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Life advice for single parents (and their supporters)

Is it possible to be happy as a single parent? Absolutely! That’s according to single mum and co-author of ‘How To Be A Happy Single Parent Rebecca Cox. Here, she shares some of her top advice for single parents and their supporters. 


1.Know The Facts

At any given time in the UK, around 20-25% of families are headed by a single parent. That is 2.9million lone parent families in the UK alone. Single parent families are as diverse as any other family, including those that are single following a divorce or separation, solo parents by choice, adopters, widows and widowers. 


2. Find Friends

The Frolo app connects single parents with others both in their area and online, so that they can chat about common issues and situations and attend meetups online and in person (with and without the kids!). Supporting the single parents in your life by including them in social events, kids parties and parent socials can prevent them from feeling like their family set-up is any different to anyone else’s. 


3. Fight Stigma

We’re all raised with the same images and messaging of what a family ‘should’ look like. Single parent representation has traditionally been minimal and often negative in the media, which can lead to internalised stigma and shame attached to labels of ‘single mum’ and ‘single dad’. Comments to co-parents like ‘you’re so lucky you get time off’ can be hurtful when many struggle to be away from their children. Telling people you’re ‘sorry’ that they’re a single parent can compound feelings of shame or othering. 


4. Practical Challenges 

New single parents will face hurdles like legal complications, financial issues, childcare, living arrangements and potential co-parenting conflicts. In the ‘How To Be A Happy Single Parent’ book, these challenges are addressed chapter by chapter. If you’re a friend of a single parent consider gifting them the book or giving them space to talk through these challenges, offering help and support where you can. 


5. Prepare For Tough Days

Certain times of the year can be harder for single parents. These include Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc, where images of the traditional family set-up are celebrated. Promoting and celebrating diversity on these days and including single parent families in conversations and messaging can make families of all different set-ups feel valid and accepted. 


Finally, remember that families come in all shapes and sizes and there is no right or wrong way to set up a home for your children. If your home is filled with love, your family set-up is perfect, just as it is. 


Rebecca Cox is single mother to son Jack and an author and editor. Her writing has been published by Elle, Glamour, Country & Town House,, and more. Her pieces on single motherhood have featured in publications including The Evening Standard, Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar. She is the co-author of ‘How To Be A Happy Single Parent’.