Young single parents share their advice | Little Lullaby
Little Lullaby

Young single parents

Information on financial support for young single parents, plus advice on co-parenting, being a young dad and more.

Little Lullaby
Little Lullaby

Whether you’re considering your future as a young single parent or you’ve already been one for a while, it can be tough!

Here are some tips on everything from money worries to co-parenting and dating, plus where to go if you need extra support.

Benefits and financial help for single parents

Child benefit and child tax credit

You can claim child tax credit and Child Benefit until the September following your child’s 16th birthday or up to their 20th birthday if they stay in approved education or training, for example, A levels.

You can claim more Child Tax Credit if your child claims disability living allowance.

Gingerbread, a charity that works with single parent families, has lots of information about how to apply for Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.

Council tax reduction for single people

If a home is occupied by only one adult resident, council tax can be reduced by a single person’s discount of 25%. You might also be able to claim if you live with another adult but they are in full-time education or an apprenticeship. You can apply for it through your local council here.

If you work more than 16 hours a week

If you’re a single parent who works more than 16 hours in a week, you might be able to get help with your rent or council tax and working tax credit. How much you can claim depends on how much you earn, and if you work more than 30 hours a week, you can be paid more working tax credit. This factsheetfrom Gingerbread provides more information.

Child maintenance

If you want to arrange child maintenance, you can either do this directly with your child’s other parent or through the Child Maintenance System (CMS). You can learn more about child maintenance, including arranging it and charges here.

Co-parenting

Co-parenting isn’t always easy, but if it’s possible, it can have a really positive effect on your child’s wellbeing. By co-parenting well, you’re giving your child the opportunity to build a strong relationship with both parents.

Listen to how Serena makes co-parenting work with her ex in her vlog below, or read her story here:

Ruben became a dad at 22 and now co-parents. Hear his advice on communicating and how it’s benefitted him:

Support for young single dads

It’s important to remember that there is support out there for young single dads, whether that’s with child maintenance, money or separating from a partner. Young Dads Collective also have some great resources and information about child care.

Hear how Ismail makes being a single, working dad work for him and his family below:

Young single dad Kevin describes becoming the primary carer of his child as a ‘draining and emotional process’, but he got through it. Read his story and advice here.

Dating

Online dating as a young single parent

Being on the dating scene can be exciting! However, if you start dating online or on an app, it’s important to bear in mindfthe below advice.

  • Stay safe – It might go without saying, but when dating online, you need to make sure you don’t give away too much personal information on you or your child to potential dates. If you arrange to meet with someone, make sure it’s somewhere public and that you tell people where and when you’re going.
  • Be honest – While you’re proud to be a parent, you might think that a new partner might be put off by the fact that you’ve already got a child. However, if this person is right for you, they’ll be accepting of your past, your present, and your child.

Introducing new partners

Just because you’re a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t start dating! However, it’s a good idea not to introduce your new love interest to your child straight away, especially if your child is a little older.

Wait until the relationship is more stable and when you feel as though it is a relationship that could be long-term. Then, begin to gradually introduce your child to your new partner. Take it slowly and keep an eye on your child’s reaction, he or she may not be ready or take to your new partner straight away.

If you’re still in touch with your child’s other parent, tell them about your plans to introduce your new partner to the child before you do it. Be prepared that they might not be happy at first, but assure them that they will still be involved in their child’s life.

You may also want to think about contraception  if you are not planning on having another child right away. Young mum, Geneva, shared her thoughts on introducing a partner to your children.

If you need help

If you’re a single parent, doing everything yourself can get overwhelming. It’s essential to have some time to yourself if possible. Taking care of your own well being will benefit you and your child.

If you’re not on speaking terms with your child’s other parent, you could approach a family member or friend for extra support.

If your child is a bit older, you could enrol them on to extra-curricular activities such as swimming, dance or an after school club. This will allow you to get some time to yourself and also help your child to develop.

Organisations such as Gingerbread and Family Lives offer plenty of advice, information and support for single parents.

If you have any further questions about advice for young, single parents, please feel free to contact info@littlelullaby.org.uk.