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Guide for Single Parents Coping Alone

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 25 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Guide For Single Parents Coping Alone

BEING a single parent is tough, and if you have a child who displays challenging and difficult behaviour and you suddenly find yourself dealing with this alone, you could be forgiven for going into a blind panic.

As well as being the primary carer for all your children, possibly the only breadwinner in the family, and the housekeeper, cook, and gardener, you now have to factor in extra work if you have a child with behavioural issues.

Dividing your Time

It is important to treat all of your children fairly, giving them all the same amount of time and attention and this can be difficult if one of your children is more demanding or needs more of your attention than the others.

You may start to feel overwhelmed and as if you can’t cope very well, and it is important that you recognise this and ask for help and accept any offers of support. Your health and wellbeing is of paramount importance because if you are unwell, stressed and tired then you will not be able to cope very effectively, so make sure that you look after yourself as well as you can.

Stay in Touch with your Support Network

Chances are that you are already receiving a certain level of support via your GP, school, health visitor of other specialist, and therefore it’s important that you stay in touch with them and let them know about your changes in circumstances.

Change can be hard for all of us, especially for children. However, children who struggle with behavioural difficulties often respond badly to change and find it very difficult to adjust to changes in circumstances.

Planning and Preparation

Becoming a single parent is not always planned, and can happen as a result of many different reasons and circumstances. Explaining the new situation to your children can be one of the hardest things that you ever have to do, and a child who suffers from ADHD, Autism or a similar condition may well take it harder than a child who doesn’t. You will need to find the right time to gently explain to your child what has happened and why.

The Absent Parent

If at all possible try to maintain a good working relationship with your ex partner, if only for the sake of your children. Continuity and contact are important, and may help you children deal with the change in their family structure better. It may also help you to know that perhaps every other weekend; you will be able to plan to have some time off to do things for you. Relaxing, catching up with friends or just spending time doing something such as reading a book, will all recharge your batteries and help you to cope better in the coming week.

Look after Yourself

Bringing up children on your own is hard and presents many challenges. Remember to set yourself realistic goals and manage your expectations as well as you can. All children need a loving, stable environment in which to grow and develop and with help, planning and time you will be able to achieve this.

Support groups and networks are very useful and speaking to like minded people in a similar situation can really help at times when you feel alone and unable to cope. If you do not already have a support group, contact your GP or local health centre and they will be able to help you.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Annie09 - Your Question:
My 2 year old has been good at home with just me, but when it comes to being at nursery so that I can work. It's a completely different story.She was recently told off in nursery for pushing over the younger children and also grabbing the younger ones. I have authorised for a behaviour specialist to come into the nursery, but the lady that runs the nursery is at her wits end with my daughters behaviour. I don't know what to do or say, she is fine with me as she usually has my full attention. At nursery I think she's suffering as she doesn't get constant one on one, and if she's in all day they don't try and get her down for a nap. She tends to be majorly over tired whenever I pick her up. As a single mum, I need some advice on how to handle this.Thanks x

Our Response:
If she's fine at home, that suggests that it's not necessarily a behavioural disorder but coming to terms with a new set of circumstances with which she's not familiar. If she is used to getting the attention of an adult whenever she wants or hasn't mixed much with other children for any lenth of time, it will inevitably take time for her to settle. She may need help in a understanding some of the rules or "etiquette" and perhaps the behaviour specialist will be able to assist with this. Ask the nursery to let her have a nap (most nurseries will do this with two year olds anyway), ask them what consequences and praise methods are in place to assist with behaviour. The nursery should be giving you more information. It may even be worth try your daughter in a different nursery setting to see if the behaviour changes.
KidsBehaviour - 28-Sep-15 @ 11:54 AM
My 2 year old has been good at home with just me, but when it comes to being at nursery so that I can work. It's a completely different story. She was recently told off in nursery for pushing over the younger children and also grabbing the younger ones. I have authorised for a behaviour specialist to come into the nursery, but the lady that runs the nursery is at her wits end with my daughters behaviour. I don't know what to do or say, she is fine with me as she usually has my full attention. At nursery I think she's suffering as she doesn't get constant one on one, and if she's in all day they don't try and get her down for a nap. She tends to be majorly over tired whenever I pick her up. As a single mum, I need some advice on how to handle this. Thanks x
Annie09 - 25-Sep-15 @ 10:34 AM
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