How Do I Choose the Best Single Parent Support Group?

Tiffany Manley

A single parent support group can be a useful tool to provide support for the significant challenges faced by single parents. To choose the group that is right for you, consider what the group’s focus is, where and when they meet, and if childcare is provided. Knowing what activities are planned for your children and if there are any financial obligations to the group are important as well.

Single parents may find encouragement and help through single parent support groups.
Single parents may find encouragement and help through single parent support groups.

The focus of each single parent support group is slightly different from the others. Before choosing, you should determine what specifically you would like support with. If you are suffering emotionally, you might be seeking emotional support. When legal or financial troubles require attention, you might choose a single parent support group that focuses on connecting you with the resources within the community that can help you.

Children are often affected by single parenthood as much as the parent.
Children are often affected by single parenthood as much as the parent.

Where and when the group meets can also be important. If it meets in a location or at a time not convenient for you, joining will not be of much benefit. Find out if the group has smaller meetings throughout the community at other times when you might be able to join. Online support groups might be an option for you if you are unable to find a local group that works with your schedule.

Support group members can share different success stories about effective parenting skills.
Support group members can share different success stories about effective parenting skills.

Many single parents lack readily available childcare, which means it might be necessary to bring children to the single parent support group meetings. Inquire about the group’s policy on having children at the meetings and if they provide childcare. If childcare is provided, find out if it is a free service for group members and if not, what the fee is to cover the service.

Some single parents have no access to high-quality child care or afterschool activities for their child.
Some single parents have no access to high-quality child care or afterschool activities for their child.

Depending up the focus and structure of a single parent support group, you might be expected to pay dues or commit financially in other ways. Ensure these amounts are within your budget and you can truly see the benefit of paying them. Joining a group that is transparent with its financial records may be a good idea.

Since children are often affected by single parenthood as much as the parent, you might find out if any support groups in your area also plan activities for children. Integrating children in the single parent support group from time to time might give an opportunity to meet other families in situations just like theirs. Activities allowing them to learn how to cope with single parent living situations, how to help parents, or just to have some fun are all great aspects of some groups.

Some single parent support groups plan activities for children as well as parents.
Some single parent support groups plan activities for children as well as parents.

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