Tuesday, May 02, 2006

“Poverty may be the most stressful challenge facing single-parent families.”
- Journal of Marriage and the Family

Children rely on their parents for many kinds of support: emotional and financial. To young children wrapped in the arms of their parents they suddenly feel safe. That is the easy emotional support that parents provide for their children. As children grow up parents hold the responsibility of providing for their children’s every need. Until children are old enough to venture out into the working world, every lollipop, meal, article of clothing, or expenses for extracurricular activities come solely from their parents. When a family has undergone a divorce, a parent is erased from the picture. Along with one’s income to help provide for their children’s every waking need. Families are then left with less amounts of income to sustain their home and children.

It is in fact single parent families who suffer the most financially. Think about it, after a family has gone from the transition from a nuclear family to a single parent family the family suffers due to a lack of income. A nuclear family has the benefit of having two incomes in order for the families’ needs to be met. Apply a divorce; the amount of income is then cut in half. Today income within single parent families show, “34 percent of single mother-headed households and 16 percent of single father-headed households live below the poverty level (Field and Casper, 2001)” (Family Trends).

Single parent families suffer financially, but the single parents carry the burden of having to make enough money in order to provide for their children. The load due to the loss of a two parent income, now a single parent income puts an enormous amount of stress on the parent. According to an article “Single Parents” published in Family Trends, “loss of income due to divorce an increase of stress is placed among single parent families because of the constant concern to provide for the family. Stress becomes consumed by day-to-day needs: housing, food, and child care.” Parents have their concerns towards money in order to give their family everything that they need. Missy Brittain states, “There were weeks where I worked 80 hours a week in order to make enough money to provide for my family. I did this all because I wanted the best for my children. Our family did struggle in terms on finances, but I knew that I was working so that my children would have all that they needed to grow up in a healthy environment. I hated the thought of not being able to give my children the childhoods they deserved. That was what kept me going, I wanted to be the best mom for my children despite the fact that Jim, Elizabeth and Amy’s father, and I were not able to work through our marriage. At the time I knew that divorce was the best thing for our family, despite the financial struggles our family dealt with afterwards.”


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