For some people, the prospect of becoming a single parent can feel overwhelming. Most people don’t plan to parent alone, but life doesn’t always turn out as we expect and circumstances change. Families come in all shapes and sizes, single parent families included, with single parents being mothers, fathers, and sometimes grandparents.
Single parent families – some facts and figures:
- There are around 1.8 million single parents in the UK, making up a quarter of families with dependent children
- Less than one per cent of single parents are teenagers
- Just under 3 million children live in single parent families
- 44 per cent of children living in lone-parent families are in poverty
- Universal credit alone lifts a fifth of low income single parent families out of poverty
Life in a single parent household, though common, can at times be stressful for both the adult and the children within the family. There may be unrealistic expectations that the family will function like a two-parent family, and sometimes people feel something is wrong when it doesn’t work this way.
When you’re a single parent, the practical problems of juggling a family routine, running a home, working and sorting out finances, as well as perhaps coping with a family breakdown or the loss of a partner, can be a lot to deal with. As a result, many single parents push their feelings and emotions to the bottom of the list of priorities.
Five top tips for single parents:
- When relatives and friends offer to help, take them up on it! Ask them to babysit or do nursery drop offs/pick ups
- If you have older children, encourage them to help out around the house with jobs appropriate to their age on a regular basis – don’t feel you have to do everything
- Organise and plan things like meals in advance wherever possible so you avoid last minute stress
- Seek advice on your finances and find out what support you are entitled to
- Try to carve out some time for yourself, you do deserve it, and you will feel better because of it
If you’re finding things hard, talk to your health visitor. They will be able to signpost you to help and support. These are some of the organisations that can provide advice: