Single parents cannot parent alone. See Why every single parent shouldn’t parent alone
To be a good role model and to help your children grow, you need support yourself from safe people. You can receive support from friends and family. Safe people love unconditionally, no matter what. They show grace while speaking the truth. Their support encourages and comforts you, while holding you accountable.
Yet sometimes in the mess of choices or circumstances that create being a single parent, through warped guilt or striving for self-sufficiency you may decline offers of support and assistance from others believing you have to go it alone. I believed I created the chaos of raising two young kids by myself and therefore I had to survive it without help. I was exhausting myself trying to do everything – a good dose of burn out forced me re-evaluate my position. Support includes help with physical things like taking care of the house, and with the emotional challenges of raising children.
For single parents the need for support in the emotional challenges of child raising is intensified because there is no other parent sharing the child rearing journey with you. When you reach the end of your tether, you cannot tag team and send the other parent into the fight while you gather your self-control. I found great benefit from having a readily available friend or neighbour who would come over promptly when I called when I was losing it with the kids, and stay with them while I withdrew to collect myself. It‘s worthwhile to pre-plan a withdrawal strategy for the times of acute stress.
Support can be the listening ear of a friend and family member who lets you download the stress and bounce ideas around. It could be a school teacher or counselor who can offer advice from experience of working with children. Sometimes it might need professional intervention like a GP or psychologist.
Surround yourself with positive growing people – some of you may have so called friends whose presence is not good for you. They may encourage you to act irresponsibly, they may demand your full time and energy, or they are toxic to you. You cannot bear other people’s burdens when you yourself are overloaded. It is not selfish to choose uplifting people to associate with; it is self-protective.
List your friends under the headings
Do you need to cultivate more supportive friendships? How? Who else can provide support?
Growing your support network
Watch the video below
or follow the instructions in the blog Increasing your support to identify and map who is in your support circle using ‘My support circle’ from ‘My Life! Healthy Living Journal’1 – download it from Baptist Care SA website.
Finding ways of growing your network will be covered in the next blog on Thursday 2nd February 2017
- Legge, V, Oerman, B & van Loon, A 2015, My Life: Healthy Living Journal , Baptist Care (SA) Inc, Wayville.