Written by: Caroline Meyer
While you might feel very alone at times as a single parent, you should not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Asking for help is not a sign that you cannot manage as a single parent and is often the smart decision to make when it comes to making things better for your family. If you have a great support structure made up of family, friends and other parents that you can trust, that is a great resource to have. For many single parents, even though they may have some kind of support structure, it may not be adequate.
Some of the support that you may look for as a single parent may include assistance with finances to help you budget and improve the way you use your money and even to find cash saving tips, emotional support when you need it and social support when you need some time out. Single parents and couples all need this type of support, but it is often more difficult for single parents that do not have a partner to offer some relief from these concerns. As a single parent, don’t be afraid to accept help when it is offered. This is especially true in situations where you can reciprocate such as arrange play dates to allow you some time out for your own needs.
Suggestions From People That Can Offer Support:
- Family including your siblings, grandparents and other close family.
- Friends can offer support that may not be as emotionally charged and probably less complicated than family.
- Work colleagues may be able to offer advice and if they are parents maybe even occasional babysitting.
- Clubs / Church groups / Childcare centres: People you meet through your child’s childcare or school, through social or sports clubs and church groups may be able to offer support of various kinds even if it is just someone to chat to on an adult level.
- Therapists, doctors and counsellors: You may need someone who is professional and can offer advice from a neutral perspective without any emotional involvement. In these situations, if may be better to consult with someone outside of your social group.
- Online forums, counselling and telephone hotlines: If you are not able to get out as much, you can make use of the internet to do some research, connect with parents in similar circumstances and benefit from advice and the experiences of other people. You can also try the online counselling services or use a hotline to talk to people who can offer help and support. There are many online support groups for single parents in Australia. You can also use the internet to connect with local single parents and perhaps form your own support group.
- The local library and community centres may also offer information such as playgroups and toy libraries which can be helpful. You can also look up when there are events locally that you might want to attend with your child. Family health nurses can also help with information and advice especially when it comes to the health and well being of your little one.
It may be quite difficult when you first start building a support structure and you may be quite nervous of meeting new people, no matter allowing other people to be involved in your child’s life. Remember, you don’t have to go out and make 10 friends to get started. Just one or two contacts that you can get to know better and that you feel you can trust is a good start. They will often introduce you to people they know, and trust and you can grow your group in this way. Being able to talk to people who are positive and supportive will help you a lot. Try and avoid people who are negative and judgemental as they do more harm than good.
Some Of The Forums Available That You Can Try Online In Australia Include:
Beanstalk Anonymous Single Mother Forum: This caters mostly to single mums, but dads can also use it to get information. The site allows for in-depth discussions on some of the questions you may not feel comfortable asking others.
Australian Single Parent support Group: This is a closed Facebook group for single parents. The page for chats, questions, venting and a wide variety of other posts including funny ones to give you a smile. This can be a good place to start looking for local single parents that you may connect with in real time as well. If not, it can still be a good place to get some questions answered or just to rant about the latest bout of flu going around.
If you take the time to do a little research, you will find there is a lot more resources available for single parents than you may expect. You never need to be totally alone when raising your child or children as a single parent. You can find like minded people to talk to as well as people that can offer support physically and emotionally. If you do feel overwhelmed, there are several support lines you can call such as Lifeline and PANDA.