Ethnically Speaking Trends in Single Parenting
Ethnically Speaking 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.” (“Single Parent Challenges – 6 Tips to Make Your Life Easier”) 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.” (“Single Parent Challenges – 6 Tips To Make Your Life Easier”) Further, other studies show that, for both black and white women from 15 to 44, decisions about marriage and having children are driven by concerns about family disruption.
Bumpass and McClenaghan conducted an ethnic study about daughters of single mothers. (“Single Parent Challenges – 6 Tips To Make Your Life Easier”) Their findings may surprise you. Daughters of single mothers have a:
– Fifty-three percent chance of marrying while teenagers
– 111% chance having babies while they are teens
– 164% chance of having babies out of wedlock
– Ninety-two percent 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 insignificant effect on whether daughters would remarry after divorce whether they were black or white.
The Bumpass and McClenaghan study support 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 are 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 meaningful 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.
- Let go.
To get past the feelings, it is important to forgive and forget. “Holding on to anger only creates health problems, difficulty in social relationships, and delayed emotional healing.” (“Single Parent Challenges – 6 Tips to Make Your Life Easier”) While you may not really be able to forget the hurts of the past, it is 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.
- 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 are 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. (“Easier | Parental advice”)
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. (“Life | Parental advice”) Neighbors can also be especially important in helping your children adjust to their new situation. (“Life | Parental advice”)
- 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. (“Easier | Parental advice”) “Giving your children household responsibilities will help strengthen family bonds, build self-confidence, and let your children know you need and trust them.” (“Life | Parental advice”)
- 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 are the only adult, and you must do it all. Do not 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 are willing to step up to the plate physically and emotionally, you are likely to drive a wedge between you and your kids that will be exceedingly difficult to overcome. (“Life | Parental advice”)
- Ask for help.
You must accept responsibility and do the best you can with it. But recognize that you do not 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.” (“Life | Parental advice”)
“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.” (“Life | Parental advice”) Taking the initiative and seeking out assistance from state and local governments will get you much-needed help that you are entitled to as a citizen.
Never think you are alone because you are not. 6. Honor old routines. Both you and your children need stability at this challenging time. “If you used to go out for dinner every Wednesday or have pizza every Monday, continue to do it now.” (“Life | Parental advice”) “If you used to go to the park every Saturday afternoon as a two-parent family, do it now as a single-parent family.” (“Life | Parental advice”)
The more habits and routines you can preserve from your old way of life, the more stable and secure your family will be in their new life. (“Easier | Parental advice”)
- 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. (“Life | Parental advice”) Just as you must work through emotions after the loss of your spouse, your children must work through their emotions. “You can help them do that by open and honest conversation.” (“Easier | Parental advice”) “You can also help them expand their awareness of the world by offering them new experiences.” (“Life | Parental advice”)
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist
See Tomorrow: “Financial Help for Single Parents”
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