Divorce and Single Parenting

What's Covered

There are many reasons why married couples choose to dissolve their matrimony. Divorce has been a part of the American society, wherein divorce rate almost tripled from the 1960s to 1980s.[1] Some factors that are associated with a higher risk for divorce are young age, less income, premarital pregnancy, lack of commitment, infidelity, domestic abuse, while some just fell out of love. Reading a book about divorce may help you cope with the situation.

Common Reasons for Divorce

Conflicting goals and personalities
Some couples want different things in marriage; they dib bit gave the same decisions on where to start a family, whether to pursue a career or not due to some restrictions, or to have a child or not. Disagreements can put pitfalls on a smooth sailing marriage. Especially when managed poorly. Partners are not the same one spouse may like a thing that the other spouse would not. Some partners want to support and please their other half, forgetting that they have their own boundaries too. There are also partners that due to their strong personality, they do things on their own way which makes a difficult time addressing the needs of their spouses. Combinations of these kinds of partners may be quite confusing and threatening to the relationship. Differences on personalities may look like irritating and disrespectful and may result in frustration to spouses. There are partners who may resent the sacrifices they have made to maintain relationships.

Financial Strains and Irresponsibility
Money is a big source of conflict in marriages. Sometimes spouses can’t agree on financial issues and decides on splitting bills on their homes, which lead to financial infidelity where one hides money from the other. It would also push financial burdens if one spouse decides to leave their job, decides to just raise their children, or pursue their education and stop working. This will leave one partner to carry the financial responsibilities of the other, and leaves changes on marriage dynamics on situations that only one spouse earns and the other is jobless. The money earner often controls the spending priorities. On this situation, both shall be responsible enough on earning to cover their financial responsibilities – partners should cooperate as a team.

Extended Family
A spouse needs to get along with their in-laws. Sometimes, losing their acceptance pressures a spouse to end the marriage, and most likely to make your spouse choose between you or their family. Some in-laws are controlling, unfriendly, or sometimes too involved in the spouses’ married life. Figuring out the reasons why an in-law is controlling and discussing it with your partner may help understand that both spouses should lead the marriage together. Forgetting about getting an approval from the in-laws would make them believe that only the spouses are in control of the marriage. For in-laws that are being rude. This is again should be communicated to the partner, and limit contact with the in-laws, while having respect on them. Show them that you appreciate their help and advice, but let them know that both you and your partner can grow as an independent couple.

How Parents Feel

It is grieving for parents to lose their hoped complete family for their children. Every parent wished to take care, and raise their children together. They would accept differences of each other, face problems together but sometimes these unhappy relationships need to end for the better. Feeling of guilt for parents is present whenever child sees their parents are fighting, arguing, or exposing the children to the nastiness of an unhealthy relationship. It takes a lot of courage for parents to decide on divorce since their decision will not only affect their relationship towards each other, but also their relationship with their children.

Managing Life After Divorce

It takes a while getting over a divorced relationship. Realizing the benefits of divorce from an unhappily married life is the biggest part. You are in control of how long you will endure the sadness of divorce. There is no rushing to getting over the experience but it is better to let go than being awful and dwelling on the past, accepting that distancing yourself from the unfortunate experience. When a relationship ends, it will be hard to get used on the solo life. It can be depressing, lonely, and financially frustrating. But rebuilding your life after a divorce is a fulfilling experience.

Have Time for Grieving
A divorce still represents a loss – even if you want it. It will still include negative emotions such as sadness. It is natural to long for the life you once had. Have some time alone and reflect on the past to make better decisions in the future.

Track Your Feelings
Keeping a journal every few days will track your improvements – how you felt right after the divorce and how are you coping with it. By having a journal, you can take control of your previous emotional struggles. By the time you have got through your disturbing experiences, take a look back on your first journal; it would be fulfilling to see the difference on how you have improved.

Make Time for Your Family and Friends
Communicating with your family especially with your children is the best way to lessen the feelings of burden. Talking to your children would make them understand and may help you on coping with the divorce. Being with your friends will prevent you from doing anything stupid. Since people don’t think rationally when they are hurt.

Remember Who You Were and Celebrate
Celebrate being single. Do the things that you love especially the things you have given up before marriage. Exercise your interests while rebuilding yourself. Divorce is never easy. When you have kids, you need to come out stronger for them. Lifestyle and financial stability will change but there is always a good start for everything.

How Children Feel

For children, their homes are considered their safe haven. But how would they feel if they would always see their parents quarrel, raising their voices to each other, and having tension on their household? It would be hard for the children to adjust on the joint parenting scheme, unlike to what the usual family set up that they got used to. Children whose parents later divorce show more problems than those in families that later remain intact.

Children After Divorce

Some kids blame themselves for what happened to their parents. Children tend to face challenges – to stay with whom, spend each day with emptiness, envy on seeing complete families. Most of the time, fathers who are facing a bitter relationship after divorce abandon their children which leads to loss of a parent, emotional, and financial support that gives the children distress to an extent. A child may live primarily with one parent. Parents shall have a mutual respect for one another, proper communication on the needs of the children. The kids benefit on the regular communication of their parents; each parent influences unique quality on the child-parent relationship.


Emotional and Behavioral Effects
Divorce impact on children depends on the age. When children are young, they likely to feel that they are to blame for the divorce. Since the have a little understanding of their life circumstances. Children encounter sleep issues, nightmares, or other fantastical beings during bed time. Adolescents tend to blame their parents for not working their relationships out. – making this one of the reasons why adolescents with divorced parents tend to be rebellious. While young children tend to seek attention of their parents. They try to achieve this by doing things that would affect their parent’s emotions. Some kids do not do well on school, because they are distracted and confused; Alcohol, drugs, early sexual activity, and aggressive behavior are also possible on adolescents whom experiencing on their parent’s divorce. Parents become busy and unable to help them with school works.

Social Effects

Social activities of children also experience having a hard time relating or interacting to other people. Young children are prone to sickness such as headaches, speech defects, and asthma attacks due to the stress and shock that they experience. Negative changes towards siblings may also be present. Children becomes afraid of the things that previously not bothered them. They usually feel insecure. They tend to be shy and anxious, and uninterested on social situations. They often feel isolated and are forced to go back and forth from their separated parents’ houses. They thought that they must choose one parent over the other. They are likely to complain of lack peer support, fewer childhood friends since they fear of peer rejection due to their parent’s divorce. Adolescents display more anti-social and violent behavior especially the ones who come from single-father families.

Psychological and Emotional Effects

The first years of divorce are when kids most likely to struggle – experiencing anger, distress, and disbelief. This situation can be scary, confusing and frustrating for them. Young children tend to worry that maybe someday one of their parents will stop loving them so they must go between two homes regularly. Teenagers become angry and blame one parent for the situation they are in and may grudge both parents for the dissolution of the marriage of their parents. Children usually encounter stress of divorce when they lose their daily contact on one of their parents. The decrease of communication affects the parent-child relationship greatly. Mothers experience stress from divorce, and since they are the usual primary guardians of the children, kids think that mothers become less affectionate and supportive, ways of discipline for the children become less effective and consistent.

Communication and Co-Parenting

Talking to an ex-partner can be difficult after divorce. And this would affect how the children would accept the present situation. One of the factors on effective communication is the way you talk to your ex-partner. Having a professional tone while having a conversation keeps negative emotions out of the communication. Always remember that the both of you always wanted the best for your child. Remember to stay focused on your topic and choose your words properly to ensure proper communication. Make sure to stare at your child’s point of view and share your thoughts and feelings, have agreements, and consider possible issues.

What Divorced Parents Should Do

Both parents shall consider that even their relationship as spouses end, they still continue to be parents for their children. Parenting is a teamwork even having their personal lives. Parents can remain friends even after the separation. By having this kind of relationship, cooperation for the both of the parents is achievable. It is easy for the parents to decide for their children’s welfare, and participating in family events would be possible. Anger and negative feelings do not hinder their proper parenting.

Parent to Parent Relationship

While others cooperate and make compromises for the sake of their child, some ex-partners disagree over finances, custody, and visitation. They barely able to do proper co-parenting since they let anger and conflict affect their co-parenting relationship. These parents often end up arguing. Usual problems such as visitation and support arise. They feel like they are competing for their child’s loyalty. On this kind of relationship, children suffer more on the effects of divorce. The words effect of this kind of relationship is that no support is received when problems arise; and sometimes one parent withdraws from seeing the children.

Parent to Children Relationship

The children need to have stable relationship with their parents even after divorce. With strong co-parenting and communication, a chance for a healthy upbringing for the children would be better. Transition from an intact family to two separate co-parenting home shall be smooth. New rules and methods must be consistent and everyone should agree with the routine, even the children. Understanding the situation sometimes depends on the children’s age; older children tend to have a difficulty on adapting the current situation they are in since they have grown on an intact family for a long time, while the younger children may adapt easily since they will be used to the co-parenting environment as they age.

Living Life as a Single Parent

In 2002, about 20 million children lived in a single parent household. The most common type of a single parent family is about 16.5 million of all children living with their single mother; while only about 5 percent of children under 18 is living with their father.[2] At some point, it may be more difficult for the single mother to raise her child alone. This kind of family deal with pressure and areas that complete families may not face. Children from this kind of household tended to be poor, and more likely to be teen parents. However, there are chances that children form single parent household do not experience the same if the single parent has a stable relationship with the child.

Financial Incapability

One of the challenges that single parents encounter are finances and poverty. Having a household with only one who earns is tight and difficult – with additional strain on finances such as caregiver for the kids, and of course, their school expenses. Some say that single parent families headed by women covers a portion of poverty rates making the number of women entering the labor force has increased. Not having enough financial resources is stressful for parents. They will do whatever it takes to ensure that their children have food – making them reduce their food intake or skip meals to pay their bills. Financial hardships also have negative impacts on social interactions. These single parents choose to home isolate which leads to social withdrawal and embarrassment of having little money.

Jobs and Home Chores

Being a single parent also means you will be overloaded with work. They do all the run of the house; you have to take care of finances. Which means you need to spend a lot of time working, and that makes them do multiple jobs. While doing the work, they may also feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of doing household chores. It has always been a challenge to manage finances while making time for kids and themselves. And they carry the burden of cooking, cleaning, and making sure that the needs of everyone are attended.

Loneliness

Some single parents crave for some adult company at the end of the day. Since they have no one to talk to, some feel loneliness. Being the sole caregiver of the children, they rarely have the time and opportunity to be with their friends. Loneliness often comes after the end of every relationship. Spending time away from their children due to co-parenting may trigger the feeling as well. Sometimes, people are hesitant to reach out to them since they know these parents are busy and not wanted to be disturbed.

Strengths and Advantages of Single Parenting

The main objective of a single parent is to provide the best on the well-being of their children. There are disadvantages, but there are times that single parenting may benefit both the parent and child. Being on a single parent household, children understand their responsibility. This makes them mature and independent, and it lessens the burden of single parenting. The kids understand that their parents need their companionship at home. This brings them a strong bond of friendship. They depend on one another making them supportive to each other.

Another advantage of single parent household is that the kids would not see any conflicts from their parents at home. Children may observe and adapt what they have learned and apply this on their future relationships as adult. Living with two separate homes for children will make them experience different approaches in life that they can use in establishing their home when they become adults. More often, the kids will be exposed to different and new ideas and experiences. For kids, holidays are also enjoyed since they get two or more celebrations each holiday.

Single Parenting Strategies

Single parenting is not always being alone and being negative. If the parent understands on how to cope with the pressure, find support, and nurture their child, single parenting can be successful. Showing that love to your children can surely reduce stress on the single parenting journey. Giving time each day to play, read, watch tv together, or simply enjoying little hobbies may show unconditional love and support. You may try working on this puzzle on your free time with your child.

Getting a Caregiver

Look for a qualified caregiver who can make the child feel that they are safe. They should also instill consistent discipline to the child like how the parent does. Taking care of themselves may reduce stress as well. Physical on daily routines, getting enough amount of sleep, and having time to enjoy activities with friends once in a while may lessen the stress of single parenting. Joining support groups for single parents can be helpful for them too.

Telling Your Children How You Feel

It is okay to tell your child that you are facing challenges or having a difficult time, they can help you feel light and be better, talking to the kids about divorce and listening about their feelings may enlighten them and ease their fears and concerns. Parents should give their best to communicate and cooperate with their ex-partner to provide the best interest of their child. Acknowledge their efforts and good parenting will show the children that they do not have anything to worry about. Parents should not bad mouth or argue with each other especially in front of their children. This would make the kids take sides and possible emotional feelings in the future. It is important to be positive and be a good role model to their children.

Final Thoughts

Being committed to a partner is sometimes overwhelmed by the problems and challenges that couple experience from day-to-day experiences. Commitment to your partner requires a real desire to be together, providing the feeling of being safer and willing to give more. Problems come and go on every relationship. It depends on the partner on how would they handle, face, and resolve marital problems together. No relationship is perfect; people change constantly. Which some partners fail to realize then leads to falling out of love and at some point, makes the children suffer.


[1] Amato, Paul R. “Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments.” Journal of marriage and family 72.3 (2010): 650-666.

[2] Bianchi, Suzanne M. “The changing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of single parent families.” Marriage & Family Review 20.1-2 (1994): 71-97.

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Author

Diana Lucas

Diana Lucas

Hi, Diana here. Welcome to my blog and hope you like my sharing. I am a mother of 2 boys, 3 years old and a 1 year old. I dedicate my career in child development research and I focus on parenting tips, positive parenting, educational toys for my babies. Your time here means a lot to me! Diana A. Lucas

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