Today, I have a guest post to share with you.
Leslie over at Well Parents, reached in sharing a post for single parents. As a single parent myself, it is important to have plenty of resources handy, especially if you are new to it and are in need of support.
Without further ado, here is the guest post on some resources to help single parents meet the many challenges they may face on their journey.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Single parents face a number of stresses, such as juggling work and home life, financial strains, and parenting pressures. According to the US Census Bureau, there are around 13.6 million single parents in the United States.
Thankfully, there are many ways school counselors can support both parents and children in their efforts. By recognizing their needs and knowing what forms of services are available, you can reach out with assistance.
Sabrina, at Minimalist[ish] Coffee Mom, offers guidance as well to help support single parents in the journey through her experiences.
Needs and Expectations
Single parents are often under a tremendous amount of pressure. As a counselor, it’s important to be aware of the many obligations single parents face. For instance, as Science Direct explains, many employers expect both single mothers and single fathers to place demands of their home lives below work responsibilities, which can quickly lead to a life lacking in balance.
Single parents are trying to meet financial burdens, work responsibilities, and keep up a healthy homelife simultaneously. Fortunately, there are resources to help them meet their challenges.
Single parents can feel very isolated. Many times relationships and communication with family members and friends becomes complicated and emotional. Raising Children suggests reaching out to let single parents know they aren’t alone in their struggles. As an “uninvolved” third party, you can offer supportive information in a non-judgemental way while staying engaged with your client.
Single parents are often stretched so thin on time, energy and money that they develop unhealthy coping methods. Some professionals feel that without the right tools in place, single parents can become prone to emotional outbursts, and even turn to drugs or alcohol to manage stress levels and decompress.
Encourage clients to participate in proper self-care, which includes eating right, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and exploring more productive ways of relieving stress. By caring for their own needs, parents will feel better on a daily basis and be in a stronger position to meet the needs of their children. Children might also adopt these healthy habits as well.
Exploring local support groups for single parents is another option some experts endorse. There are cooperative groups composed of other single parents, mentoring programs, family-oriented and activity based groups, and “PDO” (Parent’s Day Out) programs available.
Some communities offer budgeting classes, parenting courses, even babysitting programs. Explore community resources in your area to build a strong solution set.
Many food banks operate on referrals, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some professionals advise connecting single parents with the WIC program if there are younger children in the home. WIC is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children which offers nutrition-related grants to moms with children under the age of five.
Many faith-based organizations and communities offer locally funded and volunteer-run options. Your town hall and local churches should be able to tell you what opportunities are available in your area.
Oftentimes thrift stores offer special days each month for shoppers, helpful promotions like “Fill a Bag for a Buck,” for instance, as well as everything in the store priced at a quarter. Thrifting can help single parents stretch their dollars, and representatives are often aware of additional resources in the area.
Keeping a tidy and comfortable home is important for both the parent and the children, but when life gets in the way, it can become difficult to keep up, particularly if there is an inordinate amount of clutter. Encourage single parents to find ways to reorganize their home so that it’s easier to clean and maintain. Remind them of the benefits of living in a positive environment.
Single parents may also benefit from enrolling in a continuing education program. US News and World Report notes there are many choices available these days, from residential to online/remote learning options. Be sure to explore local community courses as well as nationwide programs.
Assistance Begins with You
Be aware of common single parent needs and reach out to individuals as often as you can. Know what resources are available and engage parents appropriately. Single parents face many stresses and challenges, but you can make a world of difference in a parent’s life, not to mention make a positive impact on your community.
Thanks again to Leslie for her guest post. Be sure to check her out over at Well Parents for more great parenting content!