Is there emotional support for single parents?

Support groups help connect single parents with others in the same situation. See more parenting pictures.

If you've ever had to cook supper while helping your children with their homework, or field phone calls from work as you pack lunches and worry about making the next mortgage payment, you probably don't have to wonder why single parents in particular need emotional support. But there's some hard data to back this up as well.

Past research has shown that many working parents -- especially mothers who work full-time and single fathers -- feel that they don't have enough time for their children [source: Health and Human Services]. Additionally, studies have indicated that children in single-parent households are at higher risk for developing psychological problems and addictions [source: CBS News]. And Census Bureau data from recent years has shown that around half of children under age 6 living with single mothers were in poverty -- a rate five times higher than that of children in two-parent households [source: Census Bureau].

These pressures may lead single parents to push themselves harder to provide for their children, which can also mean taking less time for themselves and their own needs. Difficulties caused through interaction with former spouses can add to the emotional strain. When one parent withholds financial support or otherwise doesn't carry an equal load when it comes to parenting, the job of a single parent becomes even more difficult.

And even if a single parent has figures out a way to meet all of those challenges, there's still the question of making friends and finding new emotional connections. A potential return to the dating scene can be intimidating, and married friends may sometimes find it hard to relate to what single parents are going through.

However, there are some emotional support systems single parents can tap into. For those who are tech-savvy, there are several online groups that serve that purpose. But if you prefer something a little more tangible, there are also more traditional groups that organize in-person events. Many of these programs have chapters in local communities that meet regularly and help people in similar situations connect with each other. Some even help single parents gain access to education, legal assistance or financial counseling that can help with their overall emotional well-being.

Types of single-parent support can range from informal groups to structured programs. Read on to learn more about the support groups that are available to single parents.