Single parent? Tips for raising children alone

Monday April 05 2021

If you decide to remain alone, think about finding role models to replace the missing parent. SAMUEL IGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Nation. Africa

Some children have always had to be raised by a single parent. In the past, that was usually because they had lost a parent through disease or for some other reason. Nowadays, it’s mostly because marriage has become less popular, especially in westernised societies, and many more couples are divorcing.

Economics is also a factor, because when more men are unemployed, women are less likely to marry. Worse still, many men with good jobs think they’re a hot commodity, and feel able to behave badly.

But even though it’s always been common, it’s never been easy rearing children on your own. There’s still some stigma, for example, especially for young single mothers, and there are usually financial difficulties. There are a few advantages, of course, like being able to make your own decisions. But mostly, there are more problems. Like having to deal with an ex.

Inevitably, you won’t like each much. But unless your ex is truly evil, don’t feel tempted to try to cut them out of your life, however much you might want to. Your children will actively want to spend time with them, and will want them to come to school events and so on.
Rewarding experience

And you shouldn’t even try to say no, even if your ex was only briefly part of your life, and otherwise shows little interest in their offspring. Instead, help them to behave better by making any assistance they offer a rewarding experience for them. And by ignoring their shortcomings. Let your bitterness go, and try to be businesslike co-parents. Discuss schooling, holiday arrangements, discipline and so on together, and try to stay on the same page about everything.

Be honest with your children about your ex. Don’t demonise them or try to prevent the children from accessing them, especially when they acquire a new partner.


It’s understandable that you might want to, but don’t even try. Don’t involve your children in disputes, make them pick sides, or feel guilty for having fun without you. And don’t ask questions about your ex’s new squeeze!

And if you decide to start dating? Go for it! Your children will benefit from seeing you in a happy relationship. Come to terms with your past, and consciously choose someone who understands the complexities of your life, probably because they’re in the same situation. Watching them getting along with their own children will also help you decide how they’ll cope with yours! Immediately reveal that you’re single parenting, because there’s just no point in starting with someone who can’t cope.

If you decide to remain alone, think about finding role models to replace the missing parent. Especially a missing dad. Your children need to know that there are good men out there. And how good men behave and live their lives.

There’s lots more to it of course. So lean on your family and friends, and stay positive. Until one day you’ll suddenly realise what a remarkable job you’ve done.

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