Unfortunately, not all relationships have happy endings. Separation and divorce are commonplace, and children are often caught in the crossfire. Taking on the responsibilities of single parenthood can be intimidating and add a lot to the stress of the dissolution of your relationship. Use these top tips to help you get through the early days and become an accomplished and capable single parent.
Finalize Your Separation Or Divorce
The key to single parenthood is momentum. You need to move past your previous relationship and begin to build a new life for yourself and for your children. If you have a separation or divorce hanging over your head it will be difficult for you to start creating your new life fresh. You do not want to be bringing excess emotional and legal baggage from your past into your future.
Get help from professional legal aid solicitors like the team at National Legal Service. They have a huge amount of experience in family law, child custody agreements, and parental responsibility laws and will help you to move forwards from your dissolved relationship. Getting the paperwork completed frees you up to face the future head-on and begin to build your new life without being held back by the minutiae of custody agreements and divorce proceedings.
Look After Yourself As Well As Your Children
Self-care is an important part of your future. Not only are your children losing a parent, but you are also losing the support and care of a partner while undergoing unprecedented levels of stress. When you are planning for your immediate future, plan for some self-care too. You may need a few days to yourself to try and process what you have been going through, for example.
With the support of your loved ones, you should be able to create some time to look after yourself and give yourself a break from all the stresses and strains of separation. Your self-care should be regular too. Ensure you have some time every week to yourself to relax and unwind and spoil yourself a little while the kids are at school, with your ex-partner, or being looked after by your parents.
Join Single Parent Support Groups
Wherever you are in the world you have support close at hand. There will be local single-parent support groups in your area, as well as online support from groups on social media like Facebook and official websites. These forums can be the source of invaluable hints and tips, and will also provide you with a space to vent your frustrations with people in the same boat as you.
There may also be support and advice available at your children’s school, from both school officials and other parents in your child’s grade. Explore every avenue and build a support network outside of your immediate family and close friends to help you get to the other side of your separation or divorce. With so many other single parents in the world, there are people nearby who know exactly what you are going through and how to cope with the challenges of single parenthood.
Stop Feeling Guilty About The Separation
The biggest hurdle most people struggle with when becoming a single parent is guilt. Many people feel that they have let their children down or failed in some way, and carry those feelings into their new life. This can hold you back from growing into your new role as a single parent and building a new life for yourself or forging new relationships.
Never focus on the negative aspects of being a single parent as there are so many positives. You will be able to create stronger and unique bonds with your children that could not exist in a two-parent home. Many new single parents put too much pressure on themselves and forget to forgive their mistakes. Be patient with yourself as well as your children, and try not to be frustrated by the actions of your ex-partner. When your children are older you will look back and feel pride in what you have accomplished.
Let Your Kids Be Kids
It can be tempting to rely on your children a little more to help around the house and look after one another. If you have an older child they can become like a second parent to the younger ones, and begin to take on responsibilities in the family. Though this is helpful and well intended, it can prevent your teens and tweens from enjoying their childhood as much as possible.
Make sure you are creating time for them to simply enjoy themselves without having to worry about responsibilities at home or the impact their activities may have on family life. They only have one chance to be a young adult, so help them make the most of it. Looking after younger siblings can be great for their personal and social development, but they need time to be carefree kids.
Shelter Your Kids From Conflict
Far too often in separations and divorce proceedings, children get weaponized. Either party can use custody agreements and mediation sessions as opportunities to hurt the other, without considering the impact that this will have on the children. Try to keep the law talk away from your children, and do not involve them in the process.
They love both their parents and their emotions should not be used to hurt their ex-partner. The relationship you have with your children should be more important than ‘getting back’ at their other parent or causing disruption during the time they spend together. No matter what happens during the divorce process, keep your children away from the conflict and do not try to involve them.
The road ahead is bumpy, but with help and support you will be able to make it to the other side and transition into single parenthood. Remember to make time for yourself and invest in self-care. In time, you and your children will be living a happy and stable life.