With divorce rates now at record high levels the number of children living in single parent homes is higher than ever and whether you're a mom or a dad single parenting presents you with some unique challenges.
The first set of problems that a single parent faces are practical and, as most single parents these days have to work, these involve such things as finding suitable day-care, making arrangements when having to work late or at weekends and fitting in everyday activities such as shopping.
How you cope with these practical difficulties will depend very much on your personal circumstances and financial position, but many single parents are often able to rely on older children to care for younger ones and on help from family and friends. In most cases these problems are not too difficult to overcome and a reasonable solution can usually be found.
It is often issues beyond the purely practical that present single parents with the greatest challenge and the loss of a partner to discuss problems with, to use as a sounding board and to bounce ideas off can be difficult.
Some parents also find it difficult to deal with children of the opposite sex and, in particular, miss the input from the same sex parent who is able to draw on his or her own experience of childhood.
In many cases these problems can also be overcome by turning to other family members or friends for advice, but this is not always quite so easy or practical.
On the other side of the coin many of the problems posed by single parenting are balanced by what many see as often considerable advantages. The loss of a partner also frequently brings with it the loss of disagreements, arguments and tension in the household and can make it much easier to establish guidelines and rules for the children without having to debate them with a partner.
Many single parents both consciously or sub-consciously make a greater effort to spend time with their children and also find themselves talking far more to their children. The result is that single parents often grow much closer to their children and a much stronger bond develops between parent an children, to the benefit of both.
It is often the case that children in single parent households also mature at a younger age and develop a greater sense of responsibility. Studies also show that children of single parents suffer no detrimental effects in terms of both their personal and educational development.
While on the one hand it may seem that the loss of a partner to share in the care of the children would be detrimental, single parenting provides a unique opportunity for you to influence the development of your children without the hindrance that having a partner can often bring. Additionally, as long as you don't allow yourself to become bogged down with the practicalities of raising your children alone, the benefits can often far outweigh the disadvantages.
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