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Performance Test One

Family Diversity Essay

Alisha Chalifoux-Pratt

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

FMLY 181

March 5th, 2018

Janis Danino
For many years, lone-parent families have been one of the fastest-growing types of

families in Canada. According to Statistics Canada their definition of a lone-parent family is “a

mother or father, with no spouse or common-law parent present, livening in a dwelling with one

or more children” (Ward and Belanger, 2015). About 8 in 10 lone-parent families are the women

in left in charge. In 2011, there was an estimation of 1,527,840 lone-parent families. 1,200,295 of

them were female lone-parent families. Amanda has never been married, is a single parent of

three, and now is also a foster parent of three more on her own. Amanda family may be different

then your typical nuclear family, “a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and their children.”

But, these words came to Amanda mind when she thought of the word family were, “love,

patience, kindness, joy, and many hugs saying, “I love you”. It means being together to support

and love each other every day.” (Personal communication, February 2018).

Amanda has been on her own for many years now and says that her family is, “the same

as a family with two parents in some ways and I still have the support needed. The family is

based on the same values of love and community BUT with one less person. It’s possible to raise

a family with one less person because the focus then becomes the children. Goals remain the

same and that is to teach them to take care of themselves and to be hardworking, honest human

beings, etc. It includes teaching your children to have the same values and morals that should not

differ from tradition western family thinking.” (personal communication, February 2018)

Although she is on her own, and may sometimes feel that she can’t provide, fostering and caring

for other children hasn’t stopped her. Foster care is “the provision of care by a family other than

a parent or guardian of a child, approved and arranged by a child welfare authority. (Ward and

Belanger, 2015.) Amanda said, “Fostering kids is exciting, fun, it’s work, and labouring and one

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must be a “forever teacher”. This means teaching and reminding them to pick up and care for

themselves, teach them how to potty train, brush their teeth etc. It also means to consistently

teach them to be kind, keep their hands to themselves but most of all to show love for one

another. (personal communication, February 2018). Amanda has a big heart and is always

willing to help those in need. She did admit “she was willing to step up and that it will take lots

of work” (personal communication, 2018) but, Amanda treats these children as her own and is

now in the process of adopting them.

Even though Amanda is busy working and running her own fashion company, she still

makes time to always care for her children. Amanda’s typical says consist of, “getting the kids

up early and ready for school/daycare. Which involves getting them dressed, cleaned and fed. I

drive them to school/daycare and then go home to sew or do things I normally do what needs to

be done during the day.
 I pick up the kids, feed and bath them and spend time together before

bedtime. Then we continue on day after day. Life is busy.” (personal communication, February

2018). In text, it says that “many love parents have limited emotional support and social

activities, partly because of the cost of entertainment and partly because of the lack of time”

(Ward and Belanger, 2015). Although working lone mothers experience a great deal of tension in

juggling work, children and daycare, they often feel more tired, and overloaded. They have

trouble balancing the demands of home and work. There can often be scheduling conflicts with a

job or the need for after-school care. Though Amanda may be busy with her company, she still

makes time to spend with her children and plans activities they can do together. Amanda says

that, “Our family loves playing games, we watch movies together and go skating on Tuesdays

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and swimming. I will be getting a family membership at the gym soon. Now that the weather is

getting nicer we will be doing more things outdoors.” (personal communication, February 2018).

“Most single mothers have informal networks made up of relatives, neighbours, and

friends who provide information and practical assistance, support them emotionally, and bolster

their self -esteem.” (Ward and Belanger, 2015). Amanda tries to keep her extended family

involved in her children’s life as much as possible. “my extended family included my close circle

of friends who the kids call “auntie”. It takes a community to raise a child and believe it healthy

and beneficial to have all the support needed. Other forms of support include adopted parents,

and odd family members such as my grown sons. They are involved in their lives by providing

moral support, being there when needed, to watching them odd times.” It’s a single parents

instinct to feel like she needs to do it all, but this is not realistic. Parents with poor support

systems may not be able to deal with emergencies or long-term stress so, they may need

someone to watch the children while they are off dealing with a situation.

It is often said that “children living in single-parent households often have less stability,

fewer rules, harsher discipline, and less supervision, all of which may impede social-emotional

development” (Office of Children’s Health, 2016) Children raised in lone-parent families are

often stereotyped as being more likely to become emotionally disturbed or to become a

delinquent. Amanda’s children have not turned out like this, and she believes that there should be

good consequences if they were to do something bad to show they what they did is improper.

“Discipline is important. It teaches them there are consequences to actions and bad decisions. I

give timeouts and take away what is of value to them and if I say something I will follow

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through with it. I teach them to take care of their own things. I speak up as soon as something

happens because they may have forgot why they are being disciplined.” (personal

communication, February 2018). She tires her best to pay attention to all of her children and

disciplines them when needed.

“There is evidence that people have grudgingly accepted single parenthood after divorce

as a reality, but they fail to see the situation as ideal. Although non-marital sex is increasingly

accepted, child bearing outside marriage still receives little social support.” (Ward and Belanger

Amanda has never been married before and only has been in long-terms relationships. Single

mom often feels like they are being judged by those around them and they often feel scared to

ask for help when needed. Single female lone-parents have many stereotypes labeled on them,

these include: single moms raise criminals, single moms are on welfare, single moms need to get

it together, they cannot be trusted, they live in broken homes and they are desperate, etc. Amanda

can often feel these stereotypes being labelled on her. She tries to best to push the negativity

aside and to put her main focus on her children. I had asked her if she faces any difficulties

being viewed as a “non-traditional” family, she responded with “Yes, in schools, employment

and church. I somehow believed something was wrong with me or did something wrong because

I’m a single parent. This is not the case. I felt I was viewed as an outcast, almost like a leaper

with her younger children. Just by tone, discussions, looks and especially the stereotype of being

Aboriginal and being painted under the same brush. This is definitely a challenge I will always

be faced with and it’s what makes it even more challenging. Yet, it’s all worth it!” (personal

communication, February 2018)

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Many still have a long way to accept the lone-parent families. Amanda has shared

personal experiences and her own personal definitions. These include her definition of family,

what her and children typical day’s look like, what it’s like fostering other children, how her

extended family is involved in the children’s life, how she views her family compared to a “non-

traditional family”, beliefs about discipline, her activities she does with her family, and her many

difficulties she faces as a lone-parent family. Many say that single-parent families will increase,

and that many children will spend half their childhoods in this type of families. “It is important,

especially for the sake of the children, to eliminate the stigma against single-parent families that

remains in society. If society as a whole recognizes that single parents are, for the most part, as

concerned and competent as the majority of other parents, we will have come a long wat toward

that goal” (Ward and Belanger, 2015) Amanda ended with no matter what others think of her and

her family, she will always say “that’s worth it” (personal communication, February 2018)

because her family is what matters to her the most.

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References

Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2018, from
https://children.wi.gov/Documents/Indicators/risk-singleparent.pdf

Ward, M., & Belanger, M., (2015). The Family Dynamic: Canadian Perspective, Sixth Edition.
Toronto, ON: Nelson Education