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How to Be a Happy Parent On Your Own When You Have Separated or Divorced

Updated on April 10, 2018
Polly C profile image

I became a single parent to my two children almost four years ago. Now, I write about lone parenting and relationship breakdown.

Sometimes, life simply doesn't turn out quite how we envisaged. That might mean the end of a long-term relationship with children involved, leaving you to make your way in the world as a single parent for the first time. The prospect can seem very daunting, and there is no doubt that relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful life events we can face. It can lead to a sense of insecurity and fear of the future. After all, you now have to manage on your own, instead of having someone else with which to share it all.

Indeed, there can be many practical issues associated with separating from a long-term partner, and it is often these issues that cause the most stress and anxiety. And yet, changing our perspective can often make all the difference in our sense of well-being. So often, life is what we make it; the result of how we choose to deal with the hand that has been dealt to us. So, if you are recently separated or divorced, here are a few tips on how to be a happy parent on your own:

Don't Be Bitter

I repeat - don't be bitter. It is a waste of life, and a waste of energy.

Bitterness is ugly and serves no purpose. It only hurts you - it's like turning the bullet on yourself. Whatever has gone on before, let it go. Think of life like a blank canvas - you can design it all yourself; you have freedom and creativity. It's a time to start afresh using whatever colours you choose.

Your old life, on the other hand, is like that old painting in the attic. It's full of cobwebs and dust. Brush it off. Get rid of it. You don't need it anymore. You've got that brand new canvas now. ​

​Remember, too, that bitterness can spill over into other areas of your life. We've all met someone who seems to carry a chip on their shoulder, years after the event that caused it. Bitter people are not fun to be around. They don't exude positive light and energy. They don't make other people feel good.

Don't let that person be you.


That's right - smile.

Smile the widest, biggest smile you can and embrace the world and all it has to offer. You have been given the go ahead to do whatever you want, without compromise. If the thought of that alarms or scares you, it's because you haven't made a plan. So make one. Throw off your old security blanket and go forwards - it was only holding you back. Sometimes we don't even realise how attached we are to our security blanket until it is pulled away. But life is beautiful. Life is amazing. Life is great. So raise your head, paint on that smile, and go for it.

As an added bonus, even forcing a smile has physical benefits and makes us feel good - try it and see. What's more, it makes those around us feel good as well, attracting people to us and creating an all-round 'feel good' vibe. ​ Smiling is catching, and it makes the world a better place.

Don't Say 'Can't'

Don't say 'can't' - say 'can'. 'Can't' is a word for people who have decided not to try. It's like an excuse for not bothering when the going gets tough - then tougher - and you have to up your game.

Tell yourself you CAN manage life on your own. You CAN raise your children, have fun and look after their needs just as well as anyone else, lone parent or not. You CAN chase your dreams, change your life for the better, and be happy now and in the future.

You can be who you want to be. Even if it doesn't feel that way at first, the world is full of opportunity. Work out what you want and go for it. Saying 'can't' is like submitting to a lesser version of yourself. Don't give up, and remember - some of the most successful people in the world have met with the most failure. Sometimes all it takes is a large helping of belief and the will to go on.

You CAN, you ARE, you WILL.

There is always a way.

Love Life

Love Life.

Life is precious. Life is exciting. Life is beautiful.

It's a cliche, of course, but life is short. Wasting huge chunks of it by wallowing in the past, or worrying about the future, is not a recipe for happiness.

The truth is, if you don't get your act together and do the things that make you happy, one day you might wake up and wonder what happened, and where all the time went. I'll tell you now where all the time went - it whizzed past you while you were fretting about stuff that might or might not happen; feeling that life has lost worth because of your situation, or allowing life to stagnate because sometimes that's just easier than making the effort.

There is always a choice, even when you can't see it.

​Remember, life is full of beauty, no matter who you are, what age you are, and whether you are married or single, living in a mansion or living in a hostel. Sometimes, you just have to open your eyes and see it for yourself. Every single day can bring wonderful moments; the type of moment that can melt our hearts or fill us with awe and wonder. People who say they hate their lives are those who will one day look back with regret.

Just because you have separated doesn't mean that life is over, no matter how it might feel at first. Life is a wondrous, beautiful adventure with potential lurking behind every corner. Go on - say it. Say it over and over again until you believe it.

Whatever you do, just make sure you don't sit indoors with your eyes closed and the door locked. That never did anyone any good. Instead, show your children that the world they live in is a positive and rewarding place. It's the best gift you could give them.


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