Single parent families are becoming more common but don’t carry the stigma they once did. You can become a single parent through divorce, separation, the death of a partner or for other reasons.
Following divorce or separation, it is often the mother who is the resident parent, with children spending time with both parents separately. Children need to adjust to not having both parents around all the time. Some children have to adjust to a new school, house or other changes.
It is not surprising that life as a single mother might sometimes feel tough. Single parent families have about 47% less disposable income than coupled families, but one of most stressful life event is moving house and finding new neighborhood supports. It’s estimated that from 25 to 40% of all single mothers have experienced family violence.
Some tough times can make the change and uncertainty associated with becoming a single mother. Emotions can run high: fear, shock, anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, regret, relief, hope, excitement. On this roller coaster ride of emotions might be your children too. Feelings of loss and grief for the dreams you once shared and the life you expected to lead are part of the journey too. Loss of someone in your shared home who is interested in your children’s small achievements and everyday moments.
It is challenging, but it can also be a time for finding new directions and discovering yourself. Single mothers talk about feeling free and liberated from the conflict and stress of negotiating with a partner.
This adjustment to life as a single mother is a phase. You might even feel excited about your new life. It is a time to make sense of things and settle into your new life and make sense of things. Many single mothers talk about a turning point, a time down the track when things will really improve.
For children who have been used to living with two parents moving to a single parent, a household is a big change. There may be other big changes such as adjusting to living on less money, moving house, changing schools or losing touch with friends.
Children living with a single parent are just as happy as those living with both parents. Having a settled home life free from violence or conflict, whether living with them or not, and a good relationship with a parent is what makes children happy. It is important that children, without feeling guilty, feel they can love both their parents.
Children can learn important life skills, growing up in a single parent home. With your support, they can learn to adjust to major life changes and become independent, resourceful and resilient. Whatever family structure they live in, good relationships with parents makes children happy.
The stronger you are mentally, emotionally and physically, the better you will adjust to your new life. When you find ways to be happy in your own life your children will learn that even big problems can be dealt with.