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For Single Parent Families

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epost from Mortgageloan.com


One of our readers and fellow single parents wrote in and told of this GREAT article regarding home ownership and single parent families that was published by mortgageloan.com. We wanted to repost this at her request because it might just help someone - and after all, that is what we are ALL about - helping single parent families do better. Please let us know if this helps you!
Purpose of this Guide

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Advice for Single Parents as we get BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

 

School Supplies (check) - Support System (loading...)

 When you think of self-sufficient you would say it means being able to do it all on your own, without help from anyone. Take a second to look at your daily routine. Is that really realistic? Even the most successful people rely on others for support, from parents who are willing to babysit, to friends who are willing to teach you how to change the oil in your car. You're doing it all on your own, it can be challenging to figure out how to build a support system for yourself and your kids.

As you prepare for the school year, take a look at a few starting points to help build your circle. Think of the people who come to mind who will be able to help or point you in the direction of another resource, even if they aren't able to help themselves. 

Packing backpacks Single Parents helping Single Parents

Who Do You Trust?  

If you had to leave your kids with someone right now, who would you call? The answer provides a pretty good indication of who you trust. Most likely, this list will be family members who live nearby, as well as your closest friends and neighbors. With school starting soon this would be the person you would call to help with pick up if you are running late from work.

Who Do You Respect or Hold in High Regard?

There might be people in your life who you don't know very well, but who you have a lot of respect for. These individuals might be excellent sources of help. This person maybe able to help you make decisions that you otherwise wouldn't be able to make based on your level of stress.

 

Who in the Community Might Be Able to Help?

Is there a church or support group nearby?  How about other single parents in your children's class or neighborhood? These people will be willing to support you just make sure to be clear and willing to help them in any way as well. 

Guess what?

You've begun to build a support system. Start contacting these individuals as soon as possible to share your need and even if they can't help you themselves at this time, they may be able to point you in the direction of others who can. Stay connected with Single Parent Advocate. Check out our closed Group created as a message board for Single Parent to communicate and give advice.

 

Single Parent Advocate is actively gathering school supplies for registered single parent families in the DFW area.   Would you support these families?   There are 3 ways to help:

1.  Click Here and join donors by making an online financial donation today

2.  Click Here to Volunteer at our backpack stuffing or distribution gatherings in August

3.  Purchase and deliver suggested supplies at one fo the locations below

2015 Back to School Supply Drive for Single Parent Advocate2015 school supply list

Together we can make a big difference!  Thank you for your support!!

 

 

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Many single mothers today find it difficult to arrange for dependable child care during the summer months. A common problem many encounter is not only finding safe child care, but also being able to find affordable options. Not only that, but no mother wants her children spending the entire summer without any kind of reading, educational experiences, or real mental stimulation. So how does a busy single mom find summer child care that is affordable, safe, and exciting/challenging for their children?

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Airplane flying 101.

“Put your oxygen mask on before assisting anyone next to you”. My favorite metaphor for self care that can usually elicit
an eye roll or a list of tasks that are “more important” than taking some time
to indulge oneself. This response is especially true with my single parent
clients. This notion of self care takes a back seat to the day to day tasks and
chores that fall solely on your shoulders. Let’s also not forget that it takes
a lot of time and money to engage in the typical self care like a massage, spa
day or a night out. So what do we do when something seems out of reach? We
don’t prioritize it. Instead we make time for the more tangible self care such
as eating unhealthy food, a couple glasses of our favorite beverage, and
cancelling on social plans to stay at home in comfy clothes. When we don’t tend
to our own needs, but consistently prioritize other’s, is the breeding ground
for anxiety, depression, anger and resentment. Prioritizing healthy, regular
self care is necessary for you to live a more joyful life and it is also an important
skill to model for your children. If you can’t take the time to prioritize and
take care of yourself, how can you teach this skill to them? Re-defining what self care looks like to
better fit your life style is key to actually engaging in it. Below are some ideas and tips of how to make
self care work for you!

 

Do the boring stuff.


Self care isn’talways about pampering and indulging. Sometimes the best form of self care is organizing and
completing the tasks that we least want to do. Everyone has their certain chore
or engagement that they put off until the very last minute or blow off all
together. This can be paying bills, going to the doctor, sending thank you
cards or going grocery shopping. The common mantra of “I’m so tired I’ll do it
_____ (insert: later, tomorrow, next week, next month, never)” allows us to do what
feels comfortable with our time off such as sitting in front of the tv, eating
take out, having another glass of wine or shoving laundry into a pile. This
practice of avoiding mundane tasks can give us immediate gratification, but if
this becomes a common practice, can lead to increased levels of stress and
anxiety. Crossing the tough stuff off the to-do list regularly can be an
immediate source of gratification and accomplishment. I don’t think anyone has
ever had clean sheets on their bed or all the bills paid on time (or early) and
felt more stress afterwards about doing it. Setting a specific time to do
whatever you typically put off and holding yourself accountable to do it is
self care at its finest.

 

Ask for help.

We often put the expectation on ourselves that if we don’t get X,Y and Z done
independently or without assistance than we are less than or a bad mom/dad.
There tends to be a lot of shame around asking for assistance from friends or
family so we avoid it leading to packed schedules, a feeling of being stretched
too thin, and harsh self judgement. A good form of self care is asking for
help. Whether it is asking another parent to give your kiddo a ride to soccer
practice or home from school, reaching out to a close friend or family member
to come over and watch the kids one night, or taking that co-worker up on their
offer to bring you lunch one day. Help and support is an absolute necessity for
self care and decreased stress and there is zero shame in asking for it.
Chances are, friends and family will be more than willing to help you help
yourself.

Be kind to yourself.


We are our own worst critics. That little voice in your head that is constantly
judging or critiquing your every move, mistake and success can be absolutely
draining. A simple, but very challenging, technique to increase your self care
every day, is to increase the amount of kindness that you give to yourself.
Making time to reflect on something positive you have done, letting go of a
judgement you have placed on yourself, or affirming yourself can lead to an
instant increase in mood. Positive affirmations are a simple way to work this
type of self care into your daily routine. Positive affirmations can feel a
little funny at first, but there is plenty of research to show the positive
effects they have on self esteem and mood. Next time you find that voice in
your head being critical or when you are not feeling good enough, try replacing
that thought with one of these affirmations: “I am enough” “I can handle what
is put in front of me” “I am at peace even when life gets crazy” “I am doing
the absolute best I can” “I am a really good mother/father”. Even if you
struggle to believe what your telling yourself, say it anyway.

 

Get creative!

Self care doesn’t have to involve large amounts of money, getting away from long
amounts of time or needing child care. Get creative with what makes you feel
like you hit the reset button. Make homemade spa masks with your kids and have
a “family spa day”. Create a fun and cozy “reading corner” then take 15-20 to
curl up and read by yourself or with your little ones. Go for a long walk. Have
an at home dance or sing along party. Have a gardening day or a cookie baking
contest. Take what works for you and find a fun way to make it kid friendly.

Last but not least, if you can take the time to get a
massage or a night out with friends, take it with no guilt! Remember, if you
aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to give your best self to
your kids and those who you love around you.

By Stacey Ojeda

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #100694

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Before Anything Can Get Better, You Have to Believe It Can Get Better

 

Your car starts to make a funny noise on the way to the
grocery store. You feel your heart sink
a little. “Not you too,” you say to yourself as you tell the two kids, an eight
and ten year old, in the back to stop fighting or they both will be grounded
from their electronics. No one is happy, not even the car.

Shopping for groceries on a slim budget is giving you a
headache. It doesn’t help that you have to keep saying “no, we can’t get that”
down every aisle as your kids beg for their favorites. Your annoyance is
increasing.

After getting the kids and fewer bags of groceries than you
wanted back in the car, the engine doesn’t just make a funny noise it starts to
sound like a dying cow.

“No, no, NO!” you scream.

This can’t be happening. You could barely afford groceries,
there is no way you can afford car repairs and there is no way you can afford
being without a car.

In a situation like this, frustration, anxiety and worry are
all understandable emotions. For some it may be just an every now and then bad
day. For others, it may be a typical every day. Either way, it doesn’t feel
good.

The usual reaction to this frustration is a burst of anger,
but that only helps for a moment until the worry comes back. In our anger, we
have upset our kids, a service person, or others who happened to be around.
This has us feeling worse, and more frustrated.

It feels like a trap.

And, it is a trap as long as we believe that it is the
situation that is having us feel so bad.

Now, I can hear you saying, “But it is the situation. If the
car wasn’t breaking down, the kids weren’t screaming and I had plenty of money,
I wouldn’t feel this way.”

That seems logical, but it keeps us in the trap.

So if it’s not the situation that is having us feel so bad,
what is it?

It is what we believe about the situation that has us
feeling bad and therefore trab2ap3_thumbnail_What-would-you-do-it-you-werent-afraid.jpgpped.

Let me explain.

We feel good when we are going towards what we want, and we
believe that we can get there. We feel
bad when we aren’t. Take, for instance, driving to a destination with plenty of
time. Even if you find the road under construction and your planned way
blocked, you would just look for a different route. You wouldn’t feel worried
or frustrated. You might feel a moment of annoyance but then you would focus on
what you need to do to get to where you want to go.

Now, if you were taking this same trip but needed to be
there at a certain time, this same situation with construction blocking your
chosen route would create a much different set of emotions. The emotions may
quickly go from annoyance to frustration and anger or even panic. Why? Because
you believe that the obstacle is going to keep you from what you want. It
hasn’t yet, but because you believe it will, every slow car and stop light
starts to reinforce the belief that it will, and therefore, the negative
emotions increase. You are thinking more about what will happen when you are
late, and what idiots block a road during rush hour than you are about what
path will get you to where you need to be on time.

The bad feeling we get is from believing that something is
going to keep us from what we want and there is nothing we can do to change it.
Fortunately, when we notice that we feel bad, we have a choice. One option is
to believe that we are not going to get what we want. We become upset with what
we think is in our way and then feel anxious and worried about what we believe
is coming. Another option is to believe
there is the possibility of it all working out, and that things will get better.
We are then able to shift our thoughts to what it is that we really want and
look for ways to get there.

In our example, even if you have a deadline but believe that
even though you have to take a detour you will still find a way to make it, the
emotions you feel are a lot less stressful.

So, it is not the situation, but what you believe about the
situation that determines how you feel and react. For things to get better,b2ap3_thumbnail_we-believe-what-we-tell-ourselves.jpg you
have to believe they can.

Okay, but how does knowing this help when you have a broken
car, screaming kids and a small budget? Knowing that it is your belief about
the situation that is having you feel bad doesn’t take away the fact that you
still have a car that is not sounding good and kids to feed. By believing that
you can find a solution does make a difference in how you feel and react. Believing that there is a way to work
things out has you looking for options that you may miss if you are worried or
angry.

You could keep believing that things are not going to work
out and blame your car, your ex or the economy for your bad luck. You can even
worry about what disaster the future will bring to you next, none of which will
move you any close to what it is you really want. Or you can believe that you
will find a solution that will move you closer to what you want.

Believe Puppy

You have a choice to believe

things can work out

or

believe that they won’t.

It’s up to you.

What will you believe?

 

 

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If you are a single parent, or if you are considering supporting a single parent family, please know this is one of the most meaningful things you can do. Below are some of the real challenges of life as a single parent in America today.

Resource Management: This can be anything from finances to childcare to food. Stretching the dollar to cover normal daily needs–and dare I say desires/wants-of self & family. If finances are not the challenge, single parents must make the most of time to pay the attention required to meet children's needs (like school, activities, quality communication, and care) the demands of employer(s), and expectations of extended family, while still making room for recreation and rest. There is often more month than money or time in a single parent household. When a single parent comes home from work and starts their "second job" of cooking, cleaning, homework, bill paying, project making, and grocery shopping – they have completed a solid 12-14 hour day. Normally, social connectedness, and self-care suffer tremendously. Self Care – if you do not take care of yourself with proper nutrition, rest, exercise and spiritual food – you cannot possibly be balanced enough to take care of others and make sound and healthy decisions alongside having sound and healthy reactions to life's more challenging moments. A single parent must remember to ASK FOR HELP. There is no replacement for investigating and learning the community resources and unapologetically putting them in place as an active part of their home. This can be like recreation centers, libraries, coupon groups, babysitting exchanges, the church, and so on. maintain a work life balance.

maintain a work life balance

Social Networking: Because time and money is stretched, it is difficult to build a support network, but it is a MUST. Many single parents have mentioned that they struggle with loneliness and isolation. Often, the dynamics of dating are so challenging that people choose to stick to themselves. Many adults do not want to date a full time single parent and share attention with the children or bother to try and "blend" a family. This type of rejection is often met with heartache and brings about low self-esteem. I believe a sound solution is to surround oneself with other FAMILIES. You are not a single – you are a FAMILY. Our first priority as a family is to its members. Our activities as "grown ups" like dating, girls/guys night out, trips to the salon, etc can be supported by the circle of families to which we belong. In turn, we can offer the same.

Making up for the missing Parts: Many single parents try to play both parent roles. If there are any moms like me, the lack of interest in baiting a fishhook or tying knots with the boy scouts must be met a neutral role model of the opposite parent that is trustworthy and consistent who will commit to this type of relationship on an ongoing and long term basis. Additionally, it is very difficult to balance the demands of work fully when your child needs you at school or at home. Overtime crushes more than the clock for a single parent– it crushes our ability to give our hearts in full connection with our child–and then crushes them. A single parent needs a network – this can be with neighbors, school, church, family – whatever circle is safe, consistent, and reflective of good & sound ethics that support the parent and the children and is at the ready for life's unexpected moments.

Guilt /Shame/Self Worth: Many single parents feel guilty and some even ashamed of having to ask more of their children than in terms of sacrifice and household operations. Often, "letting a kid be a kid" is a rare privilege. Single parents carry guilt about this at times, or overcompensate with tough love, which can be good–or build walls, depending on how it is approached and presented. Making choices about what we can do and cannot do as it relates to time and money adds to the guilt that parents carry regarding their situation. However, single parents MUST build each other up. They MUST commit to a positive and productive perspective for their kid's sakes.

Anxiety/Fear: Single parents are often faced with making the quality of interactions make up for the lack of quantity interactions. Most single parents, however, find themselves in what I call "survival mode" emotionally, financially, or physically. They are in a stance of fight or flight rather than in a place where decisions can be made based on patient, thoughtful, well strategized, and intentional efforts. Hearts that filled with grief, guilt, shame, anxiety and fear are however leading homes and families all across America. It is VERY IMPORTANT that we recognize this and develop healthy alternative habits. AWARENESS is step one – ACKNOWLEGEMENT of this reality and a plan to replace unhealthy perspectives with positive and productive perspectives and reactions is a commitment we must make and apply starting today.

Single Parent Children Struggle AlsoSingle Parent Children Struggle Also

 

Many children in single parent families face their own challenges:

Countless studies show that children in single parent households are under a lot more stress. When the stress accumulates it can lead to problems in school and behavioral issues. So what are single parenting's effects on a child's mentality overall?

Effects on Your Child's Emotional Health - When a single parent argues with the other parent in front of the child, this can lead to stress in the child. It is especially problematic when the parents try to get the child to take sides or deliver critical messages to the other parent through the child. The conflicts between parents and single parenting's effects on a child's mentality can lead to the child's inability to grow an attachment with either parent. This lack of an emotional attachment can lead to feelings of insecurity in the child.

The Effects of Abandonment on a Child's Mentality - When discussing single parenting's effects on a child's mentality, it is important to note the effect abandonment can have. Abandonment refers to when a parent leaves the household and cuts of all contact. Feelings of abandonment can lead a child to question his or her own self-worth. The remaining parent must help the child cope with the other parent's absence so the child doesn't develop low self-esteem. Abandoned children also tend to have trust issues and bottle up their emotions rather than express them freely.

The Effects of Constant Moving on Children - Single parents move around more often usually because they face more economic hardship and must move around frequently in order to find more affordable places to live. This frequent moving is another one of single parenting's negative effects on a child's mentality. Each time children move they have to leave behind their neighborhood friends and the transition is even more difficult when they change schools. The possible effects of frequent moving are a sense of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

A toxic combination of unstable schedules and unstable access to childcare leads to a pattern of serial quitting. Single parenting's effects on a child's mentality vary but due to its inherent challenges, single parenting can cause stress for both parent and child and it is the parent's responsibility to make it as least traumatic as possible. It is possible for the negative effects to be balanced out if the parents make an extra effort to provide their child with all the emotional support they need.

If you are a single parent, don't be hard on yourself. It is a fight to move forward so, keep up the pace, ask for help and use your resources! If you are a supporter of single parent families, THANK YOU!!

If you are considering supporting a single parent family, please know this is one of the most meaningful things you can do.

You can CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO SINGLE PARENT ADVOCATE and support our work with nominated families.  

If you would like to get involved, you can CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER.  We definitely need your help.  

If you know a family that needs help in the Dallas County, Collin County, or Denton County areas in Texas, please review our resource page on this website. If you are unable to find suitable aide, please email us and we will try to help as well.

If you are outside of this area, please like us on Facebook, and Twitter!

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AskForHelp Logo 2In speaking with many single parent families, there is a common thread of guilt and/or shame when it comes to asking for help. The truth is that so many families are facing tremendous ruin of some kind like abandonment, divorce, death, disease, disability, or economic duress; and, it is very difficult to prosper in those conditions.

Furthermore, Single Parents must earn more as an individual to be self sufficient than dual parent two-income households. In fact, it takes about $45,000.00 annually for a single parent to raise 2 children on a conservative budget and do so self sufficiently. Most available jobs do not provide that level of income.

Therefore, single parents MUST educate themselves about their corporate, community, faith based, and charitable resources. Not only that, they MUST use them responsibly.

 

 

Faith based, community based, and civic organizationsyou have two hands one to help yourself and one to help others have a TON of support for families. This is not always in the form of cash to pay a bill, but may be in the form of job education and advancement plans, work/life balance resources for affordable childcare and flexible scheduling options, and health and savings resources. Often, by communicating concerns and needs, a family finds they develop help, and also, potentially, a good friend, and a helping hand.

So, single parents, we want to encourage you. If you need food, go to the food pantry in your area. If you need clothes, go to the Goodwill or a Thrift Shop in your area. If you need shelter, seek a job at an apartment complex and reach out to your civic housing authority or HUD. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THIS. Typically, as single parents, our hearts have been sliced a bit by life, but we cannot let it affect our heads!!!!

 

Single Parent Families can do many things themselves to create community like create a babysitting network, a Sunday School or Bible Study, a social outing club that is family friendly. SPEAK UP about how you are seeking flexible job solutions, and boldly pursue your options, and even ask for new options to be created. Be ready to hold up your end of the bargain in all this with your employers. Position things carefully so it is clear that you are not seeking a hand out – but that you are seeking a hand UP.

Whatever it is we are lDont Be Discouragedooking for, sometimes we feel like there is no where to go – but that is not always the case. Be steadfast and don't quit or give up in your pursuits. If you quit - you teach your children to quit. Be smart, be resourceful and engaged with your talents and USE THEM. Speak UP when you need help – shelve pride for the sake of your kids if not for yourself. If pride comes before a fall - You MUST lay down your pride – ask for help when you need REST, or WORK. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. Ask for practical assistance, so your child doesn’t have to do without.

Parenting education, safety education, resource education (USA.gov, United Way, Salv. Army, Goodwill, YWCA, YMCA, BBBS, Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, HUD, Workforce Commission, Nemours, Care.com, CCCS….all offer suitable aid). There sometimes seems like there is nowhere to turn and that there is not a hope, but do not be discouraged. There are many working to make better lives possible for single parents and their children of all ages.

If you are seeking resources, please visit the Resources page on the Single Parent Advocate website. It is a great place to start. We are researching and looking to add more too just for all of you. Take heart and have courage. You are not alone, and this is not impossible - it is just challenging. Believe in yourselves!! We believe in you!!

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Each single parent family is different. The specific challenges are always unique to the family, yet there are some common themes with most around not enough time, money or emotional support. As a single mother for 10+ years, have had many of the same challenges.

In this series, I'll share what I've learned along the way and hope it can help you too as you successfully single parent your family.

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Some single parent  families are in more of a time crunch than they are in a money crunch.  So, this week, we are listing some links to Amazon where you can purchase supply kits to help save time for you as you begin to prepare your children to get back to school.  
 

We chose these kits on Amazon.com.   When you purchase these kits, Amazon will make a donation to Single Parent Advocate.  So, you can help yourself, your kiddos,  and help other single parent families at the same time.

Shop Amazon - Back to School

We hope this helps you and your children!!!

 

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For Single Parents by Cederick Tardy

I want to open a discussion about unintentional child abuse and neglect in America and what it has done to this generation.

What is unintentional child neglect? UCN is when a parent decides to put a priority of lower value over the ultimate well-being of his or her child. In many cases the parents thinks they are acting in the child’s best interest. In America, 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made every year. In 2005, 49.7 percent of children who were mistreated were white, 23.1 percent were African American, and 17.4 percent were Hispanic (USDHHS, 2007). Imagine the “statistics” if the numbers reflected the unintentional child neglect figures.

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Every little bit helps when it comes to saving money to get back to school!!

Single Parent Advocate just partnered with Operation Back to School, and World Vision in the Dallas area to send 350 children of single parents back to school with back packs. This was no small task, so we found many other organizations committed to helping students succeed in education by giving supplies to qualified families.

Thanks to Life Message, Grace Outreach Church in Plano, Texas, First Baptist Downtown Dallas, Operation Back to School, World Vision, SheBang Gun Club and Tamara Shelley, Siemens, Solomon Associates, Courtney Ridings and Fred Mackie, Chick Fil A Park and Plano, participating Starbucks locations, Gifts for Moms, This Side Up Family Fun Center, and all the individuals that helped gather, pack, and deliver school supplies this year with Single Parent Advocate! Also, thanks to Telemundo for helping to tell our story!

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This article was sent in by one of our readers, Marilyn, as a good guide for those interested in dating again. As single parents, our first love is always our kids with our time and attention, but many consider this, so we are reposting it as it originally came from datehookup.com.
Thank you Marilyn!

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