The benefits and challenges of young single parenthood

The young single parents you support will face individual challenges that they may need you to help them to navigate. But remember that it’s not all challenges. It can be easy to forget that they feel like any other parent – with all the benefits that come with being a mum or dad. This section explores some of the benefits and challenges that a young single parent may face.

Seeing things differently

In every training session Gingerbread runs with practitioners, they always find more challenges of single parenthood than benefits – often struggling to come up with any benefits at all. Young single parents often find the opposite – reeling off the benefits and only recognising the challenges when prompted.

Young single parents often don’t see themselves as any different to any other parent – single or not –, so don’t want to be treated differently. Remember to use positive language and recognise their positive achievements. They are with you for some support in a particular area, but bear in mind they may well be happy with lots of other aspects of their lives.

Benefits of single parenthood

What single parents tell us What practitioners tell us

Single parents love having ‘mummy moments’, waking up to their child’s smiles and being the main person the child relies on. All decisions and responsibilities are down to them – from educational achievements to the values their child holds – so they can watch their child grow up with pride. They love playtime, story time and making memories. And they learn new things along the way, in an argument-free environment.

Practitioners think that single parents can have more time with their child and parent how they want, with their own routine and less exposure to conflict. They think there might be more support from services like charities or the job centre too.

Challenges of single parenthood

What single parents tell us What practitioners tell us

Single parents often feel a pressure to look after their image and home – proving that they are a good parent despite the stereotype to avoid being judged or face interference from family. With total responsibility for everything – from turning up on time to household chores or making sure your child eats well – it can be tough to do it all yourself. They also need to try to maintain a good relationship with their ex.

Practitioners listed lots of financial pressures from birthdays and holidays to managing the expectations of their child. They think there’s not much opportunity to socialise – causing isolation, low confidence and problems with mental and physical wellbeing. Decision-making and managing a household alone was thought to be tough; as well as facing difficulties accessing employment, training and childcare, overcoming their personal challenges as well as any stereotypes that stand in their way. With the children front-of-mind, they thought young single parents would find it hard to plan for their own future.

See more of the toolkit

  1. About the toolkit
  2. What’s it like to be a young single parent?
  3. The benefits and challenges of single parenthood
  4. A practitioner’s role in supporting young single parents
  5. Dos and don’ts when supporting young single parents

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