The number of single-parent households in the United States is increasing. Some parents are single by choice, while others may lose a spouse or partner through death or separation. A single parent often experiences increased stress due to an increased amount of parenting responsibility. When a parent suddenly becomes single, children may be traumatized and have difficulty coping with the loss of the other parent, which can often lead to behavioral difficulties. When divorced parents share custody of children, the children may find that rules and routines differ from one house to the next, and this inconsistency may be difficult for them to adapt to. Single parents might find it difficult to enforce rules and discipline children without support, and they may also experience the added stress of financial difficulties.
Single parents, especially those with small children in the home, may find it challenging to meet potential romantic partners and go out on dates. This may lead to isolation and loneliness, and conditions such as depression and anxiety may develop, causing further stress in a person's life. Staying connected with relatives and friends, creating a support system, and making time for self-care as well as child care are all ways that single parents may be able to cope with challenges and reduce stress in their lives. When specific challenges arise, a counselor may be able to help an individual address those concerns.