Do you occasionally think about joining a single parent support group, but wonder whether it's worth the effort? Before you put it off any longer, consider how finding a support group in your area will benefit you and your kids.
Benefits to You:
Building a Support System - Knowing that you’re not alone on this journey is vitally important. We all need people who will cheer us on and steer us in the right direction when we feel like we're going off track. Participating in an established single parent support group will enable you build a support system and develop relationships with other single parents who've walked the path you're on right now and who can give you valuable advice and a shoulder to lean on when you need it.
Gaining New Child Care Options - Imagine being able to swap child care duties, play dates, and even babysitter information with individuals who know you and know your kids. This is another tangible benefit of participating in a single parent support group. As you build connections within the group, pay particular attention to those parents who share your parenting beliefs, and who you feel you can trust, and consider getting together outside of the group for a play date. As you develop more trust and experience with one another, consider providing backup child care for one another as needed.
Holiday Celebrations - Do you live far away from your extended family members? Find another single parent in your support group who's in the same position and plan to spend the holidays together. In addition, consider opening the event to others in your group who don't have family nearby. If each of you makes just a portion of the holiday meal, it won't be overwhelming to pull together, and you'll have a much better time than if you were just treating the holiday like "any other day" of the week.
Vacation Buddies - Whether you’re planning a staycation or an actual getaway, sharing the costs with another family can save you money and make the entire trip more fun for all of you. Especially if you have young children, sharing the burden of making meals, gathering beach day supplies, and keeping track of little ones in a public setting can allow you to actually relax more than you would on a vacation where you’re the sole adult.
Benefits to Your Children:
New Friends - It's also important for your kids to know that they're not "the only one" in your community whose parents are divorced, widowed, or never married. Participating in a single parent support group together will allow them to make new friends and envision what their lives will look like a few years down the road when they're that much further along in the healing process.
Additional Mentors - It's beneficial for our children to have other adults in their lives who will encourage them, listen to them, and be there for them. Developing lasting relationships with other single parent families in your support group will make an entire new set of adults available as mentors to your children. Find one or two that you trust and make an effort to get your families together for a dinner occasionally so that you can provide this kind of "out of the box" support for one another's children.
Increased Self-Esteem - Finally, participating in a single parent support group can also be a huge self-esteem booster for your kids. The friendships they make and the acceptance they feel will spill over into other areas of their lives and give them a stronger sense of self-confidence and empowerment.