Advice for Single Parents

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Single Parenting: A Mix of Families on the Web

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 12.9 million single-parent families in 2006, including 10.4 million single-mother families and 2.5 million single-father families. Because these numbers are fairly substantial, more and more parenting and family resources on the Web contain a section devoted to single-parent families explaining what life is like as a single parent. This Web guide highlights some of the best.

Advice for Single Parents

Dealing with the responsibilities of child rearing as a single parent essentially doubles what you must accomplish to care for yourself and your family. Daunting as this may seem, millions of adults are happy and successful single parents today. Find help learning to be a great single parent with the Web sites we’ve recommended here.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Statistically speaking, the majority of single-parent families are headed by mothers and the bulk of the information you find will likely address women. Don’t be put off by this fact if you’re a single dad looking for help on the Web. If you’d like to read an account of single parent life from a single dad, “Napkins: Lunch Bag Notes from Dad” might interest you.
  • Single parenting is also known as “solo parenting” and “lone parenting.” If you aren’t finding what you need with “single parenting” as your search term, try either of these alternate terms instead.

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For resources specific to single moms …
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Resources for Different Types of Single Parents

Single parent families are created out of a variety of situations. If you’ve got questions about how to function as a single parent in your particular circumstances, the Web sites in this section can serve as a good starting point to look for advice.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Parenting advice doesn’t have to come from a resource with a strict parenting focus. For example, if you’re divorced, an in-person or online divorce support group or message board may have useful information about parenting under those particular circumstances.
  • For additional help explaining your family’s individual circumstances to your children—whether you’re dealing with divorce or the death of a parent—see the next section of this guide: “Helping Kids Understand Your Family Situation”
  • Our findingDulcinea Divorce Web Guide directs you to some helpful resources that can answer your questions about the legal aspects of divorce, as well as cope with the emotions you may be experiencing.

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If you’re a separated or divorced single parent …
If you’re a widowed single parent …
If you’re a single parent by choice …
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Helping Kids Understand Your Family Situation

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges of single parenting is helping a child understand your family’s individual circumstances. Whether it’s explaining a parent’s absence or supporting a child as he works to understand a divorce, you can find age-appropriate resources on the Web that can give you some ideas about helping your child understand his family arrangement.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • As you research the Web for helpful hints about how to talk to your child about your single-parent family, the Web sites you find will generally advocate nothing but maintaining total honesty in your family. Your task will be ensuring that what you share with your children is appropriate to their comprehension at the time.

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Balancing Work and Family

Even with the help of a second parent, balancing your personal, financial, family and work life has its challenging times. For single parents the challenge may be even bigger. Luckily, many other single parents have shared their tips and wisdom gained from several trial-and-error experiences with their kids.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Many single parents become masters in the art of multitasking. Remember that even working together doing chores or small repairs around the house can be a great opportunity to spend some time with your kids. Home improvement stores such as The Home Depot offer do-it-yourself workshops for kids at their stores.
  • Many parenting and family magazines, including Parents.com and FamilyEducation.com, have a variety of articles dedicated to helping single-parent families adapt to their particular circumstances and function effectively. Even if an advice column in one of these publications is geared toward a more “traditional” family, you might be able to take even a small nugget of advice and adapt it to benefit your family.
  • A spreadsheet might help you keep your family organized by charting and tracking budgets, chores and after-school activities. Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets is a free Web-based application that works well for this purpose.

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Dating as a Single Parent

Dating as a single parent might be the farthest thought from your mind or it might be an aspect of life that you’d like to start exploring again. If you’re not sure whether you or your children are ready to cope with the challenges and changes dating may bring, the Web sites we’ve selected may help answer that question.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Professional advice about when to tell your children you plan to start dating again will vary between waiting awhile and telling them right away. Ultimately, you know your children best. If they’re still sensitive about their other parent’s absence, it might be best to wait. If they’re comfortable with your family arrangement, telling them sooner might work well.
  • Online dating is often viewed as a convenient way to meet people when spare time is limited, or as a way to screen out the duds. When using any online dating site, remember that your safety is paramount and that you should never give out too many details about yourself online. Our findingDulcinea Online Dating Web Guide can provide you with additional resources about the best sites for online dating, how to stay safe while meeting people online, and even online matchmaking and dating services.

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Single-Parent Support

The Web is filled with message boards and blogs written by people who want to share their experiences with others. Plenty of these forums deal with single-parent issues. There are even support networks for your children online. This section highlights some of the best single-parent support sites on the Web.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Although the vast majority of people you’ll find on message boards and forums have good intentions, there are those who seek to take advantage of people in vulnerable positions. Remember that safety is paramount, and be very cautious about the personal data you divulge, if any.
  • One way to protect your identity online is to use a nickname when you participate in message boards, and to change your nickname if you participate in more than one board.
  • Although you’ll likely find a sympathetic ear on the Web, the bulk of the advice you find on blogs and forums probably won’t come from professionals. Our findingDulcinea Counseling and Therapy Web Guide connects you to professional emotional support that can help difficult family situations.
  • If you prefer face-to-face support groups rather than online forums, see the sites below to find a group in your area. Also consider speaking to the clergy at your local house of worship for counseling help or for referrals to other appropriate support groups.

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For single-parenting blogs …
For message boards …
For face-to-face or other online support …
For kids’ resources …
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