While having lunch with a friend I was asked a thought provoking question, my friend asked, “ What would do if your husband left, and you had to raise your child alone”. I actually never thought about life as a single parent, I’ve been married for 14 years, I was raised in a two parent household However, my husband was raised solely by his mother. Considering how many single mothers I know, I wondered is the “single mother” the new family model, and can single mothers raise thriving children.
According to the data center for KidsCount.org, in non –Hispanic white households 25% percent of household are led by a single parent, 42% in Hispanic households, 17 percent in Asian households, and 67% in African American Households. Primarily, these single parent homes are predominately led by the mother.
Find out more on about single-race families by Race/Ethnicity
Decades ago, during the 1920’s and even through the post war era, unwed single mothers were “sent away” primarily to liberate the parents from social ostracisms or public shame. Thousands of pregnant women were sent away, and publicly shunned until they gave birth to their children who were subsequently adopted by married couples. It was not until the Women’s Movement of the 1960’s, which fought for equality covering many facets such as family life, workplace, and legal decisions as well. The Women’s Movement, of the 1960’s was the catalyst leading to the rights of women to openly live as single mothers today.
Check out more statistics on Children in parent family homes by race
Further, statistical data indicates African Americans as having the highest rate of single parent households, and an overwhelming amount led by mothers. Moreover, the number of single mothers raising African American boys has skyrocketed, as nearly three fourths are being raised in broken, or cohabitant homes.
Moreover, in a journal written by Paul R. Amatto, and published by Princeton Brookings, Amato asserted African American boys raised in single parent households experience a lower quality of life, and emotional problems. Amatto also cited economic disadvantage, exposure to stress, and social standing in his reasoning behind this conclusion.
While these are strong statistics, there are still single African American women who are leading and succeeding in raising great black men every day. Gloria James, mother of LeBron James began raising LeBron James as a single mother at the tender age of 16. Yet, James went on to become a Superstar NBA player, and subsequently wrote an open letter to his mother thanking her for all she had done for him. Shaquille O’Neal, also an NBA superstar, and earned a doctorate degree, yet he was raised by a single mother. Heck, our very own president, Barack Obama was raised by his mother a single parent, still Obama graduated from prestigious Harvard University, and later became President of the United States.
My husband, an African American, was raised in a single parent household. Still, he has a great career, is a great father, and a wonderful husband. If my husband left me today, I know our son would still turn out to be great! I believe regardless of family structure, if mothers provide endless love, support, and spiritual guidance I conceive half the battle is won in those bearings alone.
Still, while this is an encouraging article some of these statistics still hold true when raising a child as a single parent. Children from a two parent household fare better in school, socially and experience less emotional problems. Lets’ face it, most women would rather raise their children with the man they conceived with, but life does not always turn out the way we plan. Yet, this is no reason to beat yourself up, or feel as if you have failed as a parent. If you are giving your child love, emotional support, financial support, and keeping them clothed, and fed you need to pat yourself on the back don’t have a pity party!
Here are some ways you can truly lead and succeed as a single parent:
1. Never speak poorly of your child’s father in front of your chid/children.
This will only cause the child to have unsettled feelings about a person they care about. More importantly, in the long run your child’s image of you may not turn out positively.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other family households with two parents.
We all come from unique family backgrounds and yours is no different.
3. Provide unconditional love and emotional support to your child/children
Love your child /a child in the same way God loves us. Let them know, no matter how tough life may get you will always be there. Also, reiterate to the child the father loves them as well despite the circumstances.
4 Help your child develop; build leadership qualities and self-esteem
Help your child/children find things, which they are passionate about, such as learning ventures, sports, volunteerism etc. This will allow your child to have a place to express his/her energy and creativity in a positive way.
5. Believe in yourself as a parent, and have fun with your child/children.
Parenthood is no easy task, and it’s more difficult if you must do it alone. However, you can do this, you have made it this far so keep going. Have fun learning and exploring with your children. Believe you are doing your best, and know you are leading and succeeding as a single parent so take a bow!
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Written By: Danyell Know, WMin20s Journalist