What single parents need to know during and after transition

Dr. Alla Skomorovksy is a defence scientist at the Department of National Defence who conducts research on military families and well-being. Her recent work highlights the strain some single parents feel while serving or during transition. Here is what you need to know.

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You are not alone

Similar to the civilian population, the number of single-parent families in the Canadian Armed Forces is rising. About 22 percent of female Regular Force members and 12 percent of male Regular Forces members are single parents.

You may be especially prone to stress

Transition presents specific challenges, as does single parenting. Experiencing both at the same time can put you at risk. If you often feel nervous, sad, or tired for no reason, you could be in psychological distress. All the parts of your well-being can also impact your stress levels.

There are positive and negative ways to react to stress

Some healthy ways to handle stress include humour, exercise, planning ahead and socializing. Resources are available if you are using coping strategies that might make stress worse long-term, like substance abuse, denial, self-blame or violence.

Kids experience stress too

Children may not understand what it means to transition out of the military. They may feel confused by a change in schedule. Your child may be stressed if they act out at school, experience stomach pains, start wetting the bed, sleep too much or not enough. The Veteran Family Program can offer coping resources for you and your child.

You might feel financial strain

Transitioning out of the military often means a change in household income. Women Veterans generally experience a steeper drop in pay after service. Single-parent households are already at financial risk. You may qualify for support programs.

Reach out to loved ones, explore resources available to you and work together with your children to make your transition experience as smooth as possible.

Date published: 2020-02-03

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