4 Parenting Tips for Raising a Child by Yourself

father-son-holding-handsRaising a child is tough and can become more challenging when you are doing it by yourself. If you are raising a child alone, you are not the only one.  According to the Kids Count Data Center, nearly 35 percent of parents are single. At times, it can become overwhelming and seem unmanageable.

Here are a few parenting tips from Brandi Paluska, a licensed clinical professional counselor for MOSAIC Moms at The Children’s Center, a program of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois.

  1. Be consistent. Be very aware of the expectations and tasks you have for your child. If you have an expectation, it is crucial that it is appropriate for the child’s age and development. Both you and your child need to understand what is expected. For example, if you want your child to clean his or her room once a week, you need to check in and make sure the work is actually getting done and provide some guidance if he or she is struggling. This not only teaches your child that following through is important, but it also lets your child know that you are active, present and paying attention to what they do and how they do it.
  2. Connect with other parents who have kids the same age as yours. They can be a helpful resource for you if you need help with transportation or have questions about your child’s homework. You could also reach out to teachers, coaches and other people who participate in extracurricular activities for assistance.
  3. Get support. If someone you trust, like a friend or family member, offers to give you support, take them up on their offer. You don’t have to be strong all the time, and you need to remember to take care of yourself, too. Aside from family and friends, mental health professionals can provide empathy, support and parenting strategies to help you through a challenging time.
  4. Prioritize! Prioritizing is difficult when you have tons of things to accomplish, but making some time for yourself and your interests is important. Find a way to incorporate your child into your hobbies. For example, plan a daily walk with your child. This is a great way to get exercise and spend personal time with your child. Managing stress is crucial when you are raising a child by yourself. Exercising, reading, journaling, gardening and playing a sport are just a few of the ways you can help manage your stress level. And remember, taking care of yourself is important so you can take good care of your child, too!