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How can I adjust to single parenthood?

After a divorce, it can be tough struggling to adjust to single parenthood. Learning to become the sole decision-maker for daily responsibilities can be stressful. Below are some ways to lighten the load for single parents.

-- Talk it out. Allow kids to express their feelings and keep the lines of communication open both ways.

-- Get a grip on your budget. Track what funds come into and go out of your household. Learn when your bills are scheduled and stay on top of them. Consider a second job or taking courses to further your education.

-- Develop a support system. Family, friends, other single moms can all pitch in to help when needed. If you are without many resources, ask your children's pediatrician for some recommendations.

-- Stick to routine. Kids crave stability, so schedule bedtimes, meals and chores to give them a sense of structure and security.

-- Be consistent with discipline. Work with the other parent to keep disciplinary practices roughly the same. One parent should not be the "heavy hitter" and the other the pushover. Consider taking a parenting class to reinforce your skills.

-- Make family time. No matter how busy you are make sure that you set aside time to spend with the kids. You can read together, do crafts, play or just hang out. The important thing is that you are together.

-- Have some "me time." It's not selfish to spend an evening or day away from the kids doing adult things. Recharge your batteries and relax now and then.

-- Let kids be kids. They grow up so fast! Don't burden them now with adult worries.

-- Find quality child care. While more expensive doesn't always equal better, it stands to reason that you will get what you pay for. Find a well-recommended babysitter, nanny or day care center where your child will be safe and well cared for.

-- Stay upbeat (at least in front of the kids). You are going to have days where sadness and depression loom, but try not to let your mood affect the kids.

If you get overwhelmed and need additional assistance, ask your physician or family law attorney for a recommendation for a good counselor to help get you back on track.

Source: healthychildren.org, "Stresses of Single Parenting," accessed June 12, 2015

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