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5 Ways to Overcome Common Single Parent Problems

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As a single mom for the past six years, I’m all too familiar with single parent problems. I’d already launched my oldest from home and into his first year of college when I became a widow and single mom. Just when I should have been feeling at the top of my game, I felt more like a student all over again as I learned how to parent alone.

I’ve been schooled over the years, for sure. I understand the weariness from always being on the clock and always having to be the bad guy. I understand the weight of making every decision and the exhaustion from juggling house, kids, and finances. These years have been filled with adapting and adjusting and although I still have a lot of learning to do, I feel like I’ve learned a few things that could help you out whether you’re just starting out on your journey as a single mom or you just can’t seem to find your footing. Here are 5 common single parent problems and how to overcome them.

Problem 1: Chaos

Admittedly, with no other adult in the house for accountability, it’s easy to let routines slip. Sheer fatigue from handling everything alone or the change that comes from moving children between two homes can make keeping a routine hard.

Solution: Establish a routine.

Homes with routines provide stability and boundaries that children and teens need. Try creating routines for before and after school, dinner, and bedtime to cut down the potential for chaos.

Problem 2: Enforcing a Hard “No”

Sometimes, I just don’t want to be the bad guy again. Especially when I’m already worn down from shouldering all decisions and all parenting.

Solution: Develop a spine.

As a single parent, I’ve had to dig deep to make sure my “no” means no and my “yes” means yes. Sticking to the rules you’ve made and decisions you’ve determined helps your child know the boundaries and provides a stable home.

Problem 3: Grieving Children

Children in a single-parent home are almost always dealing with some level of grief, because of separation, divorce, or death.

Solution: Listen and love well.

Let your children talk about their emotions. Gently initiate conversations that will help your children communicate. You can’t fix your children’s grief, but you can listen, love, and provide a safe place for them to talk or just sit in the hurt for a while.[Tweet This] Books and movies can help you broach questions or issues children may be dealing with. Make sure you allow children to express new stages of grief as they grow.

Problem 4: Missing a Role Model

When I became a single mom, I had teen boys, a teen daughter, and a four- and six-year-old. No matter how well I parent, I can never be their dad.

Solution: Search out mentors.

It’s been so important to have men of integrity who can speak to my children as they are becoming young men and women. Look for opportunities for your children to have safe mentors like coaches, youth pastors, relatives, and friends.

Problem 5: Overwhelming To-Do List

This may seem incongruent, but the busier we feel, the more important it is to intentionally carve out time for fun. With so much to do, it’s tempting to just put your head down and get it done.

Solution: Make time for fun.

Especially if you’re the only parent, make room for enjoying your kids. It can be as simple as leaving jokes in your child’s lunchbox or pressing pause for a surprise afternoon out. Laughter really is the best medicine.

What’s your hardest struggle as a single parent?


What is something fun we’ve done that shows you how much I love you?

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