Words by Sade Thompson
Standing ovations are awarded to the parent who sacrificed nights out with friends for teddy bears and bedtime stories. A round of applause for the time you were patient and answered every question followed by the ultimate question of “But, why?’’ and last but not least congratulations are in order for the men who treasure the priceless gift of being a dad.
America among many other countries is no stranger to children being born into singe parent households. Often time it is common to witness the mother as the responsible and sole parent and a rarity when it is just the father. In 1991 the United States Bureau of the Census accounted single parent homes to be made of “11,268,000 total U.S. custodial mothers and 2,907,000 total U.S. custodial fathers “(Current Population Reports, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991). No matter the hefty lead single mother statistics have over fathers, the facts shall not go unnoticed.
Divorce is credited to be the most common cause of a single parent homes. “In the United States, five of every six single-parent households are headed by a mother. Fathers, are only given the custody and allowed to play the role of single parent if the parent is widowed, the mother deserted her child or children, or the mother refuses custody of her child” (online article, “What are the common causes of single parenting”).
In any situation, whether it is death of a spouse, teenaged pregnancy or adoption, the care and lasting affect of the child is the main priority at hand. Online resource tool for single fathers, singlefather.com reveal, “Among children who live with a single parent, 24.2% live with their mother. Only 3.4% of children live with a single father. Single fathers might want to hide those statistics from their children, since children like to feel that they are part of the larger group. Children do not like to feel “different.”
Staying loyal to the child or children in their social settings, the single father successfully teaches at an understanding age that their personal circumstance is just as normal as any modern day family.
On the contrary while single fathers may feel as if rearing a child is solely left up to them, there is a helping hand as, “some single fathers have chosen to rely heavily on their own parents” (singlefather.com). The government smiles upon single fathers and their efforts in raising children. Separated Parenting Access and Resource Corner (SPARC) statistics show “24.5% of single custodial fathers work more than 44 hours weekly and 20.8% of single custodial fathers receive public assistance.”
A healthy portion of governmental funds such as grants and education specific grants are allocated to single fathers who desire to return to school. Similar to many cities, Richmond offers programs relevant to the construction of building healthy social settings and homes for fathers, men and boys. Man-Up Richmond is an initiative coordinated through the Richmond City Health District to reduce out of wedlock births, male drop-out, and increase two-parent families in the Richmond area. For more information visit: http://www.fatherhood.org.