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.

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.

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.

All About SPARK ( Single Parents Raising Kids)

In 1970, 90% of all children under eighteen years of age lived in homes with two parents. In 2006, only 70% of children under eighteen years of age lived with two parents. Thus, the number of children living with one parent tripled from 8.5 million in 1970 to 20.6 million 2006. Clearly, single-parent families have become much more common across the United States. In highly urban areas, single parents lead a complex and difficult life. Concerns about crime, economic pressures, time demands, and the busy pace of life make single parenting a stressful challenge.

Single Parents Raising Kids, or SPARK, is an association of single parents living in Montgomery County in the State of Maryland in the United States. SPARK also covers single parents in areas near Montgomery County and Maryland.

SPARK was formed in 1987 by nine people who have successfully met the challenges of life as single parents. The founders’ goal was to give single parents the tools they need to deal with the stressful issues they already had faced and overcome.


Single Parents Raising Kids is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to build a community where single parents in the area can interact, build new friendships, and share their experiences.

SPARK provides a forum where single parents in Maryland can support each other, share their the lessons they’ve learned through their common experiences, and help members learn from their successes and their mistakes.

SPARK fulfills its mission by encouraging active participation of its members in a balanced program that fosters strong, happy families. The group offers social and educational opportunities for each member.

SPARK is an active organization that publishes a calendar of events each month to provide informal, friendly social gatherings where members can relax and enjoy building relationships with others who share their life experience.

Examples of such activities include concerts, movies, dinners, and classes that help members get to know each other and interact in comfortable, enjoyable surroundings.

SPARK Management and Operation

Not-for-profit SPARK exists solely to fulfill its advocacy role for and commitments to single parents. It is not involved in, nor does it support, any other causes or organizations.

SPARK exists as a social support group. It does not generate income for its founders, leaders, or members. Its only compensation is the satisfaction of knowing that it creates the opportunity for support, social interaction, and sharing of hard-earned wisdom for its single parent members.

SPARK is directed and operated by volunteers. Operating expenses are funded entirely through voluntary contributions from and raised by its single parent members.

Based in Maryland and covering nearby states, SPARK is open to all single parents with children under eighteen years of age, whether or not the parent has legal custody of the child or children.

SPARK’s Purpose

The Single Parents Raising Kids organization’s purpose is to give members practical, constructive ideas for resolving social, emotional, and monetary problems that come with single parenthood. SPARK provides social situations where single parents know they are not alone. With this in mind, SPARK gives single parents opportunities for:

• Participation with other single parents in wholesome and fun activities.
• Learning and generating more knowledge about problems and solutions for single parents.
• Sharing what they have learned that could benefit other single parents.

Reflections on Single Parenting

Today’s single parents are more fortunate than those in the past generations. The days when single parents were ostracized or looked down by the society have passed. Today, single parenthood doesn’t carry the stigma and social burden associated in the old days with a failing marriage or pregnancy out of wedlock.
The single parents of today are lucky to have available to them the opportunity to enjoy the support and issue-oriented groups and activities to help them out meet the burdens of raising children alone.

Organizations like SPARK could have helped many a single parent in the past. But it’s better late than never. Thank God, single parents can now get support from SPARK.

Having enjoyed success in making life better for single parents in the area, SPARK hopes the approach will expand from Maryland to the rest of the world.

To learn more about the organization or get information on events, contact SPARK headquarters at SPARK Incorporated, PO Box 288, Rockville, Maryland 20848.

Effective Vacation Tours For Single Parents

Single parents can get overwhelmed with the heavy load of responsibility and time demands that come with being the only adult in a family. Concerns about money, child rearing, and personal health loom large, and single parents may neglect their own personal needs for relaxation and fun.

If you’re a single parent feeling weighed down by too much to do and not enough time, maybe it’s time for you to think about taking a vacation tour for single-parent families. Everyone needs the occasional vacation, and single parents are no exception to the rule.

A vacation tour for single-parent families offers time to refresh and restore your mind and body and opportunities to get closer to your children in a new environment. It’s a family adventure you’ll share for years to come.

Single parents have their burdens, and children in single-parent families have their own problems, too. They often feel neglected or abandoned by a busy single parent that has to go to work and care for the household. They get little bits of time from their parent and sometimes end up spending much of their time with other caretakers. A vacation tour for single-parent families gives them the chance to be with their single parent in a whole new way.

Vacation tour for single-parent families help you rebuild strained relations with your children. You won’t be answering those phone calls from the boss, meeting with professional colleagues or your kids’ teachers, and you won’t have to deal with the thousands of daily interruptions that keep you and your children at odds.

The community of single-parent families is growing so rapidly that most travel agencies have vacation tours specifically for single-parent families. They’ll arrange for travel by train, plane, or cruise ship and help your family comply with international travel requirements when necessary.

Of course, you can’t just pick up and go for vacation tour for single-parent families. You’ll need to plan your vacation several months in advance to get the best prices and accommodations. A good rule of thumb is to book your vacation tour for single-parent families at least two months before the departure date.

If you don’t have passports or visas, you’ll need to allow a little more time for government processes to work to assure you have the necessary papers. Your travel agent should be able to tell you what the country you’re visiting requires and help you get the paperwork started. If you’re using a travel agent who specializes in vacation tours for single-parent families, they should be able to help you with almost everything you’ll need including travel, hotel accommodations, tickets to special events and entertainment areas, and restaurants that cater to children.

Of course, vacation tours for single-parent families are available within the United States where you don’t have to worry about passports and visas. They’re easier to plan and don’t take as much lead time for reservations. Wherever you decide to go, you can learn a lot about your destination by visiting the official website and travel-related sites that contain information and travel reviews that will help you figure out what you want to do when you get there. You can also give the country’s consulate a call to get more information about what to see and do, and letting them know you’re a single parent with children may be helpful.

Travel agencies who specialize in vacation tours for single-parent families should be more aware and considerate of your special needs than other agencies. They should understand your time constraints and relieve you of as much of the planning as possible. They should also be experienced working with children on vacation tours for single-parent families.

Some large corporations are sponsoring vacation tour for single-parent families in their company. They may offer the trip as a bonus for outstanding performance or as a special incentive for future performance. If you work at a large corporation, you might check with the personnel office to see if your company has or is planning this great service. Signing up for a vacation tour for single-parent families is the best favor you can do for yourself and your kids. You all cope with stresses and pressures every day. You more than deserve a quality break, you need it! Taking the kids on a vacation tour for single-parent families gives you all healthy sunshine and fresh air, brings you together as a family, and gives you memories that will last a lifetime.