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Using Resources At Hand

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When I hear of parents who are raising children alone, I wonder if these parents know of all the possible resources for them. Everyone may not have a parenting partner, but can avail themselves of help. It is all around us.

The first place to look for help is among family and friends. You may be able to build a network of help and support from these folks alone. Your own parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, may be willing to supply you with physical help when needed. Friends or neighbors with children may be open to the idea of a babysitting club, which costs each family nothing and simply is a trading of hours. One person needs to be a secretary to keep the 'accounts' straight. When parents have challenging teens in their home, often what to do with the younger kids is a problem. This alleviates that situation.

The next circle of possible support and advice comes from you church pastor or parish priest, school counselors, and mentoring organizations. Sometimes the Y programs, Salvation Army, and other United Way programs are useful to single parent families for specific needs. Social services agencies are a last resort if you need serious help and no one else is there for you.

Once you decide what needs you have, what problems need addressing, and what actions you are willing to take, you can approach these places. If you feel lost and confused about your options check your phone book and start making inquiries as to what each program does and how you qualify.

Almost every parenting site has some articles, recommended books, links to other useful sites, and information as to where to find services and programs in your area.

You may wish to avoid any program based on income or those that require you to become part of the system, if so investigate all other options. There is help out there for the asking in some cases. Put your pride second to the needs of your family, but choose independent solutions that are healthy and separate from the 'system' whenever possible. The system so many depend upon is so overworked and over full, that making an independent plan is preferred if it is an adequate plan.

Remember you are not alone; ask other struggling parents to trade being a support for each other. And don't forget prayer and the Bible as a very positive help that is always around.

Credits: Jo Ann Wentzel

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