21 Compassionate Ways to Bless a Single Parent
National Single Parent Day affects over 14 million parents in the United States. My daughter is one of them.
Single parents are near and dear to my heart. My mom was a single parent to me and my brother for several years, and our daughter has been raising the sweetest munchkin on the planet by herself for even longer.
Nobody really wants it that way. It just is what it is.
No two single-parent situations are completely alike, but one thing is likely the same in each and every instance.
The biggest concern of single parents is not themselves. It’s their kids.
Angela Thomas, author of My Single Mom Life, said: “Of all my single-parent struggles, what I hated most was the suffering my children would face, as the four of them became ‘kids from a broken home.'” Every single mom and every single dad takes the weight of the choice and the gravity of the situation upon his or herself as they struggle to give their kids a well-balanced life.
Today is National Single Parent Day, and it’s their day to be encouraged.
Here are 21 ways to bless the single parents you know.
Listen. Single parents have no daily person to bounce ideas off of or voice their concerns to. Many times, their best friends are other single parents in the same boat, and they need a more objective opinion from time to time. Let them work through a decision by having a good conversation with someone who will attentively listen while they reason it out.
Send a note of encouragement. They’ll hang it on the fridge and be blessed by it for months.
Give money. Someone dear to my daughter recently sent her an unexpected financial gift. It made her cry, it blessed her heart and it provided for a need. Money is always a huge blessing to a single parent.
Help them study. Are you a good tutor? Offer to help a single dad study for a test. Lots of single parents are taking college classes or stretching themselves to the max to get that graduate degree that might bring an increase in their pay. This kind of help will never be forgotten.
Follow them on Instagram. Single parents love knowing people are watching their daily feed.
Send a child to camp. Is your child or grandchild best friends with the son of a single mom? Offer to pay for summer camp for both of them. This is huge. Single parents lose sleep over how to work summer camps into the budget.
Help them with legal situations. Even in the simplest and most workable relationships, things are not always cut and dried. If you’re an attorney and can volunteer a few pro bono hours to help a single parent get her legal ducks in a row, you will be a hero. Ask that mom if she has a will. Let a single dad know you’ll be happy to help with his legal questions without charging him for it. Every single parent breathes a little easier when they get this kind of help.
Have a single parent over for dinner. Who doesn’t love a night at someone else’s table? Don’t feel like you have to make a fuss. Just fix one of your favorites, then play a game afterwards. I would recommend asking two single parents over for dinner, but I’m strictly prohibited from playing matchmaker, and I bet you are, too.
Hug ’em. Think about how long some people have to go without a heartfelt hug. Keep the rules, of course.
Sit by them in church. Hey, every single parent who goes to church thinks twice about whether they have it in them to get there. Don’t just stop and say hi on the way to your regular spot. Plop down right beside them. About the time one of their kids needs a tissue or a cough drop, that mom or dad will sure be glad you’re there.
Give them a gift card to the local after-school places. If it’s the cool thing to get cherry-limes after school, make sure a single mom you know has a gift card she can use there.
Give a single dad a gas card. Just seems like a guy would be feeling pretty cared for when he pulls a gift card out to pay at the pump.
Help a single dad coach his kids’ sports teams. Pay the fees if you can. Single parents really want to participate in their kids’ activities, but the fees can be a big burden on their budgets.
Speaking of sports – do you like to watch kids play basketball or volleyball? Adopt a single parent family who needs a cheering section, tell them you want to attend all the games, get the schedule, and then show up in the stands. With money for snow cones. If you really want to knock the socks off a soccer mom, volunteer to bring snacks when it’s her turn to do it.
Post encouragement on his or her Facebook page. Just the fact that you take the time to post something sweet on the Facebook page of a single mom or dad is a perk to their otherwise ordinary day. Birthday greetings are always welcome, too.
Offer to buy a first day of school outfit. We can’t do everything I wish we could do for our granddaughter, but I look forward to this one like nobody’s business. It takes a big item off her mom’s to-do list, and it eliminates the stress of her figuring out how to pay for it. Since I get my granddaughter’s time for a few fun hours, it’s a total win-win experience.
Gift a gift certificate to a store where single parents can get their kids new tennis shoes like these best-selling Nikes. Look at the price tag on those things. Single parents just have to say no to stuff like this unless somebody helps.
Keep them driving. Do you enjoy car maintenance? What a blessing it is when someone kicks the tires, or offers to treat a single dad to a steak and car wash. that single dad’s car for a wash and a fill up at the gas tank. Don’t forget yearly registration fees, too. Man, it takes a lot just for them to keep driving themselves to work.
Give a monthly subscription. Work your way into the heart of a single parent with a magazine subscription, a monthly cosmetic delivery, or a meal making kit.
Ask good questions. Most single parents really, truly don’t want to ask for help. They are always a little embarrassed, and they’re constantly trying to keep a stiff upper lip to get through the day. Ask them what they need and how they’re really doing. Unless they bring it up, try to avoid asking them about dating. (Voice of experience talking here.) Single parents don’t like talking about it all the time because, unfortunately, single parent dating can be a lot more pressure than it is fun.
Pray for them. This is the single most effective thing you can do for single parents. Let them know you’re doing it, and the blessing is immediately doubled.
Nobody really wins when parents get divorced.
When my parents got a divorce, I helped my mom study shorthand so she could look for the first job she’d had in eight years. We had my grandparents to help us, and my mom later married a wonderful man to help raise us, but those first few years were one tough row to hoe.
Today, there are much stricter court-enforced guidelines for child support, and there are more resources for those in one-parent households. But it’s still a mighty tough job.
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure and intentional encouragement,