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A single parent needs a network

A single parent needs a network

When you are a single parent, a large and active network is the best support. Building such a network doesn't need to be hard. Start here.

When you are sharing parenting with a partner, you can talk with each other and discuss all the thoughts that small children inspire and on a practical level, share the parenting load and help each other out. But when you’re parenting alone, this sort of emotional and practical support isn’t as readily available.

Building a network
As a single parent it’s important to build a network of people to talk to and call on for help; a network that will help you cope with the day-to-day practicalities of parenting, such as illness or ferrying the kids to and from kindy, as well as the social side of parenting - having someone to share the joys and reflections of life with. It gives you energy, help, advice and many other things as well.

You can find this support through:

- Your community – ask whanau/family members, friends and neighbours you trust to help out.

- Parent groups – ask around or go to www.plunket.org.nz and search ‘parent groups’ to find one in your area.

- Playcentre runs a SPACE programme (Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education) for babies and caregivers. www.SPACE.org.nz has more info. Also try other early childhood education providers in your community.

- Birthright is an organisation that advocates on behalf of one-parent families in New Zealand. www.birthright.org.nz

- The Internet - you can meet other single parents via our Parents' chat room, among other things. Just "chatting" can help sometimes, so a network doesn't have to be physical. It can work just as well in cyberspace.

- Club activities - when you have some time off from the kids, take the opportunity to cultivate your own interests and meet other adults.

Any more advice? Please share here.

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