Extramarital pregnancy, divorce, and abandonment of one parent are some reasons why there are single parents. What most people don’t know is, these occurrences are life-changing as they can be traumatic for the single parent and the child, making them often misunderstood. That makes the study of a single parent’s psychology and mental health important.
Studies have reported that there are more child and adolescent problems for households with single parents rather than those with the “normal” set-up. While most single parents may disagree, it is understandable why the statistics say so.
For one, a single parent has limited time in his hands. Managing a household with another person is difficult in itself. What more if you have to do it alone. That’s why it is important for a single parent to make a daily or weekly schedule of his activities. That way, he can find time to do all the things that need to be done, including some time off for leisure and relaxation.
Also, a parent may have financial problems, as he is the only one earning for the family. He must learn to save his money by learning to set aside a portion of it as it comes. Also, he must learn to make a few sure investments.
Of course, if one becomes a single parent because of a divorce or death of the spouse, there are more problems that he needs to face. It is normal for him to feel sad or depressed, so allow him to have some time to grieve. Friends can help in the moving on process. This is also devastating for the child, so the parent must learn to show his support to the child instead of focusing on his grief alone. Parent and child can help each other to shorten grieving time.
Lastly, the single parent may feel alone and rejected. So he must learn to nurture himself. Eat and sleep well. Exercise on a regular basis, or engage in a sport that you like. Join a church group or association in your community.
To minimize incidence of child problems like school dropouts, early pregnancy and juvenile behavior, a single parent must learn to communicate well with his child. Spend more quality time with him. Engage in an activity that you both can enjoy. Regularly monitor his progress in school.
What resources are available for the single parent? He may join a group or organization of single parents like him. In this venue, members can share and discuss their common problems and experiences such as coping with divorce and raising kids. Educational activities like lectures by professionals and training seminars as well as other recreational activities are organized to help the single parent cope with his situation.
There are also websites which support single parents. Many parent resources can be found in the internet like chat rooms, forums, newsletters, articles and other forms of literature that they can share.
Knowing single parent psychology and mental health will make us understand single parents and their children better. Being a single parent is a challenging job. With limited time and finances, he has to cope with the challenge of raising a child as well. But with tolerance and understanding from people around him, the job will not be as difficult as it is already.