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Solutions to the Effects of Single Parent Familes on Children

by
author image Michelle Ernst
Michelle Ernst has been writing since 2000. She published a critical essay in "Annual of the Association for Mormon Letters" in 2004. She also wrote two athletic grants that were funded on behalf of the Because We Care Foundation of Lehi, Utah. She holds a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Utah Valley University.
Solutions to the Effects of Single Parent Familes on Children
A mother playfully cuts up a pickle with her young son at the dining table. Photo Credit kirillica/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Single parents face tremendous challenges. Often, a custodial parent must fulfill the roles of primary provider and caregiver without the benefit of a partner. It is a difficult task under the best of circumstances. However, it is possible to minimize the effects of single parenting on your kids. By keeping your focus on the best interests of your children, utilizing resources and taking good care of yourself, you can provide a safe, nurturing home environment for your family.

Financial Effects

"Single mothers have the highest rates of poverty across all demographic groups," according to the Helpguide website. Many times, children raised in single-parent homes suffer more severe health problems when the custodial parent is unable to provide them with proper nutrition and health insurance. Furthermore, children of single parents are at a greater risk for involvement in dangerous behaviors, such as drugs, alcohol, criminal activity or self injury due to the lack of adequate adult supervision. To overcome the effects of limited finances, single parents should seek out community resources to supplement the needs of their families, including agencies that can help them collect overdue child support. Absentee parents are still responsible for supporting their children. Take advantage of state-funded child care programs, and medical and dental insurance plans to ease some of the financial strain on your family. Also, involve your children in after-school programs that will keep them active and safe during the hours you must work.

Emotional Effects

Children of single-parent homes often feel lonely, frightened, anxious and sad, particularly in response to a divorce situation. According to the Helpguide website, it is not uncommon for a child to blame herself for her parents' decision to split up. Furthermore, even if your child understands your reasons for the divorce, she will still grieve the loss of daily contact with the non-custodial parent. Extreme sadness, anger or misplaced guilt could lead to your child acting out or becoming depressed. It is important that she understand that in spite of the change in the family structure, she still has a family. You and your former spouse should explain to your child that she will continue to enjoy a close, loving relationship with the both of you. You can soothe some of her fears and sadness by presenting a united front, speaking truthfully and responding to her questions and concerns with patience and sensitivity.

Parental Stress And Depression

Single parents are often so consumed by the demands of providing and caring for their families that they begin to neglect themselves. Naturally, your first concern is the well-being of your children, but the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with ignoring your own needs is a threat to the stability of your home environment. You must make your health a priority. Take care of yourself by eating a good diet, getting adequate rest and exercising on a regular basis. Activities such as running, walking, cycling or swimming will help you manage stress, in addition to keeping your body healthy, according to the Helpguide website. Also, turn to family and friends when you need to talk. You need a safe place to express your feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness or frustration. Allow the people who love you to offer their comfort and support.

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