Single Parents: 7 Tips to Help you Cope {Guest Post}

I’m honored to have another wonderful guest blogger, Carolyn Bond. She runs How to Bring Up Great Kids, a parent coaching website. She is sharing tips that helped her cope as a single parent.
You’re on your own all of a sudden, whether you’re separated or widowed. Your whole life has changed, especially the future, and it hits you in the gut so hard that it takes your breath away. From disbelief to anger to depression the stages evolve differently for each person. Eventually, strength comes to the fore and energy comes back. You soldier on.

I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve been separated and divorced and I’ve also been widowed. I’ve had to raise 4 kids for long periods as a single parent. As a divorcee, I shared parenting with my ex. As a widow, I was on my own. It’s beyond hard, especially at first. Grocery shopping, making meals, doing alone what you used to do together, and managing the kids on your own – it seems insurmountable when you’re first alone.

Here are some things that helped me and may help you:

  1. Remember that the children are grieving too. They may start to act up, misbehave, be disrespectful etc. They can turn into a real handful if you let them. You need to sit down with them, talk about their feelings of missing their parent, ask if they have questions and simply hold them and let them cry. They may ask “Why?” and you need to be ready for answers that they can cope with, that are at their age level. It’s okay to let them see you cry. And when you pull yourself together, take a deep breath and carry on, you’re setting an example that they can follow.

  1. Speak respectfully of your absent spouse if you’re separated or divorced. Kids need both parents, and the more you can facilitate this in a friendly way, the better it is for them. Don’t put down your ex in front of your kids. Make an effort to help them to respect him or her.

  1. Work out a schedule where the absent parent has as much time with the kids as possible. Kids need a home base, and the court usually assigns one parent with more time than the other. (This depends on the jurisdiction. I’m speaking from my own experience). You must make this as easy on the kids as possible. They have to travel between homes carrying clothes, school stuff and other precious belongings, sometimes forgetting to bring back the things that are needed every day. If you can, make sure there are two sets of certain items so one set can stay at each home. Also, a visitation schedule is a must and you can post it on the fridge. The children need to know what to expect and where they will be staying and when. This provides them with security and a feeling of safety.

  1. Do your best to remain in charge of the household . This means saying “No” to kids’ unreasonable demands. Don’t give in because you feel guilty over the marriage breakup. They need you to be a fair and consistent leader and teacher. Be sure to give lots of positive attention, recognizing anything they do that is helpful or co-operative. You need a schedule that takes into consideration your work hours, kids’ school time, meal time, homework time, TV and computer time, and bedtime. The best thing is to sit with them to make up the schedule so the whole family has input and feels more valued. Otherwise, you can turn into the boss and you’ll encounter resistance and misbehavior. When the schedule is posted it becomes the boss so you don’t have to nag.

  1. You can only control yourself. You can’t control others, especially your ex’s approach to raising the kids. They’ll have their own relationship with him or her and you must stay out of it. In your home, you’ll do things one way. In your ex’s home things may be done differently. Only if you suspect that your children are in danger, must you interfere.

  1. Be sure to save some time for yourself . You need as much rest as possible when you’re first widowed or separated. When you’re tired, things feel much worse. If it means going to bed half an hour after the kids, do it. Plan something to look forward to at least once a week. If the kids are with your ex, plan a movie or dinner out with a friend. Get a sitter if you need one. This will recharge your batteries and remind you that life can be pleasant, even on your own.

  1. Seek help if you feel you need it. A few sessions with a therapist can help you understand your situation and how it evolved. Also you’ll get some useful ideas to help you carry on. If you need help with the kids, parent coaching can be very useful and usually is affordable. You can do it from your own home on the computer or telephone. You’re investing in your sanity and the happiness of your family.

It will take time to feel whole again, on your own. Give yourself a pat on the back as often as you can and be your own best friend. This sounds trite, but if you can make that voice in your head say encouraging things to yourself and not put-downs, you’ll do much better.

I hope that the above suggestions will help you as you start your life as a single parent who is on the path to becoming a strong and independent person and parent.
About the Author:

Carolyn Bond is a parenting coach who has raised 4 kids of her own after separation and widowhood. She has an extensive parent education background and has developed an online coaching website where she blogs and has developed some new coaching programs to assist parents who want a solid, tried and true approach to raising kids and some help to put it into practice. See her website at for details.

Follow my “Tips for Moms” Pinterest Board to find more helpful posts on motherhood.


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6 Comments on "Single Parents: 7 Tips to Help you Cope {Guest Post}"

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I wish my Mom had a resource like this 30 years ago. Really helpful tips.. #IBA

Meg Walsh

Great post and I'm sure it will be helpful to many parents going through a hard time #ibabloggers

Joanne T Ferguson

G'day Great post and am sure will be very helpful to all who can relate! Cheers! Joanne #ibabloggers

Mommy's Kitchen

Excellent post and fantastic advice, as having lost a parent a few months ago, no matter what the age is, it's always difficult to cope but being young and losing a parent is more difficult to understand what is going on. Well written ! #ibabloggers

Judy Thomas

Great advice!


#1 is especially important. Sometimes the misbehavior comes from a child’s inability to express his/her feelings.