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Advice and Support Print E-mail

Overcoming Isolation
Support Groups

Overcoming Isolation

Being a single parent can be an isolating experience. You may miss having someone to share special moments with such as your child's first smile or a particular achievement at school, or simply that evenings and weekends are lonely when you would otherwise have stayed in or gone out with your partner.

Here are some tips to make the most of the positive aspects of being a single parent and overcome any feelings of isolation:

  • Please yourself. Do whatever you want to do with your life that you may not have considered whilst you were with a partner. See our section on Embracing Single Life for ideas
  • Balance your needs with that of your children. Don't feel guilty for taking time out for yourself as it will refresh you and ultimately put you in a better position to care for your children
  • Contact friends. Include any you may have lost touch with since your marriage. Let them know that you would love to go out sometime and that you are not confined to your parental duties every hour of every day. If babysitting is an issue babysitting
  • Link up with other single parents. Join a support group or find your local parent and toddler group
  • Interact in the "adult" world. Many parents crave adult company when their children are young and they are consumed with their care. Get out to meet new people by retraining and returning to work even if only on a part time or casual basis to begin with
  • Study from home. A part time home study course can be a great way to fill up empty evenings and give you something to work towards for yourself and a possible future career. Click here for information on home study
  • Use an internet chat room. Many people confined to their home in the evenings find that communicating this way allows them to overcome loneliness and build up virtual friendships. Most internet service providers will have their own chat rooms with a clear set of instructions on how to use them and with practice you will soon pick up any conventions or jargon. Click here for chatroom safety tips and become a member of itsfinished.com to post in our forums

Support Groups

Joining a support group can have many advantages such as support when you are feeling low, help when you are ill, shared babysitting and social events for you and your children. If you are looking for a local support group try 

  • Your local library 
  • Your local faith group, many churches for example run parent and toddler groups 
  • The Citizen's Advice Bureau 
  • Social Services 
  • Your health visitor 
  • Your GP or community health centre

There are also national organisations who co-ordinate local support groups for single parents. Your health visitor or Citizen's Advice Bureau should be able to put you in touch with some of the local branches or you could contact them through one of the following websites:

Aquila Care Trust
The Aquila Care Trust offers support through local self-help groups to people who are divorced or separated and to single parents

Divorce Recovery Workshops
A nationwide self-help group run by volunteers who have experienced a relationship break-up themselves

Gingerbread
A support organisation for lone parents and their families with local groups throughout the UK, offers advice and information to single parents and organises social events for single parent families

Home-Start
Voluntary organisation working through local networks to offer practical support, friendship and assistance to parents who are experiencing difficulties and have at least one child under five years of age

National Council for the Divorced and Separated
Run by volunteers, organises social events and support for divorced and separated people throughout the UK

National Council for One Parent Families
Runs an information service for lone parents and campaigns and lobbies on single parent issues

One Parent Families Scotland
One Parent Family support in Scotland

If there is not a support group in your local area why not set one up? Talk to your health visitor, social services or one of the organisations listed above. They should be more than happy to advise you and may be able to assist with funding if there is no such group in your area.

For support groups specific to fathers, children with disabilities or general parenting issues see our Links Page.

 
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