Being a single parent comes with its own set of challenges. There can be many circumstances leading to thisthe death of a spouse, divorce, or choosing to be one without marriage. As per a 2019-2020 report by UN Women, there is an increasing trend of single mothers. An approximate 4.5 per cent (approx. 13 million) of all Indian households are run by single mothers. There is not enough data on single fathers but there are many of them as well. There is a lot that single parents have to deal with, be it with respect to social or financial challenges. It is not easy, even with respect to the time and energy it takes, to be taking care of your ward, all by yourself.Common Challenges Faced by Single ParentsHere are some of the common challenges faced by single parents, irrespective of what gender they belong to:No Shared Responsibility: There is no other partner to share the responsibility with. A single mom or a single dad has the sole responsibility of taking 360 degrees care of everything related to the child and the house.Emotional, Physical and Financial Stress: The reason for separation penetrates into all aspects of life, be it emotionally, physical or financial. It is a roller coaster ride to balance everything at all times.Being the sole role model: The child depends on just one parent figure as their sole role model. Therefore, one has to be very careful about how he or she behaves around the child.Parenting and Nurturing: It is not easy to be a perfect parent even otherwise, but as a single parent one has to fight many battles, especially with time constraints, other limitations and the many responsibilities.Ways to Build Relationship with your childAs a single dad or single mom, it is very critical to build a healthy and positive relationship with your child. Here are a few ways you can ensure so:Stick to a Routine: Having a routine in place enables the child to understand expectations such as bedtime, mealtime, playtime, etc.Show Love: Never leave a chance to show your unconditional love and support to the child. Set aside the time to bond by reading together, simply talking to the child or sitting with him or her. Laugh, smile and hug whenever you can.Show Interest: It is very important to connect with your child on a daily basis. Pay attention to his or her favourite things and talk about them. Ask them to show you how to play their favourite game, etc.No Guilt Check: Remember, not to blame yourself for your position or spoil your child in order to make up for raising them alone. Keep checking in that you dont bring the guilt factor in between as it is detrimental towards your own health as well as the childs upbringing.One-on-One Time: If you have two children or more, ensure that you take out some time independently with each one on a regular basis. It could be a time when the younger one is sleeping and you are reading with the elder one.Lean On: Speak to your loved one, be it friends or family. Work out things where required, be it a carpool or joining a single parent community. Engage in practices that help you feel spiritually enlightened or uplift you.Stay Positive: Be honest with your child about your feelings but also let him or her know that things will get better. Expect age-appropriate behavior from your child rather than impose your expectations of him or her. Making humour a part of your everyday conversation can really help both of you navigate this journey better.Strategies to Bring up your kidBelow mentioned are a few such strategies that can help in bringing up your kid in a more informed manner.Personal Care: Everything revolves around good physical and mental health. Once you fill your own cup of self-care, it is only then how you can fill your childs cup of care too. Spend time in your company or with your friends but set aside a downtime for yourself.Set Boundaries: Explain expectations to your child such as a scheduled screen time, speaking respectfully, and keeping the surroundings clean. Re-evaluate certain limits to keep your childs healthy upbringing in place.Quality Child Care: Whether you have an elder child or children, do not rely on them solely as caregivers. Try to look for a qualified caregiver who knows his or her job well and can provide the necessary environment to your child.Acknowledge Feelings: Tell your child to express himself or herself clearly and lend a patient ear to them and draw a boundary where the behaviour is inappropriate. For example, saying, I know you are angry, lets sit together, take a few deep breaths and talk about it. However, shouting at me is not alright.Select your battles: Discipline issues can leave you exhausted when it comes to parenting. You might see your preschooler scribble on their sisters face with a pen. However, that fades away. Sometimes, you can choose to let a few things go, so you can save up energy for the bigger battles which include the safety of your children, their well-being, etc.Talking to the child about Separation or DivorceIf you are going through a separation or divorce, it is important to speak to your child about the challenges you are facing as a single-parent family. It is equally crucial to listen to your child and give answers to his or her questions. At the same time, try to not to get into unnecessary details or mention speaking ill about the other parent especially if you are considering co-parenting. Let your child know how much you love them and that they are not the cause of divorce. Besides, you can also speak to a counsellor who can talk through your fears or concerns. Children who sail best through matters of divorce are the ones where parents have clear communication in terms of co-parenting.Single Parenting and DatingIf you are dating as a single mom or a single dad, you have to consider your childs response towards it. Ensure that your partner shares a bond of respect with you and your child. The primary factor is that you should have a solid foundation with your partner before taking it forward. Once you are ready to make introduce them, do not expect them to become great friends overnight. Share some positive traits about your partner to your child. Give their relationship some time to build and make it very clear that this partner in no way is a substitute to his or her other parent.Male and Female Role ModelsIf the other parent belongs to the opposite gender and isnt proving to be a good role model for your child, it is important for you to portray the other gender carefully. You can ensure a person of this gender is warm and nice to the child. This will help establish that not all people of that gender are the same.Having a Support SystemAs a single parent, having a reliable and trustworthy support system matters so much. In case of emergency when you are away or need support, ensure you have someone you can quickly contact in your vicinity. Besides, you need to have your own set of people such as friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours or a community you can always reach out to, share your concerns with and receive genuine advice. Sometimes, all you need is to just pick up the phone and speak your heart aloud or call up that friend who can meet you just over a cup of coffee, catch up on life, have some fun conversations with. You just need to feel secure sharing your lifes journey with these people.Single parenting is very common these days and it require a lot of courage to be a single parent. Whether you are a single father or a single mom who has chosen to part ways from a toxic relationship, or has chosen parenthood by choice or has faced a loss, remember that you are not alone and there is a huge community of single parents across the world going through the exact set of challenges and concerns that you go through. Remember, that if you are happy, you can give your child a very happy life too and that you set your own rules of how you want to lead your life from here on. All the best to you, move forward and conquer the world.FAQ1. What should you do when you are not able to balance as a single parent?It is okay to feel so as a single parent and natural to getting it right all the time. On days when you end up being a little hard with your child, stop yourself and apologize to them. Be mindful of reconnecting with them and assure them that you are there for him or her. At the same time, take out time to connect with yourself, meditate, so that you can be mindful about responding rather than reacting.2. Can children raised in single parent-family be happy?Absolutely so, children raised by a single parent can live as happily as those with two parents. It is not about a single parent or both the parents, it is about parenting that is flexible, warm, responsive and nurturing. Children who receive such care grow up to become happy individuals.