Being a single parent can be challenging. As the sole provider, sole mode of transportation, and sometimes sole source of emotional support for your child, there is little time left for you. Add into the mix a parent who has gone back to school to increase earning potential, and the overwhelming feelings can take on a life of their own.
Studies show that single parent families are increasingly at risk of social isolation, mental health issues, and psychosocial disadvantages. Single parents experience multiple difficulties including financial and mood problems. Some parents report feelings of social isolation, poor relationships with their children, a sense of failure, stigma, and difficulties with financial management.
A support group for single parents has many benefits. Mothers identified in a recent study reported that the group environment provides support from other mothers, improved parenting skills, better communication with their children, and improved self-esteem.
Joining a support group that consists of other people in your same situation is always good. You benefit most from a group that is comprised of people that you can learn from and get a different insight from. Parenting methods vary by age, religion, culture, and economics. Try to find a group that matches your situation as closely as possible. Make sure it’s the best fit for you and your family’s needs. A support group of like-minded parents will benefit you most.
A great benefit of attending a support group for single mothers is knowing that you are forming a network of support. Support groups provide just that – support. Knowing that you are not alone is a great de-stressor. Having a support system that is there to catch you when you fall, and offer different opinions and advice on parenting is immeasurable.
Another great benefit to joining a support group for single parents is gaining an additional child care option. As you get to know the members of the group you can make note of the parents who share your same parenting beliefs. This is a very tangible benefit. When you make those organic connections you will automatically increase your childcare options. An offer to swap childcare duties is one that a single parent almost never passes up if they really trust the other parent. Meeting other parents with children that you can babysit and vice versa is a win-win for everyone.
The benefits of joining a single parents group extend beyond the parent and to the child as well. This is an ideal opportunity for your little one to make new friends. This is especially beneficial if you have just one child.
Do you know that saying “it takes a village to raise a child?” Well, you benefit by immersing yourself into a group “village.” It’s beneficial for children to have other adults around who encourage them and listen to them. As a member of a group for single parents, it is likely that your child will develop a bond with other parents. Having another set of adults who are available as mentors to your child is quite beneficial. Your child may find it easier to open up to a member of the group that they have developed an affinity for.
One of the unstated but obvious benefits of joining a single mom support group is most times they can act like much-needed therapy sessions. Some support groups utilize group therapy techniques. This is a major benefit as it can significantly add to your budget’s bottom line if a little more than friends is what you’re looking for. But do your research. A support group may not be what’s needed in your situation. If you are in need of more and your family needs a little more professional help, definitely seek a family counselor.