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Single parenting and today's family

Single parenting and today's family

Over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called
"nuclear family" consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single parent
families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.

Life in a single parent household — though common — can be quite stressful for the adult and the
children. Members may unrealistically expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and
may feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the
responsibility of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and
household chores. And typically, the family's finances and resources are drastically reduced following
the parents' breakup.

Single parent families deal with many other pressures and potential problem areas that the nuclear
family does not have to face.

Stressors faced by single parent families

Visitation and custody problems. The effects of continuing conflict between the parents. Less
opportunity for parents and children to spend time together. Effects of the breakup on children's school
performance and peer relations. Disruptions of extended family relationships. Problems caused by the
parents' dating and entering new relationships.

The single parent can help family members face these difficulties by talking with each other about their
feelings and working together to tackle problems. Support from friends, other family members and the
church or synagogue can help too. But if family members are still overwhelmed and having problems, it
may be time to consult an expert.

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There are 14 million solo parents in the Philippines, according to the 2007 data from the National
Institutes of Health. Rappler reports the number is estimated to grow to 20 million this year. By
law, each of these parents is entitled to benefits as stated under Republic Act No. 8972 or
the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000. Earlier this year, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) had called for an amendment of RA 8972 to include additional benefits
such as discounts on purchases of basic necessities, medicine, school supplies and more. (You
can read more about it here.)

To claim the benefits and privileges, however, a solo parent must have his or her "Solo Parent
ID." But, first, who qualifies as a solo parent? It's any individual who has the sole
responsibility of caring for a child, whether you and your partner are separated (recognized by
the court or not), your spouse has passed on, or any other circumstance that has left you and the
child on your own. It also includes those who are caring for nephews, nieces, and godchildren,
said Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan in a column for BusinessMirror.

More from Smart Parenting


Specifically, RA 8972 states that a solo parent is:

1. Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following
circumstances:

Due to death of spouse

Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year

Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner

Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is
entrusted with the custody of the children

Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as


he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children

2. Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children
3. A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without
a final conviction of the offender, provided that mother keeps and raises the child
4. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children
5. Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the
death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent

Note: Parents with OFW spouses are not considered solo parents unless the other parent who is
abroad has not been in contact with the family for at least a year.
6 Positive And 6 Negative Effects Of Single Parenting

REBECCA MALACHI
JANUARY 20, 2017
Image: Shutterstock

Table Of Contents:

1. Single Parenting – What Is It All About?

2. Single Parenting Problems

3. Positive Effects of Single Parenting

4. Negative Effects of Single Parenting

5. Helpful Ways to Ease Single Parenting Stress

Raising a child as a single parent is very stressful. As a single parent, you have to handle several tasks
and make more than a few decisions. You may require effective ways to manage the special challenges
single parents usually experience, to support and nurture your little one. Read to know all about single
parenting and how you can make life easy and fun for you and your little one.

Single Parenting – What Is It All About?


Single parenting or single parenthood is a parent bringing up a child or children alone without a partner.
The reasons for this can vary. They may have been in a relationship which they left, or their partner
might have passed away, or been summoned to an active job.

When you go back to 500 years, the parenting approach was completely different. There is a phrase that
says “it takes a village to raise a child,” which is quite accurate. Then, the child used to be nurtured by
parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and close families. With the time and modernization, the ‘village’
shrank, and it still continues to disappear. Human beings have evolved so that the community raises
them, but when it is not present, then the dysfunction will potentially develop.

Sponsored

Single Parenting Problems:

You might have just become a divorcee, a widow or separated from your “better half” for some personal
reason. Or you may have been a single parent for many years. In any case, but the problems you face
are not going to vanish magically as some people around you are not ready to change their perspective
for you. You might or might not face the following issues:

It will be hard to maintain discipline in the home as a single parent will be the only disciplinarian, which
can give rise to behavioral problems in children (1).

You may feel intense sorrow when your child envies pals who live with both parents.

Making new relationships are difficult especially when your little one is jealous or suspicious.

A single parent attaches to her children so badly for company and support that it makes difficult for the
child to leave the house.

The various responsibilities of child raising, housework, and earning, will not give the parent enough
time for themselves. It moreover results in adding stress, fatigue and pressure.

The income is small which may give less access to child health care.

Let us understand the positive and negative effects of single parenting.

Positive Effects Of Single Parenting:

Most times, the negative effects of single parent households are quite apparent; economic troubles and
abandonment related trust issues. But, there are also positive effects on raising a child.

1. Strong Mother-Child Bonding:


Spending one-on-one time with your little one creates a unique bond which will be stronger than the
one if you were a nuclear parent. It goes in the case of custodial parents (one who has sole physical
custody of the child) and also non-custodial parents who play a significant role in their child’s lives.

Realize your sole importance and do not try to diminish it.

If you think your bond is not strong, try to work on it.

Your child’s connection with you will not end, and it continues to grow and evolve even after they turn
18.

2. Strong Sense Of Community:


As with the phrase discussed above “it takes a village to raise a child,” it works with single parent
families as well. Children who have single parents will also have many supporters. Most cases, the
extended family members will play a unique role in a child’s life. Single parents who do not live with
their extended families will try participating in community groups which may include single parent
support groups, synagogues and churches.

Join sole parent support groups

Involve yourself in your child’s academics

3. Share Responsibilities:
Children raised by single parents will not just have token responsibilities to do, but their contribution to
the complete family system is necessary. In this way, children will understand the value of their
contribution and can take pleasure in their work.

Let your children recognize the efforts they put in

Praise them for doing the house chores

Be specific while asking them to offer the help

4. Maturity:
Children will find their parents working hard, and it will force them to collaborate and work along with
their parents. Additionally, the children will also learn to manage their disappointments in life.

If you find your child is disappointed, respond with support, empathy and encouragement.

These experiences will help children become empathetic and caring adults.

You may not prevent them from feeling disappointed or sad all the time, but you can manage their
emotions.
5. Parental Role Modelling:
Children brought up in single parent families will realize their importance in their parents’ lives. It is a
healthy approach which will help them to prepare for the real world. Children will feel secure about
their ability to negotiate the challenges of future life.

Let your children balance their needs with needs of the family.

Teach them to consider other’s needs as well.

6. Lack Of Parental Conflicts:


There will be no parental conflict, and it eases tension and stress for both the parent and the child. It will
be true in the case of the former partner being abusive or the relationship was controversial. If there are
no arguments or conflicts, the child will feel more secure in her living environment.

Negative Effects Of Single Parenting:

You cannot be the best mom out there, and there may be adverse effects as well. However, your style of
parenting, attitude, perseverance, and support system should all go a long way minimizing negative
effects like:

1. Financial Troubles:
Most single parents work long hours to meet the financial needs of the family. It is necessary to run the
household and raise the children. There may be chances when you have to deny your kids from their
requirements, and you may have to juggle repeatedly between financial commitments. Your child may
thus be not able to take the opportunities he always dreamt of due to financial concerns (2).

2. Low Parenting Quality :


Your way of parenting suffers when many responsibilities add to your everyday life. Your long hours of
working may make you miss your child’s important school functions. You may not afford a babysitter to
take out some valuable down time. You may react more if you see your child being untidy. You may also
disclose your personal, professional or financial issues with your child. But, they will not have the
maturity and emotional strength to deal with the situations so as to help you (3).

Take out some time and find ways to have the individual time with each of your children.

3. Children After A Divorce:


If your reason for single parenting is divorce, your children will also suffer from adjustment problems or
may have the feeling of being ashamed. If your partner stops looking out after your kids as he or she
used to do before, your children may badly suffer resentment. There are also chances they still hold on
to bad memories of your divorce.

If you notice your child having trouble sleeping or experiencing problems at school, you should counsel
her or take her for counselling.

4. Emotional Problems:
Your children are likely to suffer from self-esteem problems. They may crave for affection, which they
will not get enough because of your busy schedule. Thus, they may lose expectations in their
relationships later in life. They will take all the blame for their living conditions. It may be difficult for you
to stop them from drawing comparisons, but you can help your children build self-regard. Things like
acknowledging her when she has done something good and posting a card in her room about her worth
will help build self-esteem.

5. Loneliness:
It is another challenge most single parents face. They will not only be able to share their difficulties with
their spouse but also cannot share their joys as well. If the parent is single because of spouse’s death or
any tragedy, it will be even harder for the parent to bear all sorts of responsibilities.

6. Adjustment Difficulties:
Children will also face the issues along with their single parents. They may be a sense of loss, poverty
and continuous exposure to parental arguments. While the parent’s sense of loss is because of the
missing spouse, a child’s loss will be a guide or a protector. It will be tougher for children at their young
age.

Helpful Ways To Ease Single Parenting Stress:

Raising kids, without the support of your better half, is not an easy thing to do as you have to single-
handedly face a fair share of concerns, dilemmas, and other issues. However, don’t lose heart over any
issues! You can cope with the stress with a great amount of planning and with these simple tips.

1. Set Up A Routine:
Structure your day in such a way that it offers a sense of security to your child. Maintain a relatively
consistent mealtime, wake up time and bedtime. If you miss spending with your kids during the daytime
because of your job, do not try to make it up for the night. Letting them stay late night is not a right
approach’ as told be Leah Klungness, Ph.D., a psychologist in Long Island and coauthor of The Complete
Single Mother.
Children need to sleep more and as a parent; you need to take some time for your kids to set up a
routine (4).

2. Taking Care Of Yourself:


Your child may observe you being angry, upset or sad when major life issues crop up. It is quite common
in all families, be it a single parent or nuclear families. The only thing you should do is to let her know
your negative emotions are not because of her, and you love her more than anything else.

If your child is matured enough to understand, share what is affecting you so much with her. When you
express your feelings, even she will feel free to express herself more.

Also, do not discuss grown-up issues like financial problems or conflict with the former partner with your
child. It can make her anxious. Share such matters only with other adults who can morally comfort you.

3. Offer Unconditional Love To Your Children:


Even after separating from your partner, your kids will still look for the same love and concern they used
to get before. They need the same protection, routine, encouragement to learn and support from a
loving and trusting parent. It may be hard for you to show the same support and warmth in the initial
days, but how can you show her the care?

Make most of the time: You can spend quality time with your little one anywhere and anytime. Chat
with her on the way to her school or child care. Talk to her during the dinnertime rather than
encouraging her to watch television. Play sing-a-along on a ride, narrate funny short stories at bedtime,
play word games, and you can do more.

Pique the interest: Talk to your child about her favorite things, from books to sport to music. Try to
awaken the interest by playing her favorite computer game or sport along with her.

Positive attention: Smile with her, laugh with her and hug her as much as you can. Let her know that
you are happy to see her in the morning and when she is back home from her school or child care.

One on One time: Try to contribute some time for each child. It may be a walk, reading a book before
bedtime, playing a game or talking. You can plan some outing with younger one when elder children are
at school.

Praise: Whenever your child achieves something, praise her. Praise for the way he is growing up and
coping. For instance, you may say, ‘I am proud of your result in academics.’

4. Set Ground Rules:


You will not have anyone else to back you up, so establishing certain ground rules will help to raise your
children without much effort.
Use praise: Look for the ways to praise good behavior in your child. Rewarding with points is the
effective way to instill good behavior in them.

Firm and serious voice tone: Interacting in a low voice is an easy tool for better parent-child
communication.

Boundaries: Set up some rules that help to know whether the behavior is acceptable or not. Your child
should understand if she is crossing the limitations.

Isolate or redirect: If your child is continuously behaving badly, you have to redirect her ways. If the
problem is about television, you should turn it off; or if it is about fighting for toys, snatch them away.

Loss of privileges: Your child should know the cost of misbehavior.

Ignore: If some of the misbehavior is to draw attention, you should ignore it right away.

5. Try Handling Finances:


Taking care of the family on a single income or being dependent on the former spouse is the toughest
aspects of single parenting. It is important for you to understand about long term investments, budget
your money accordingly, plan for retirement and if possible you should try to earn more by doing an
additional job.

6. Support Groups:
It is evident that single parents need help to take care of kids when they are on run to do errands or
someone to talk when they are disturbed. You can ask your extended family and friends to help. You
may also join a support group, or hire a babysitter to take care of your little one.

7. Give Honest Replies:


It is quite obvious that your child may question you about the other parent or the changes in the family.
Try answering her in an honest and open way. Also, offer her the required support and help she
required to deal with those emotions.

8. Remove Guilt:
You may feel guilty for the things you cannot provide or the time you may spend with your kids. For your
good, try to focus on all the things to accomplish for the day and also show the love, comfort and
attention to your little ones. If you feel guilty about your divorce or the ways that have separated you
from your partner, join a support group for counseling.

9. Remain Positive:
You may quickly become overwhelmed by the demands and responsibilities of single parenting. You may
also suffer the pain of death or divorce of your spouse. Despite all these, you have to stay positive as
your kids may easily get affected by your moods. Exercise regularly, have enough rest and maintain a
healthy diet to balance your life in all the ways. You may share some of the grievances with your kids,
but also let them understand they are not the causes of your problems.

10. Set Up Role Models:


Children will benefit when you give them examples of some real personalities. Look within your family
or friends of any sex to be role models for your kids. Also, set a gathering where the responsible adult
spends some quality time with your little one.

Hope our article helps you with single parenting and makes you a better parent than you are. If you have
any feedback, please share it here.

There are so many circumstances that can lead someone to become a single parent especially when
least expected. Some may be due to early pregnancy, divorce, death of a spouse, and so on. It may also
be as a matter of personal decision. No matter what the situation may be, people should not think that
it is the end of life.

There is always a stigma on whomever is called ‘single’ in our society. People see them in a different
perspective. This documentary is to help people under this sect remove the stigma and have hope. It will
also help to encourage them that being a single parent is not the end of life. One can still make use of
his/her life in a better way and raise his/her kids to be important in the community. They only need to
see that it is a realistic dream. This will be achieved by the testimonies of the ordeal of some single
parents who were willing to break the walls of silence and make a difference. We will see what it is to be
a single parent from their eyes in the hopes of extrapolating for ourselves lessons that might come in
handy for us.

This documentary will show to the people who have thrown the flag that single parenthood might be
rough, but with God on their sides, they will be able to do exploits and live an enviable life. Backward
never, forward ever!

Single parenthood may have a variety of reasons and may take on different forms – be it
overseas work, abandonment, widowhood, incarceration, legal or de facto separation,
annulment, adoption, or a child out of wedlock due to poor education and promotion of
methods of contraception. But in this day and age, as a matter of social statement on the
respect for life and women’s reproductive rights, it must be expressed as a State policy that
a solo parent’s brave choice and genuine struggle to raise a child alone even in adverse
circumstances should be lauded and commended.
In 2000, Solo Parents constituted 2.9 or nearly 3 million of the country’s population. A more
recent World Health Organization-funded study by the Department of Health (DOH) and the
University of the Philippines – National Institute for Health (UP-NIH) placed the number of
solo parents at 14 to 15 percent of the estimated 94 million Filipinos. Today, around 13.9 or
14 million Filipinos are solo parents struggling to support their families and raise their
children alone. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), there are
around three (3) million children in solo parent homes in the Philippines today. These are
children of single parents, widows, and kids of migrants or overseas workers.

DSWD records show that under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), 170,000
beneficiaries are Solo Parents. And in the DSWD alone where the organizing and
empowerment of Solo Parents was first piloted as a “support group”, there are more than
200 solo parent-employees nationwide.

It cannot be denied that this phenomenon may have dire implications and consequences.
Several international organizations involved in the development of Asia are concerned
about the high ratio of single moms in the Philippines because it threatens to become a
socio-economic menace. For example, some single moms may not be able to afford
education for some or all of her kids and in most circumstances, such children can take to
drug abuse and/or crime. In view of the existing poverty and low education, such children
can also become ideal recruits for any terror network or human trafficking – since job
opportunities for these citizens will be lower. Some studies have shown that female children
of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) left in the care of grandparents or relatives are also
prone to becoming single parents themselves.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of parish priests in Catholic churches turning away
children for baptisms because the parents cannot produce a marriage certificate. Some
private Catholic schools are also said to be refusing admission to children because their
parents are not married or are separated.

Clearly, we need progressive State policies on the evolving nature of the Filipino Family that
will acknowledge, recognize and respect the existence of “alternative” families or the
varying compositions of the family. In addition, we need policies that must address the
issues of stigma and discrimination being experienced by children of solo parents from
private Catholic schools which technically deprive them of their right to a high quality
education.