The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!


Being alone and being lonely are two different things.

One can feel lonely in a room full of people. Loneliness is a

negative response to events in one’s life. It is an emotional

state, and it usually implies being unhappy, passive and

impotent. Being alone, on the other hand, does not have these

negative implications because it is a statement of fact. There

are many single parent families today. How they respond to being

alone in raising their children not only affects them but also

affects their children.


If you are a single parent you need to be cautious about not

making your children feel responsible and guilty for your feeling

of loneliness. You also need to prepare yourself for your

children’s eventual need and desire to leave home for college or

to start their own lives. One way to do this is to start by

taking charge of your own life and to begin to develop interests

and hobbies of your own while your children are still at home.


The most negative aspect of the sense of loneliness is

the feeling of loss of control over one’s life. People may

choose to be alone, but most try very hard not to feel lonely.

Everybody has experienced loneliness. It does not have to be

described. Most people, however, have learned how to live their

lives so that these feelings of loneliness are fleeting and not a

permanent part of their existence. Otherwise life would be too

sad. Everyone has a right to some joy in life.

It is important to know that one has a choice whether or not

to feel lonely. Nobody can make you be lonely if you choose not

to be. By the same token, it is wrong to make it someone else’s

problem if you choose to feel lonely. You do have it within your

power to change yourself.


One of the best way to start making the change is to

start taking charge of your life. This makes you less passive

and less the victim. It energizes you. Start by deciding that

nobody in the business world is going to take advantage of you.

Before you take your car into the auto mechanic, read a book like

“Mr. Bad-Wrench” which tells you how to deal with the mechanic.

Learn how to ask the right questions and demand to be taken

seriously. The next time you go to the doctor, learn to ask the

questions that make you a part of the decision process. Try

reading a book like “Second Opinion” so that you know what

questions to ask. It even gets to be fun after awhile learning

how to repair something around the house yourself after someone

tells you you need to buy a new one.


It helps to get involved in activities where there are

other people. Avoid people who are always talking doom and

gloom. Rather, try to find people or just one person who enjoys

your company and does not use you only for their own consolation.


Another idea is to practice being alone. You may be more

fearful than you need to be about this. Try it and you might

find you have more resources at your disposal than you thought.

For example, try planning a trip by yourself. You might begin by   �

going to Washington, Boston or New York or Atlantic City for a



Seek out and use your resources. If you continue to

feel lonely in spite of your efforts to change, you may have a

physical problem. Be sure to check this out. Remember that

loneliness comes to everyone at some time in their lives. When

it comes, it does not mean that you have something intrinsically

wrong with you. Look upon it as a problem to be solved. Above

all, love and encourage yourself. You have a right to be here

and to experience love and joy. Seek it out and it will be there for you.


Posted in Behavior, From Experience, Getting the Most For Your Child, Parenting | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Loneliness

  1. Jeff Meyer says:

    Hi Mrs. Devlin! I was just helping my daughter, Gabby with her homework and it made me think of you. I googled your name and saw your blog. Great stuff! I hope you and Mr. Devlin are well.

  2. ruptus gog says:

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this site!

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