child can make dating difficult. Children can experience feelings of jealousy as their parent pursues new relationships, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. As you enter the dating world, you will have to listen to your child's feelings, talk to her about her concerns and strike a balance between your relationship and your children.
- American Psychological Association: Families: Single Parenting and Today's Family
- Healthy Children: Single Parent Families
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Single Parenting: Dating Issues When You Have Children
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Single Parenting: Custody Issues
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images