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When it comes to single parenting issues, financial stress is universal. According to the latest estimates, raising a child costs about a quarter of a million dollars from birth through age 18—and that's not even counting college. That's just the cost of providing food, shelter, clothing, medical care, child care, education, and transportation, combined with 'luxuries' like hair cuts and electronics. And even if you're disciplined about saving money by cutting back on grocery... costs or putting off the latest upgrades, there's no getting around the fact that raising kids is expensive.
But here's the up-side. Being a single parent will force you to get better at managing your finances wisely—because you'll have no other choice. Instead of winging it or waiting for circumstances to improve, you'll have to be intentional about how you spend every dollar. And that's a strength you can pass down to your kids, as well.
Up next: How Your Current Legal Battles Are Making You Stronger
Hicken, Melanie. "Average cost of raising a child hits $245,000." CNN. Aug. 14, 2014. http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/18/pf/child-cost/.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
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Long, Drawn-Out Legal Battles
The courts rarely determine child custody as quickly as we'd like. For many single moms and dads, legal proceedings are so constant, they can't remember a time they weren't preparing for an upcoming court date or waiting to hear back from their lawyer.
The upside to this single parenting issue? You learn so much about child custody laws that you could, if you wanted to, file or custody pro se (in other words, represent yourself in court). And when a friend or colleague faced similar... issues? You're right there with sound guidance for navigating the system.
Up next: How Parenting Challenges Make You StrongerContinue to 3 of 4 below.
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As a single parent, it's hard to discipline your kids by yourself all the time. You may even feel like your kids have a knack for sensing weakness on your worst days and taking full advantage! Holding your own requires more than the 'right tools' and tricks. You have to believe in your core that you know your kids better than anyone else on the planet, and that you know what's best for them. That's where the strength to say what you mean, and mean what you say comes from. And... the more you speak from that place as a parent, the more your kids acknowledge your parental authority and, yes, even begin to treat you with more respect.
Up next: How Co-Parenting Conflicts Are Making You StrongerContinue to 4 of 4 below.
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Another all-too-common single parenting issue involves dealing with your ex. Particularly when you parted ways on poor terms, or your ex hasn't been around in awhile and has suddenly reappeared, reducing conflict with your ex can feel like a huge hurdle.
The resolution? One of the best places to start will probably feel counter-intuitive. It will feel the wrong thing to do; like something that puts you at a disadvantage. But for many co-parents, it's also a complete game-changer. And... that's going out of your way to rebuild trust. Try doing something your ex doesn't expect, like inviting him or her to an event at your child's school, or showing flexibility when a request to change your parenting time routine or visitation schedule comes up. Look for little ways to 'disrupt' the patterns that have you stuck in conflict, and you'll see that you're both able to put your differences aside (at least for a short time) and focus on the kids. Like all of the other single parenting issues we've discussed, that ability won't just make you a better co-parent. It will also make you a stronger person ... one's who's able to handle stress and resolve conflicts in other areas, too.