The Associated Press released a new statistic today that one in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent. The article pointed out some of the factors that explain why the U.S. has a higher percentage compared to other countries. Factors include the U.S. has a greater acceptance of single-parent child rearing compared to other countries and has a lack of policies to help support families. The article also pointed out that the sense of “marrying for life” is not as prevalent.
This article doesn’t really surprise me since I know a lot of fellow single parents out there; however, it did bring to light a lot of questions about why the U.S. doesn’t have more support programs in place for single parents. I didn’t know until today that it was common among other countries (except the U.S.) to offer paid maternity leave and childcare as work options. I hope that our lawmakers are working hard to help single parents, especially with climbing poverty rates among single parents.
While I understand how there is a decreased “marrying for life” sense in this day and age, I wouldn’t want to use that to blame people for being single parents. So many people I know (myself included), worked so hard at keeping their marriage together for their child(ren), but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things do not work out. I am also convinced that my daughter is a lot happier now than she was when my ex-husband and I were together. She used to mirror my actions, so if I was anxious, upset, tense, etc., she would act the same way. That made me feel even worse than I felt already. Today, she is a happy child, living in a happy, tense-free home and I am grateful for it. I will also say that I feel my ex-husband has really stepped up and is a good dad to her. She loves him so much and it makes me happy that when it is his weekend to have her, he makes sure they do fun activities together.
With all that said, there is no denying we single parents have our work cut out for us. However, we have such a great opportunity to show our child(ren) how we are good role models for them and other single parents. Also, we teach our child(ren) that despite the potential hardships along the way, we choose the path that is ultimately best for them and us.
Do you find this new statistic surprising? Do you feel the sense of “marrying for life” has decreased over the decades? What do you think the U.S. policy makers should do to help single parents?