The web site Wikipedia’s definition of a single parent is a parent without a partner who is raising children or a child. A single parent is not living with the child’s other parent. There are numerous definitions of single parents and they will often be different depending on the society or country that you live in. There is often a different outlook and approach to a father or a mother who is raising their child alone. Different cultures have different ways of classifying and treating these parents.
Single parenthood is now a lot more viable and easy than it was before; the style of living these days has a great part to play in this. That is not to say that being one is easy by any means. In fact it is still a very difficult task, for which the mother or father should be applauded for being able to raise their children alone. Although single parenting is now widely accepted among many communities, there are still societies who are not willing to accept this concept and who still frown upon it.
What Defines a Single Parent
It can be a parent who is either left alone or abandoned by the other parent or their partners. The abandonment involved may come in different forms. Parents are usually abandoned by their respective partners after divorce, after separation, after the other parent is jailed, or after the other parent dies. Single parents are also those who adopted their children, or mothers who bore them through artificial insemination.
In other countries, especially those characterized by strict and old-fashioned norms or cultures, single parents are still considered outcasts. That is because during those rare cases, they are treated like they have made unforgivable mistakes.
Single Parenthood is Becoming More Common
A recent commissioned study in the United States has revealed that about 3 in every 10 children on a nationwide average live in homes that are headed by single parents. The most common and prevalent type is the single mom – over 80% of single parents are moms.
Single fathers are more common in Islamic countries. That is because the governments of these nations still do not recognize the value and the ability of women, particularly moms to raise children or even carry such great responsibilities.
Only 15 percent of custodial parenting situations showed that the main caregiver was the father. Compared to nearly a decade ago, that figure has risen by over ten percent. It shows that 10 years ago it was a rare occurrence for a single dad to carry the responsibility of solely raising a child. The results have changed since then as the concept of single parenting dads has become acceptable in today’s concept of modern society. Previously the thought of the father solely looking after the child was unheard of.
The World of Single Parenthood
The concept of single parenthood is becoming very common to almost all societies around the world. Long gone are the times when children who were brought up by a single parent were called names or made fun of during school. New legislation and laws have come in that helps in taking care of and protecting the children of single parents. Many people now look up to and respect single parents for being able to not only have their own life but to be able to look after their kids as well. Single parenting isn’t easy, but with the structures that are in place in today’s society and help from family and friends, it surely can no longer be feared.
Single Parent Support Groups
If you’re a single parent, struggling to raise your child or children on your own, then joining a single parent support group is a good idea. Not only can you get emotional support from other parents who are in a similar situation to you, but you can also expand your friend base and make life as a single parent much easier for yourself. The benefit for your children is that they get to meet kids their own age who are also going through a similar experience. It can’t be easy for them to be surrounded by friends and classmates who are not living in single parent homes.
Before you join the first support group that you find, here are some questions to consider first:
- What does this single parent support group focus on?
Do they provide information about financial assistance, like grants for single parents or finding a financial advisor who specializes in single parenting? Do they deal with the more emotional side of single parenting, and provide things like sponsors, mentors or simply groups of single parents who meet to discuss their emotional problems and how to deal with them?
- What are the fees?
Single parent support groups collect their fees either monthly or annually. These fees go towards the cost of the program, as well as childminding and any miscellaneous offerings. The fees vary from group to group, and you would need to choose the support group based on the fees that you can afford.
- When does the support group meet?
Some single parent support groups only meet once or twice a month, so if you are looking for something more consistent, then you should look for groups that meet at least once a week.
- Where does the support group meet?
It is no good finding a support group that meets far away from your home. As a single parent, time is probably very important to you, and if you need to travel too far, that eats into the time you can spend at the meeting, as well as adding to your babysitter’s bill if you do not take the kids with.
- Can you take your child/children with to the meeting?
When it comes to childcare during meetings, you also need to find out whether there is a charge for this, and whether, as a member of the support group, you might need to offer your services as childminder once in a while.
- If childcare is provided, what activities are offered for the children?
Aside from the obvious activities like free play, movies, games, etc, some single parent support groups also provide counselling for the older children, as well as access to therapy activities for the younger children. It is a good idea to choose a single parent support group that caters for your child’s age group.
- What if there is no local group, or it is not the right one for me?
If you cannot find the right single parent support group for you and your family situation, then you can think about creating your own group. As the founder, you would then be able to control the meetings and ensure that they cater specifically for people in your position.
To find a single parent support group in your area, check out the Parents Without Partners website.