Tag Archives: single parents

Study Sheds Light on Single Parent Stress

Self-esteem plays a key part in a single mother’s happiness, but makes little difference to the life satisfaction of single fathers, new research shows.

Research by an academic at Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University, Bronwyn Harman, into the life satisfaction of different family formations, showed that single parents believed they were still viewed negatively by society, even though they accounted for 17 per cent of families in Australia.

Dr Harman interviewed scores of single parents, and then rated their life satisfaction based on their resilience, self-esteem and social support. She found that while all three factors contributed to the happiness of single mothers, self-esteem ”had no impact” on the life satisfaction of single fathers.

”Single mothers can have lots of social support, but unless they have that internal self-belief, they don’t believe what they’re being told,” Dr Harman said.

”With dads, they just believe what they’re told – ‘you’re doing a good job’.” Dr Harman found little difference in the ”relatively low level” of life satisfaction among both single fathers and single mothers. ”When you combine the negative stereotypes with the day-to-day struggle of being a single parent, it would generally not be a very happy place to be,” she said.

All single parents said they were stigmatized by society. ”Single mothers said partnered mothers were threatened by them, viewing them as potential husband stealers,” Dr Harman said.

”Single fathers said society viewed them as a ‘failure’, ‘with suspicion’, and ‘rejected’. There is an incorrect but pervasive view that only mothers know how to parent.”

Single dads told of spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for access to their child, being regularly excluded from special occasions involving their child, and being cut out of the communication loop by their child’s school.

Single mothers reported finding daily life a struggle, with no one to share the burden of illness and tiredness, or their parenting successes.

Dr Harman said a lack of social support for single parents contributed to their low levels of life satisfaction.

”Being a parent with a partner is hard enough,” she said. ”You can’t imagine what it would be like juggling and struggling all by yourself with no one to fall back on.” Justine Proctor became a single mother five years ago when her husband – from whom she was separated – died.

”There are not a lot of good things about being a single parent,” she said.

Now her son, Luke Harford, is on the cusp of adolescence, Ms Proctor feels keenly the lack of a partner. ”My son is just at the age where he does need a father figure around, a good male role model,” she said.

Ms Proctor said her ”saving grace” was the Single with Children support group.

She said the best thing about her family set-up was her bond with Luke. ”I’m hoping the bond is going to last through the teenage years,” she said.

Financial Planning for the Single Parent

As a single parent it’s even more important than ever to have a short term and long term financial plan.  At About.com they have an article that covers some of the financial planning that you need to think about for you and your child.  The article covers:

  • Creating a Budget
  • Getting Child Support
  • Finding Additional Help
  • Setting up an Emergency Fund
  • Life Insurance
  • Education Funding

While the article doesn’t go into a great amount of detail, if you are just starting to think about financial planning it’s a good place to start.  Many single parents don’t even think about financial planning until they are hit with a crisis; and that’s the worst time to start.

You can read the entire article by clicking on Finances for a Single Parent

Single Parent Fed up with Indulgent Grandma

From  The Boston Globe

Q. I am 26 and a single parent to a 3-year-old girl. I love my daughter more than anything. However, in the past few months, she has become a brat, doing everything she can to test me.

Due to recent financial problems, we had to move in with my mother until I can finish my degree and get a job. No matter what discipline I use, nothing works because my mother undermines me. There is no consistency in what is right or wrong. My mother always gives in to her every request.

Once in a while, I will spank my daughter. My mother, however, cornered me and gave me a lecture on how awful I am for spanking my child. Yet I can clearly recall being spanked by my mother when I was little.

Mom questions my parenting in front of my daughter. I am grateful that she opened her home to us, but I can’t be an effective parent when she constantly undercuts my authority. How can I get her to keep her child-rearing opinions to herself?


A. While we agree with your mother that discipline does not require spanking, we also understand how difficult it is to raise a child when an indulgent grandparent rules the roost. First, have a sit-down discussion with Mom when your daughter is asleep. Get her to acknowledge that a lack of discipline is not healthy for her grandchild. Compromise by agreeing to use different forms of discipline other than spanking. Create rules you can both abide by. If that doesn’t work, bring Mom to your next pediatrician appointment, and ask the doctor to speak to her. And find other living arrangements as soon as possible.