According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 7 families (14.2%) in Australia are one-parent families.
Raising a child is one of the most difficult and rewarding things a person can do – and raising a child as a single parent can bring its own unique challenges. Without the support of a partner, single parents generally have a lot more to take on.
“There are many challenges parents face – and single parents do it all alone,” explains RAQ Regional Manager, Val Holden. “There’s often no one there to back them up on a difficult decision or what may be needed to discipline their child. A single parent can feel overwhelmed and very alone.”
Val offers some tips for single parents to help make the journey a little easier.
Respect your Co-Parent
If you have a co-parent or ex who is still in your child’s life, remember to keep any negative personal feelings aside. Keep your child’s best interests top of mind in every interaction.
“Always try to be respectful to your co-parent,” says Val. “Don’t put each other down, and support what the other parent says and needs. Honour the fact that your child needs a good relationship with both parents, and allow this to happen.”
Things may not have worked out between the two of you, but maintaining a civil co-parenting relationship is essential for your child’s wellbeing and stability.
We have more tips to co-parent in our article How to Make Joint Custody Work.
Look after Yourself
As a single parent, it can be easy to feel like your entire world and identity revolves around your child – but this can quickly lead to burnout.
Val reminds single parents to prioritise their self-care.
“Have down time, have your own friends, and do something good for yourself when you can,” she says.
“It’s like when you go on a plane and the air hostess says to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you attend to your child or anyone else. The same rule applies here; you need to look after yourself so you can look after your children.”
If you’re having a hard time, talking to a professional counsellor can help. You can learn more about our counselling service here, or call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment.
Ask for Help
“Always seek help when you need it,” Val urges. “You’re the most important person in your child’s life, and you need to be in a safe and good space, too – so seek help for yourself when you need to.”
Don’t be afraid to accept help when offered, and actively seek help from friends, family, parenting groups, and counselling.
You can learn more about our counselling service here, or call 1300 364 277 to book an appointment in person, over the phone, or via Zoom video call.