Children and Divorce: Considering one when considering the other

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Kids Keep You From Divorce | Nancy Mon, 17 Feb 2014 18:31:29 GMT

Staying together for the kids may seem like a good idea … but real talk? It really isn’t. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t let your kids get in the way of a divorce.

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Long Distance, Divorce and Children – Have a Parenting Plan Across the Miles

It’s not uncommon for one parent to move after divorce, especially with the tighter job market of today. Other reasons can be emotional, especially after a particularly difficult breakup; one parent may feel the need to make a clean start away from all that was familiar. If you find yourself in a situation such as this, you can appreciate that it doesn’t mean you want to be so far away from your children. Sometimes difficult choices are made in divorced families, and adjustments have to be made be all. The support of family and friends can prove invaluable, and in some instances, counseling can help with the transition.

The most important thing your child, (or children), should understand, is that the move was not to be further away from them. Children after divorce can be vulnerable emotionally, especially during the transition time while new roles and routines are getting established, so reassuring them you wish you could be closer to them is important. Don’t assume they know this; too many children end up wondering if they did something wrong after a divorce occurs.

Naturally, you will want to tell your children where you are moving to. You should also explain why you are moving there. Although they may have your new # in their cell phones, in this day and time, make sure they have complete contact information for you (except of course, in extreme circumstances with your ex-spouse, in which case you will have to use your own judgement who gets what information). Don’t forget to address your schedule, your children’s schedules, and take into consideration any time zone differences. The important thing is to pave the road for communication. When visits are not as frequent, phone calls become a lifeline in the relationship. The more ways you can find to be there for them, even if you can’t literally be there, the less likely they will feel like you are blowing them off (at best), or (at worst), abandoning them. If you are with someone new, and moving away, you should expect to have to work a little harder to show your child he or she is still as important to you as ever. But, it’s worth the extra effort to stay relevant in their lives. Keep in mind that at least at first, they may be more sensitive than you think they should be, if they try to call, and you are too busy to talk, or don’t call them back promptly, in the case of truly not being able to talk at a given moment.

Being available is key in long distance parenting, just as it was when you were closer. Have you reassured your children they can call you at any time if it’s an emergency, and almost any time if they just want to talk? Do you need to get them a cell phone or prepaid phone card? If you are on a really tight budget, you might look into prepaid cell phone plans, you would just have to ration the minutes. Little moments can pass so quickly. You may have had a long, hard day at work, but getting an A on an important assignment, or getting picked for a team for the first time may be an achievement they are proud to share with you, so it’s good to remember how important the little things can be. Plus, these “little things” in phone conversations now, are giving you common ground. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative–ask about their day, their classes, their friends. Thanks to all the social sites, and photo sharing sites, and of course, email, you can stay more connected, even at a distance, than divorced families could even 10-20 years ago. But don’t overlook doing something special once in a while; like sending a card that says you love them, or a small surprise in the mail. A word of caution, though. Some parents in this situation can get caught up in over-compensating by sending lots of gifts. You might do better to instead invest your time in their lives, even long distance.

Finally, long distance doesn’t mean you don’t get to visit, just that you don’t get to visit as often. This gives you a great incentive to make the time you do get special. You can get great deals on airfare if you are able to make concrete plans far enough in advance. Only you can determine if it makes more sense to go to your kids, or have them (or him / her) come to you. You may find at times there are conflicts with your children’s visits, and something that comes up with the other parent, or someone in that part of the family. Then, as the kids get older, they want to do more with their friends. You will probably find in the long run, that it’s better to work with the other parent, even if it feels like you’re doing the lion’s share of the giving (you probably are). Looking back later, you’ll know you went above and beyond to make it work. And one day, your child will most likely realize that too.

The Effects Of Single Parenting

Over the last few decades, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of single-parent homes. As you might expect, the number of children in single-parent homes as increased as well. Many people believe that separation and divorce are very bad for developing children, while others argue that nothing’s worse for them than constant arguments and even violence in the home.

Social scientists have come to conflicting conclusions on the positive and negative impacts of single parenting. Some studies conclude that living with a single parent results in low self-esteem for the children. Others find no impacts different from two-parent households.

It’s clear, though, that single parents can make all the difference in helping their children adapt and cope with the change to a single-parent household. How single parents deal with their children at this time can mold family dynamics for the future and determine the well-being of both parent and child.
Here are a few ways the newly-single parent can be a positive supportive force for their new family.

1. Help your children understand why you are now single.

Before a separation or divorce, the chances are that the home life wasn’t too pleasant. The children may have overheard fights or witnessed personal violence that you don’t know about. It’s also likely that you weren’t as sensitive to their feelings as you might have been if you hadn’t been going through so much yourself.

Children who don’t understand the realities often assume that they are the cause of their parents’ problems. Now that the fireworks are over, it’s time to be honest with them. You don’t have to go into graphic detail, but you do need to make them understand that they are not responsible for the break-up.

Without blaming the absent parent, explain as much as you can about the basic conflict between you and why you couldn’t work it out. Your openness and honesty will help them put it in perspective and will tell them you respect their feelings. Hopefully, this will also reduce any resentments they may be holding against you.

2. Spend more time with your children.

You’ve all been through a very hard time. Tensions during the break-up may have been intense, and your children may have been aware of and affected by the stress. They probably are very familiar with screaming, fights, and cold silences. They know hostility well.

Now that you’re single and your home is getting more stable, it’s time to invest some time in your kids. Doing things together helps re-establish communications and help you get to know each other outside the conflict and tension of the old life.

Take time to talk to them about your hopes and dreams. Ask them about theirs. Plan and go on vacations, week-end trips, and quick trips to the beach or nature preserve. Have a special family night to “celebrate” the week’s accomplishments. The important thing is spending time together to help heal old wounds and build new healthy relationships. It will produce a happier, healthier family.

3. Become part of your community.

Single-parents have busy lives and many responsibilities. Depending on the age of your children, they may be able to help. But it’s important that you find nearby support. Get to know your neighbors. Where they have children near your kids’ ages, encourage them to play together.

Ask your neighbors for help when you need it. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. You have neighbors who’ll be more than happy to help you out with some baby-sitting or household chores. Neighborhood kids may want to earn a few extra dollars by helping you in your yard.

And don’t just ask for help, get involved. Take part in neighborhood and community events. Volunteer, as a family, to participate in and contribute to block parties, community flea markets and yard sales, community watch programs, and other organized activities.

It will help both you and your children establish new relationships and keep you from feeling isolated or lonely after the dramatic changes you’ve been through.

4. Give your children new experiences.

Your kids may be having a difficult time, especially if their time is divided between parents. They may be trying to adjust to a new school and make new friends. Life may seem overwhelming to them right now. It’s important that they feel that life is still an adventure, and they that belong.

Be sure to ask them about what they did when away and do not, under any circumstances, use it as time to criticize your ex. Show your interest in what your kids did and what they accomplished. Encourage them to participate in events for children, join local sports teams, and learn new things. Keep them interested in the bigger world so that they don’t become self-absorbed and overwhelmed by their personal troubles.

5. Let your children grow up with you.

Children need to feel that they have successes, just like the rest of us. You can encourage their feelings of accomplishment by giving them responsibility. Assign them specific chores in the house, and then leave the tasks to them. Don’t supervise or criticize. Let them fail, and learn, on their own. But do praise them when they do a good job. Let them know how much you appreciate their help and how important they are to your family. And try to find a job for each child that is visible to and supportive of the family unit.

6. Balance your life by prioritizing your life.

Single parents can be overwhelmed by responsibilities and the things that must be done after a break-up. It’s important that you learn how to use your time to make life better for everyone, including you! If your job is too demanding, you may need to find something else so that you can focus on your family. If financial obligations are difficult, maybe a new job’s not the answer. Perhaps trying to negotiate a new working schedule with your boss will be the key.
Begin to think about and create family schedules that are flexible enough for those inevitable unexpected events yet structured enough that your bases are covered. And include recreation and family entertainment in your schedule. Let your children help you develop a schedule. This will be another opportunity for some quality conversation and getting to know each other better. You never know, your children may have some great ideas that will make everyone’s life easier.

7. Make decision-making a family affair.

Now that you’re a single parent, it may be tempting to rule with an iron fist. But that would be a mistake. Your kids need the reassurance of knowing you respect and need them. When decisions about the home or family need to be made, include them in the process. Help them understand your decision-making parameters and the pros and cons of different decisions. This will them become more self-reliant and responsible within the family and afterward as they become adults.

These are just a few things you can do to help your children accept you as a single parent and start your new family life off on the right foot. You should seek advice and guidance from several sources. Internet research may give you a lot of ideas, but you may need to get some personal counseling or face-to-face discussion time for your specific issues.

You may be able to find a support group for single parents that will be very helpful. Other single parents can share with you their experiences and lessons. And you can have some support from people who really do understand your situation.

Dating Single Parents

I admire and respect single parents. They overcome many hardships and challenges, which they face with grace, all the while caring for their children and creating a safe, happy family.

But, you know, single parents are human. They have human emotions and human needs. They need love and affection not only from their children but from other adults who are not also relatives. Like most of us, they need a companion for their life journey.

Some people tell me it’s not right or appropriate for single parents to go on dates. They say that the time for dating in single parent’s life has passed – that the family and children are everything. They tell me that single parents who date are promiscuous or irresponsible.

I strongly disagree. I think single parents have as much right to a social life as anyone. After all, they are single, aren’t they?

Everyone needs love, and most of us want a partner in life. To let society’s whims force us to be lonely is wrong. Single people have a right to be happy and to find someone who will want to help them and support their children.

When you’re the only adult in a household, raising a family is hard. Kids really need two parents when they’re growing up to get a healthy balance of role models and realistic ideas about gender issues. A single parent can’t give that to their children.

And children always grow up and move away. They have families and lives of their own. If a single parent shouldn’t date, you’re saying they are doomed to grow old alone. That just doesn’t seem right.

Some people seem to think that single parents must meet different standards than the rest of us. They may think single parents are immoral people just because they have children and aren’t married. Single moms get criticized for getting pregnant too early or getting pregnant without a husband. Single dads may be accused of being irresponsible or of being more likely to cheat in a relationship. What are people thinking?

The truth is that almost all single parents are hard-working responsible people who care about their families and love their children deeply. They work hard to make a good living for their family and to balance work with school functions with no one to share the burden. It just makes me mad when I hear people judging others for what they assume to be personal mistakes. It just isn’t so.

But single parents may be the best potential mates a person could find. They are mature and responsible. They are obviously committed to their families and children, or they wouldn’t be struggling with the single-parent lifestyle now. It’s the best thing in the world when a single parent dates and finds a partner to build a new life and a strong, normal family.

Finding a partner isn’t easy for single parents. First, they are carrying some baggage from their previous relationship. Whether it ended in death or divorce, there are feelings and habits to break. Second, they have children, which can be a real problem for some singles who don’t have children.

When you’re dating a single parent, you have to accept that they have another set of important priorities in their daily life. You may be tempted to try to compete with them. But that would be a mistake, because you’d always lose. The best thing to do is to accept them for who they are and what their life is like today.

You need to recognize that they love their children very much, and you need to respect that. After you meet the children and get to know them, you will most likely love them too. After all, when you’re in a serious relationship with a single parent, you’re really in a relationship with a family. The kids come with the package.

You may have to deal with some single-parent-specific issues if you want a serious long-term relationship with them. They may have been hurt badly in the past, and they could have some trust issues. You’ll have to show them over time that you can be trusted.

My guess is that you’ll have to demonstrate your maturity, responsibility, and loving nature before a real relationship can get off the ground. And once you gain their trust, you’ll have to earn the trust of their children. That could be even more difficult, since the kids may thing you’re trying to replace the missing parent in their hearts.

The kids will be protective and possessive of their single parent. You might as well be prepared for that. They may suspect that you have evil intentions. Or if the previous relationship was marked with a lot of fighting or violence, they may fear a repeat of those very uncomfortable times.

By being a friend without being pushy, you may be able to begin a relationship with the children. You’ll have to be tolerant of and patient with their moods and suspicion. You’ll have to be loving at the same time you acknowledge they already have (or had) another parent. You’ll have to take it slow with the kids, one step at a time, to build a relationship that will someday be a strong foundation for the happy, healthy family you hope to have with their single parent.

Dating Meeting A Single Parents Children

Especially if you’ve never been married, dating a single parent can be difficult. And meeting the single parent’s child or children can be a source of tension for a new couple. Let’s face it, this isn’t your normal relationship. You may have no strings, but your partner has big responsibilities – a child.

If you’re dating a recently-single parent, you need to be open and understanding. They’re going through a very difficult time, and they have much to think about. They may still be processing their feelings about being single again. Or they may be dealing with their children’s emotional baggage.

Dating comes with all kind of feelings – excitement, anticipation, nervousness. And when you decide it’s time to meet the kids, those feelings get more intense. It’s not just you and your new partner that go through these feelings. The children have greatly mixed feelings about their parent’s new flame. They may be happy and excited that Mom or Dad is having some fun, but they may feel threatened with abandonment issues. They may resent anyone if they thing they’re trying to replace their other parent. They may be jealous.

One or two dates may not be a big deal and may not involve much more than a dinner and a handshake. It’s when you see you really like each other that the challenges begin. Here are some tips that may help you through these first phases of your relationship with a newly-single parent.

Consequences Of Single Parenting

Being a single parent involves many difficult challenges. It’s even harder than it looks. Single parents deal with challenges all day, every day. Many of those challenges arise from being not only single but a parent. There are children to care for and take care of. And because you are the only parent, everything you do carries greater weight.

No matter what you do, as a single parent, you must think of its effect on your children. You must be diligent in keeping up with their activities and their thoughts as they grow up in a single-parent home. In fact, the biggest challenge of being a single parent is the effect of your status on your children.

The transition to a single-parent family is difficult for kids. They may feel abandoned or insecure. They may feel isolated and different from other kids, even if there are more single-parent families than ever before.

Your children may resent you for the loss of your spouse, or they may have unresolved issues with the missing parent. As a single parent, it’s your job to keep them talking about what’s going on with them and what they think. Even though they may resist, you need to get them to talk to you about their worries, their fears, and their anger.

And you need to let them know they’re all right. They’re normal kids despite their circumstances. They aren’t responsible for the change, and they don’t have to make up for it. You should give them as normal a childhood as possible and be a role model. Even when they don’t act that way, they look to you as their example of what a grown-up is and does.

Your kids need to know you’re there for them, no matter what. You have a busy schedule trying to earn a living and manage the household. But you must never be too busy for your children. Even when you are in financial trouble, the job can’t take priority over the kids. They need to know how important they are to you. They need to know you love them more than anything else.

You’re going to have to build a new relationship with your children. As a single parent, you’re the only source of affection and guidance in the home. Even if you weren’t close before, you’re going to have to get close now. One good way to do that is to do lots of fun family activities.

Another way that will help the whole family is to assign specific chores to your children that will help keep the household running efficiently. Giving them responsibility will help them feel that they belong and that they are important. It will also give them a sense of accomplishment necessary to build a healthy self-image.

Single parents need to admit that they need help and then get help. You can’t do everything by yourself. Trying to may ruin your health, your attitude, and your relationships with your children. Getting to know your neighbors is a great way to find people who can help you look after the kids when you must be away. Neighbors can also help with household repairs and yard work.
Your neighbors may also be adult companions and role models for your children, but you must be careful. Get to know your neighbors well before you allow your children to be alone with them. Remember that the world is a more dangerous place than it was when you were a child. There’s no substitute for good parental judgment.

Time is the enemy when you’re a single parent. You probably have to work, and that means being outside the home a lot. Unless you have help, it also means your children may spend a lot of time at home alone. You’ll need to take extra precautions and lay out specific rules for time you’re not there.

Children who are alone a lot are vulnerable to drugs and criminal behavior. Gang activities are sky-rocketing. You’ll have to find a way to monitor your kids while you’re not home. This difficult challenge must be met head-on or your children may pay for it with their very lives.

You may have a challenge with your children’s attitudes about you as well. They may blame you for their situation or think you’re not doing things right. They may not show you the respect you want and expect. And they may feel cheated if you can’t attend special events like birthdays, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, recitals, and other events that parents usually attend. These time pressures are especially difficult for single parents.

If you can’t make the time to make at least some of these events, it’s time to have a talk with the boss. Maybe you can work out a special work schedule or do some of your work at home. If you can’t find a solution with your current job, you may need to look for other more flexible working arrangements. If both are impossible, it’s important that your children know and understand why you can’t be with them. Be honest. They’ll understand the truth better than no explanation at all.

It’s important to remember that you can’t just give time to your kids. It must be quality time that helps them grow and mature. They need to know that you love them and that you need them. Never give them the idea that they’re a burden to you. Tell them often how much you love them. Listen to them. Ask them questions and listen to their answers. Show your interest in them as individuals. Even when time is limited, you can make the time you spend with them special and positive. It’s worth the trouble. And your reward is the love and respect of well-behaved, responsible children.

Even when life deals you and your children a bad hand, you can make life together enjoyable and productive. You can build healthy relationships with your kids and watch them become happy, productive young adults.

Despite the many hard challenges of being a single parent, you must always maintain your perspective and honor the most important priorities. It won’t always be hard or unpleasant. You’ll have many happy times and lots of love and laughter in your single-parent family as long as you keep a healthy positive attitude and keep on working toward a better life for you and your children.

Financial Help For Single Parents

Being a single parent is a difficult challenge, especially when money is tight. If you’re a single parent in financial trouble, you may find this article helpful.

Governments around the world are becoming more aware of how important it is for household with single parents to have a stable source of income. They recognize that single parents have to make difficult choices and sacrifices to provide a safe home for their children.

Single parents, after all, have other options. Abortion is the first decision to make, and single parents have decided not to take this “easy way” out of their situation. They have not abandoned their children or offered them up for adoption. Whether we realize it or not, single parenting is a choice, and many single parents who make that choice are heroes.

Without enough financial resources, the life of a single parent can be difficult and dreary. Struggling from day to day to provide healthy meals is a battle. Providing appropriate clothing for growing children often forces acceptance of hand-me-downs and clothes cast off by more fortunate people. Health insurance may be out of the question, so free and low-cost clinics are the health care services they must choose.

If they don’t have a car, transportation depends on regular operation of sometimes undependable public mass transit systems. And even if they do have a car, regular maintenance costs and repairs may make using that car impossible. Keeping the children well-fed, warm, and healthy is a major task with many obstacles.

Yet, in spite of it all, they continue to trudge their path. They do what they can to meet the challenges and provide their children with as near a normal life as possible. Fortunately, there are places where single parents can go for financial help. This financial assistance may help relieve some of the stresses single parents face. Any help is welcomed help when your children are hungry.

While the federal government offers some limited help, local and state governments most often are the best hope for financial aid for single parents with children at home. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to qualify, but careful research and persistence may pay off.

Where to Find Financial Help

The best places to start looking for financial assistance are your county and municipal governments. Family service departments, children’s agencies, and local unemployment services may offer financial assistance. Your state government may also have programs that will help. Start with the blue pages in your telephone book. Look for family services, health and welfare, employment/unemployment agencies, and children’s welfare departments and agencies. Make a lot of phone calls to find the offices that can help you.

This may be an intensely frustrating exercise, as you’ll get a lot of accidental hang-ups and be transferred more than you think possible. But hang in there. Keep talking to people, and eventually you’ll find that one dedicated public servant who really wants to help. Get their name and keep their phone number in case you need their help again. And thank them for their generosity. They may do it for a living, but the ones who will really work for you do it from the heart.

Once you’ve located the right office, you’ll have to fill out some forms. Be prepared to spend some time doing it. Patience and tolerance are the code words. You can’t gain anything by becoming angry or hostile. As much as it may chafe, be polite and gentle.

When you fill out all the necessary forms, be honest. Half-truths, omissions, and downright lies will only bring disappointment later on, and they may disqualify you from help from any agency in the jurisdiction.

You’ll probably have to prove your income level, jobs you have had or have now, your address, and the number and ages of your children. Be prepared to provide income tax statements, payroll stubs, mail documenting your address, and birth certificates for you and your kids. The more documentation you have in hand, the faster and smoother the process will go.

It’s important that you know the requirements and qualifications. Most financial aid agencies have minimum income requirements. If you more than that amount, you could may not qualify for help. There may be other requirements, too. You may have to qualify on the basis of rent you pay.

Look into the options available for your children. Even if you don’t qualify, your children might be eligible for assistance for school meal vouchers or other services.

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Financial Help?

Eligibility requirements will vary by state and by local government. You’ll have to do your homework to find out what’s required in your area. But if you’ve already located the right agencies, the work is almost done. The agency will have pamphlets and brochures that outline their requirements and qualifications.
Generally, there are basic requirements that all governments ask for. First, you must be single – divorced, widowed, or never married. You may not qualify if you are in a common law situation or living with someone without a marriage license.

If you are widowed, you and your children may already qualify for Social Security assistance. Contact your local Social Security Administration office for more information. Once again, prepare yourself for a long frustrating search. Try to find that one person who really cares. They are out there, and if you make enough phone calls, you’ll find them.

If you are handicapped or disabled, you may qualify for disability assistance. Health departments and employment offices may be able to point you in the right direction for help with health and disability issues.

Parents whose partner is in prison may qualify for financial aid whether or not they are legally married. If you can demonstrate that your spouse can not provide funds, you may be able to get financial assistance from your state, county, or community. This will depend on where you live. Contact your state and local law enforcement agencies to start your research. They may be able to help you ask the right questions.

Again, your children may qualify for financial assistance in their own rights. Look into programs that are geared toward health and welfare for children. But beware, you don’t want to get in a situation where the government questions your fitness as a parent. If you have ever had accusations or charges filed against your parenting, this may not be a good solution.

What If I Can’t Get Financial Help?

If your situation is dire and you still can’t get help, it may be time to make some very hard choices. Perhaps you have relatives who could provide living space for a while until you can have a more stable income. Maybe your relatives would be willing to take one or all of your children in for a while until you can get on your feet. As difficult as that decision might be, it’s better than giving your children up to a government institution.

See if local churches can help. They may be able to provide meals and clothing and some medical aid. Offer to do chores at the church in exchange for help.
If you are homeless, try local shelters. People will not let children suffer if there are any choices open to them.

Finally, if you can’t seem to find the help you need, you may need to consider seeking foster care for your children.

Whatever decisions you must make, make them in the best interest of your children. And God be with you in your journey.

Ethnically Speaking: The Trends In Single Parenting

Studies show that 90% of all single parents are women. In 1995, almost one-third of all black families lived in single-parent homes with children. At the same time, only 8% of white families and 7% of South Asian families were single-parent households.

About half of black women of 30 and over are the main source of income for their single-parent families, while only a tenth of South Asian mothers are the main bread winners.

These statistics underscore the challenges facing single black mothers today. Further, other studies show that, for both black and white women from 15 to 44, decisions about marriage and having children are largely driven by concerns about family disruption.

Bumpass and McLanahan conducted an ethnic study about daughters of single mothers. Their findings may surprise you. Daughters of single mothers have a:

– 53% chance of marrying while teenagers
– 111% chance having babies while they are teens
– 164% chance of having babies out of wedlock
– 92% chance of having marital problems

In families where the father died early, the study came to these conclusions about daughters of single mothers:

– Early loss of the father does not significantly affect black children.
– Growing up in a single-parent family has little effect on whether daughters would remarry after divorce whether they were black or white.

The Bumpass and McLanahan study supports the conclusion that women who grew up in a single-parent family with their mothers as head are more likely to marry and have children while they’re young, to have illegitimate children, and to have failed marriages ending in divorce.

Being a single parent is difficult for anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. Everyone goes through the same grief process after the loss of a serious relationship, whether through divorce or death. Single parents share the same or similar emotions about their change in status: sadness, confusion, guilt, abandonment, anxiety, and fear of being alone.

Here are some suggestions that, while sometimes difficult to perform, may make your new life as a single parent easier.

1. Let go. In order to get past the feelings, it’s important to forgive and forget. Holding on to anger only creates health problems, difficulty in social relationships, and delayed emotional healing. While you may not really be able to forget the hurts of the past, it’s important to forgive and move on. Especially for the kids, you need to resolve feelings about your spouse so you can provide a healthy loving home for your children.

2. Keep up with and make friends. Looking to your neighbors and community as a source of emotional support can make all the difference when you’re trying to adjust to a new and strange lifestyle. Neighbors can provide social interaction, support for childcare, and help with home repairs and yard work. Making new close-to-home friends will also help you get past feelings of abandonment and isolation and give you some critically-important relaxation and fun. Neighbors can also be very important in helping your children adjust to their new situation.

3. Give the kids some responsibility. When you give a task to your child, it makes them feel important and needed. It also gives them a wonderful sense of accomplishment to complete the task successfully. Giving your children household responsibilities will help strengthen family bonds, build self-confidence, and let your children know you need and trust them.

4. Accept your responsibilities. Before you were a single parent, responsibility for earning a living and taking care of the family and household was shared. Now, you’re the only adult, and you have to do it all. Don’t get hung up in feeling cheated or punished. You may not realize it, but your children will interpret your feelings as their fault. Unless you’re willing to step up to the plate physically and emotionally, you’re likely to drive a wedge between you and your kids that will be very difficult to overcome.

5. Ask for help. You have to accept responsibility and do the best you can with it. But recognize that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Relying more on your children for household chores and family decision-making will build a stronger family and take some of the weight off your shoulders. Relying on friends and neighbors who offer to help will reduce your stress and build your own feelings of gratitude for the good things in your life. Taking the initiative and seeking out assistance from state and local governments will get you much-needed help that you’re entitled to as a citizen. Never think you’re alone because you aren’t.

6. Honor old routines. Both you and your children need stability at this difficult time. If you used to go out for dinner every Wednesday or have pizza every Monday, continue to do it now. If you used to go to the park every Saturday afternoon as a two-parent family, do it now as a single-parent family. The more habits and routines you can preserve from your old way of life, the more stable and secure you’re family will be in their new life.

7. Encourage your kids to grow. If their time is split between parents now, your children are having their own set of challenges and issues to resolve. The more you can do to help them broaden their perspective and learn to deal with life’s challenges, the better prepared they will be for the future. Just as you have to work through emotions after the loss of your spouse, your children have to work through their emotions. You can help them do that by open and honest conversation. You can also help them expand their awareness of the world by offering them new experiences.

Single Parenting And Black Males

Every day, all over the world, single parenting is a quickly-growing family situation. It doesn’t matter if the country is rich or poor, there are more single parents than ever before.

Societies are changing, and single parents aren’t the social outcasts they were in olden times. Earlier societies that had strict moral codes used to view single parents as immoral or personal failures. They thought being a single parent was a sign of personal or intellectual weakness.
But today, many households are run by single parents, and single parents are not limited to one race or gender. You’ll find single-parent families headed by men and women of many different races.

In fact, there are just about the same number of black and white males who are also single parents in the U.S. today. And those single fathers face the same challenges and problems.

The truth is that census figures don’t really tell us how many black single-parent males are out there today, although the 2002 US Census did find that three of every ten children are raised by a single parent. But it’s safe to assume that, no matter how many single black fathers there are today, the number is rising.

It doesn’t really matter why. Whether children are born because they were wanted or not is not the issue. The fact that single parents choose to stay with and care for their children is the important point.

As mentioned earlier, black males face the same problems as do other single parents. And as other single parents are qualified for financial help, so are single black fathers.

Black Single Parents

There was a day when being a single parent earned public scorn. The assumption was that you must be immoral to have ended this way. But times have changed. The past decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of single-parent households, and there’s no stigma attached to the status today.

Single parents who are facing financial hardships can find help today. Society is recognizing that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and governments are providing more financial assistance for families in financial distress.

And the help is not limited to white Americans. Black single parents face the same challenges and hardships as any other single parents, and government assistance programs are color-blind.

For example, black single parents in Arkansas can apply for a special scholarship program that helps them attend college. The attend school for free and receive a stipend every month to help meet expenses. The State of Arkansas believes that children will grow up to be better citizens if their parent is better educated. And Arkansas does not require both parents to be present to recognize a family. Single-parent families are as important in Arkansas as any family unit.

Black single parents who are unemployed can also get help from state and local governments to find a job. Employment offices will try to find work near the home for single parents who must also manage their household. In fact, they may offer financial assistance while the black single parent is job hunting.

To find sources of assistance in your state or community, check the blue section of your yellow pages. Look for family assistance, unemployment, and children’s welfare agencies and departments, and start calling. It may take some time to find that one person who really cares, but you will find help if you are patient and persistent.

Some local governments will advise both white and black single mothers to work from the home to give them more time to care for their children. The Internet offers opportunities to earn supplemental income from home. It’s not just a dating service! If you have the determination to learn and the patience to persist, you can earn a living from the Internet.

Online shopping services rake in millions, if not billions, of dollars every day. Selling their products through your own website can earn you commissions. There are also many opportunities to find work as a virtual secretary, writer, host for a forum, or a survey poller. And with a little help, you can sell your own products and services over the web. Having your name and number show up when someone queries for a local service is a great way to find additional work.

Trying to earn a living to support your family while also caring for your children is a stressful full-time job. As a single black parent, you may need to find some support to help you cope with daily stresses and the transition from one way of life to another.
Group therapy sessions are a great way to find a listening ear and emotional support when you are going through these struggles. The other group members are in the same situation, so they understand you and your problems. They can offer advice based on lessons they’ve learned while dealing with the same issues. Your local government may even sponsor such a group. Check out local services to see if that free service is available to you.

Support and therapy groups can help solve problems before they even come up. Group members know what you’re going through because they’ve been there. They may be able to help you build strong healthy relationships with your children. They may have solutions to household repair problems that you didn’t think of. If you don’t have a network of close friends to play that role, you may find a single parent group the perfect support system.

Black single parents need to take advantage of all the opportunities and services their state and local governments offer. It’s time to let go of that stubborn pride and admit you can’t do it all alone. Your children need a happy healthy parent, and you need to be there for them. If you don’t take advantage of the programs out there, you’ve cheated yourself and your family.