A survey conducted by the United Nations has revealed that approximately 7.5% of households in India are led by single parents, with the majority being single mothers. This represents a significant increase from the 4% reported in 2015, highlighting the growing prevalence of one-parent homes in the country.
It’s not uncommon for us to have single parents within our own families, communities, or social circles, including siblings, friends, co-workers, or even our own parents. Therefore, it’s important to recognize that being a single parent, especially in a society where over 60% of single parents are employed, can be a challenging and exhausting experience.
Single parents, particularly single mothers, face various adversities, including financial strain, employment struggles, and concerns about future financial security. While financial difficulties may be the most apparent challenge, single parents also grapple with a multitude of other issues.
To support mental health in single parents, consider implementing some of the following suggestions put forth by Dr. Malini Saba, a psychologist, single parent, former Saba Group chairman, and founder of the Anannke Foundation:
1. Small Acts Of Kindness
Single parents often lack the opportunity to receive small treats or gifts, as their focus is primarily on caring for their children. Sending them occasional surprises, even as simple as a handwritten card expressing admiration for their achievements, can go a long way in making them feel valued and special.
These treats don’t need to be extravagant or expensive; the gesture itself can be incredibly meaningful.
2. Assistance With Responsibilities
Mental health in single parents is endangered as they bear a heavy load of responsibilities, from childcare to household chores, bills, and full-time work. Offering to help with specific tasks, such as mowing their lawn or looking after their sick child, can provide them with much-needed relief.
You can also save them time by assisting with grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, or even volunteering to drop their children off at school while you do these tasks for yourself.
3. Babysitting Support
Childcare expenses can be a significant burden for mental health in single parents. Offer to be their daytime or overnight babysitter, allowing them the chance to socialize with friends, go on a date, or handle errands without the constant responsibility of childcare. This act of kindness can give them a precious break and much-needed time for self-care.
4. Emotional Support
Sometimes, all a struggling single parent needs is someone willing to listen as they vent about their challenges. Providing emotional support, even if you don’t always agree with their perspective, can be incredibly valuable.
Be a supportive presence, and reach out regularly, even if they may not respond immediately. Let them know you’re there for them whenever they want to talk or share their thoughts.
5. Holiday And Meal Invitations
Holidays can be especially tough for single parents, particularly if they have no other family members around. Extend invitations to them and their children to celebrate holidays together if they won’t be with the other parent. Additionally, consider providing them with occasional meals, as preparing food can be a struggle for some single parents.
Offering a homemade meal or two can be a warm and generous gesture, providing both sustenance and comfort.Remember that these acts of kindness, whether big or small, can significantly impact the struggling lives and mental health in single parents. By offering your support in various ways, you can help alleviate some of the challenges they face and make a positive difference in their lives.