Being a single parent can lead to daily distractions and emotional stress. As a result, employees who play this role in their personal lives may be suffering negative effects to their health and productivity over the long term. Fortunately, employers can play a positive role in the lives of their single-parent employees by sharing these helpful resources and strategies for success.
The number of single-parent families in Canada is increasing all the time. Today, over one-fifth of Canadian children are being raised by a lone parent. Single-parent families are headed by women most of the time, but certainly not all of the time. About 20 percent of children from single-parent families live with a single dad. Read about the challenges and rewards of single parenting.
Not Always an Easy Path
Single parents often struggle with challenges that many couples aren’t forced to confront. Short- and long-term stress can come from multiple sources:
- You may have ongoing disagreements with your ex-partner.
- You may be dealing with complicated relationships—with your former in-laws, for example.
- Your children may be in distress from the loss of a parent or from your breakup, and as a result they may be experiencing difficulties at school or with friends.
- Quality time with your children may be limited because of your many responsibilities.
- Financial difficulties are especially common for female single parents. Over 20 percent of single moms in Canada live in poverty, compared to just seven percent of single dads.
Single-Parent Strategies for Success
Happily, it’s quite common for a single parent and their kids to have a very close, connected relationship. These strategies can help you succeed as you raise your kids on your own:
- Polish your parenting skills. Look for educational workshops in your community, borrow library books, or pick up tips from agency websites. These resources can provide advice on how to improve your conflict-resolution and open-communication skills, which will help to reduce your parenting stress.
- Work time management techniques into your day. Use checklists, make freezer meals, prepare lunches or outfits the night before, and get a wall calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities.
- If a co-parent is in the picture, try to be respectful and collaborative. Not only will this reduce conflict, but you’ll also teach your children important lessons about interacting with others despite differences.
- Enjoy time with your children. Put routines and rituals in place, like bedtime reading or weekly games night, that will ensure you regularly have special time together.
- Make time for yourself. Even just a few minutes of quiet reading or mindful meditation every day will make a difference to your overall ability to cope.
- Ask friends, family members, and even professionals for help. Don’t hesitate to seek support, as it will help you to be a stronger parent.
- One Parent Families Association Of Canada: Meet, support, and learn from other one-parent families.
- Government of Canada Benefits Finder: This online tool will check your eligibility for certain federal and provincial benefits.
- Nobody’s Perfect: This program offers free group sessions for single parents of young children so that they can learn skills and connect with others.
- The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs: Use this site to find family resource programming in your neighbourhood.
- Canadian Department of Justice, Family Law: This page includes a calculator for child support amounts, a family justice service locator, and information on creating a parenting plan.
Additional resources are available depending on your province or territory. Check out what can help you in your region:
- Government of Alberta: Alberta Child Benefit (ACB)
- Government of Alberta: Alberta Child Health Benefit
- Government of Alberta: Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC)
- Government of Alberta: Alberta Supports
- Government of Alberta: Childcare
- Province of British Columbia: Single Parent Employment Initiative
- Single Mothers’ Alliance BC
- Vancouver Status of Women: Single Mothers’ Resource Guide
- Parent Support Services Society of BC
- Province of Manitoba: Employment and Income Assistance for Single Parents
- Province of Manitoba: Parenting on your Own
- Government of New Brunswick: Social Development, Children & Youth
- New Brunswick Association of Family Resource Centres
- Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick: For the Sake of the Children
Newfoundland & Labrador
- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: For Single Parents
- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: The Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit (NLCB)
- Single Parent Association of Newfoundland
- Government of Ontario: Ministry of Children and Youth Services
- One Parent Families Association, Toronto Chapter: One Parent Support
- Ontario Native Women’s Association: Single Parent Initiative
- Government of Québec: Child Assistance Measure
- Government of Québec: Parenting after Separation Information Session and Family Mediation
Reach Out Now
When you’re a single parent, you’re looking after more than your kids; you’re taking care of household responsibilities, finances, and perhaps even extended family needs. But help is at the ready, so don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed before you tap into your community’s resources.
More insight into mental, physical and financial health here.