Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Single Parent Families: Challenges and Strengths

GRADE: 25/25 (Excellent work!)
Lena Baron
Assignment 8

Single Parent Families:
Challenges and Strengths

Single parent families face many of the same challenges that dual parent families face. However, the struggle is more profound because they are left to overcome the challenges on their own. They have to balance work, childcare, housework, children’s activities, as well as visitation schedules. They are also faced with possible grief and emotional turmoil to overcome both within themselves as well as within the children.

One mother shared her story online, she said, “Now that my children are raised, I look back and wonder how we survived. I had two children, a low paying job, and an ex-husband who didn’t pay child support -- ever. I often worked two, and at times three, jobs just to keep a roof over our heads and a little bit of food on the table. I still have pangs of guilt. Why? Because I know that my children’s parental attention and guidance left a lot to be desired. I had no family to count on for help. Since I had to work many hours just to survive, I was not there for them. But I found that God kept His protective hand on them and gave me strength to endure.” (

This mother’s faith in God leads to one example of how single parent families can overcome their many challenges in a healthy way. One of the best ways for single parents to overcome their challenges is to seek out a strong and uplifting support group. It isn’t uncommon anymore to be a single parent. Luckily, it isn’t uncommon to find organized support groups for single parents either. Many states in the United States have programs specifically designed to strengthen single parent families. A person’s church might be a strong support group as well. There are also many groups and websites online where single parent families can find support.

According to Brigham Young University researchers asked a group of single parents how they were able to overcome the challenges they faced as single parents. They came up with a list of ways they overcame their struggles. They are as follows:
Acceptance of Responsibility, Commitment to Family, Open Communication, Successful Home Management, Care of Self, Maintain Traditions and Relationships, Have a Positive Outlook on Challenges. By taking responsibility, accepting their limitations, and maintaining the positive within their family, many single parent families are able to find happiness and stability within their family.

There are many challenges that single parent families face. However, there can also be many strengths within these families. For example, if there was a high contention rate within the family before a divorce, then chances are the family will experience less tension in their daily life after a divorce takes place. Single parent families are often inter-dependant families. Family members often find that they have to rely on each other in order for life to run smoothly.  

Within a single parent home, every member of the family plays a vital role. Within a dual parent household, the parents often take on the larger tasks of the family such as the grocery shopping, yard care, and deep housecleaning. Within a healthy single parent home, each family member is expected to take on these duties in order to keep the family in balance. This expectation and experience often teaches the children to take on responsibility and follow through with the tasks given to them.

Single parent families often find that their parent-child relationship is strong. They often depend upon each other in unique ways from dual parent families and their loyalty toward each other is a powerful bond. It takes effort to create and maintain a healthy single parent family, just as it takes effort for dual parent families. If the single parent will reach out for help when needed and teach the children how to work as a family team, it is likely that they will find success. 

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