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Are you a newly single parent?

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It’s really not easy being a newly single parent, you don’t know what to expect and are unsure of what support there is available to you. When most of us decide to start a family it’s with the intention of bringing children up in a two parent family. However, for some this isn’t the reality and it’s an increasing fact that relationships breakdown and children are raised in single parent households. If you’re recently separated, don’t worry you’re not alone. There are just under 2 million single parents in the UK who’ve all struggled at times. Here are a few tips on how to cope emotionally, financially and with the children.

Your Emotions

When you first become a single parent, it can be a tough time emotionally. Whether the decision to separate was yours or not adjusting to your new life can be difficult. Once the children are in bed and you’re left alone it’s easy to think that you’re the only one going through it. This isn’t true and there are lots of support groups and forums set up for single parents.are you a newly single parent

Gingerbread can offer advice on a range of aspects including benefits, work, the CSA and dealing with your ex partner. They also have local groups where you can meet up with other single parents and their children. Through the One Space website you can access forums, local groups and advice on how to cope with the children and the absent parent.

It’s important that you talk about your feelings and emotions and don’t bottle things up. It’s natural to have periods of depression or low self-esteem following the breakdown of a relationship, but it’s how you deal with them that’s crucial. Confide in a family member or close friend or if you prefer a more confidential service your GP can refer you for counselling.

Make sure that you accept any offers of help and have some time for yourself. If a family member or friend offers to babysit for a couple of hours use this time wisely. Maybe go to the shops by yourself, sort out things around the house or just use it to rest and recharge your batteries.

Financial Matters

When you’re left to cope financially by yourself it can be hard to suddenly have to deal with everything on top of all the other practicalities. However it’s important to get these elements sorted early on, so that they don’t cause you any undue stress.

If you’re not working then it’s important to claim any benefits you’re entitled to straight away. They can be back dated to the date you made the claim, but they can take a few weeks to come through. Speak with your local JobCentre Plus office, which will be able to help with Income Support and other benefits. Contact Tax Credits to set up a new claim based on your change of circumstances.

Speak to your employer

For single parents in work it’s important to let your employer know the situation. If they’re aware of what’s happening they may be able to help with more flexible working arrangements if you need to collect children from school or be at home if they’re ill.

Speak to your ex

Try to come to an arrangement with your ex partner regarding maintenance. However in the early stages of a divorce this isn’t always easy to achieve. If you’re struggling to contact them or they won’t pay then

are you a newly single parentspeak with the CSA who can help arrange a regular payment or collect the money on your behalf.

Once you know exactly what money you have coming in, work out a monthly budget setting out all the bills and other regular costs. This way you’ll know exactly what you have left for extras such as clothes, activities and days out.

Coping with the children

This can be a time when children will mis-behave, adding to your stress. Often this is simply a cry for attention, so try and ignore some of the acts and concentrate on creating a strong relationship with them. Make time to spend together as a family and with each child individually, so that they don’t feel like they have to act up. This can be as simple as sitting down for meals, spending the day together or helping them with their homework.Whatever age your children are, experiencing their parents separating is never easy. Make sure you talk to them about what’s happening and how it will affect them and encourage them to discuss their feelings and come to you with any worries.

New beginnings

Becoming a single parent can be a daunting experience. However you should see it as the start of a new chapter in your life and once all the initial struggles are over you’ll end up much happier and more fulfilled.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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