Saturday, April 26, 2008

Single Parent Families

In an earlier post I expressed my concern about single parents families, and in particular children from broken homes, being stigmatised so it was interesting to see an article about the the long-term effects of growing up in a family with only one parent in the Telegraph today. In common, the three divorced mothers interviewed work, receive little in the way of financial support from the children's fathers and haven't re-partnered. Two out of three of the teenagers interviewed had initially had contact with their fathers but this had waned over the years.The third still had regular contact.

The children's memories of their parent's marriage breakdown are all very sad and what they say below demonstrates the impact their parent's relationship breakdown has on young people. However, they are far from social misfits with behavioural problems and are a credit to their parents.

Lucinda, 15. "It's not what your parents are doing that makes you a person. It's who you are and how they bring you up.

I can't imagine wanting to get married. It's nice to meet someone new, to have your first kiss and first date, but if you got married, you'd only be with one person."

Josh, 14. "We're not poor, but we're not rich either. I think that has helped me to understand the importance of money. Mum always says I’m a good saver. When Mum is doing well she will give me canteen money, but if she is not doing so well she will make me lunch boxes.

I think it's made me better with people, because I always try to get along with everyone – I know that falling out can have big consequences, although at first it may not seem so."

Jeremy, 16. "I do my laundry and ironing, empty the bins and mow the lawn – but I don't think we do enough around the house. Mum gets stressed. I think she is courageous and is probably more hard-working than other parents, and that means a lot to me.

It hasn't put me off marriage. It's probably made me want to get married more. I know what I don’t want. I know what husband I don't want to be. Like my dad. He just doesn't seem to put any effort into anything. He just doesn't seem to care."


Swiss Tony 28 April, 2008 09:41  

Fi, very interesting. What struck me though was Jeremy saying his dad didn't put in any effort.

I have never understood the seemingly millions of men who 'don't put in any effort', yet apparently fathers seem to fall into 2 camps, those desperate to see their kids, and those that don't bother.

Is it that they don't bother, or do they become so disheartened by the system that they eventually give up banging their head against the brick wall.

Has there ever been any research that has asked the fathers who after 2 years give up on their kids in droves asking 'Do you not care, or have you had enough of the constant futile battle?'

Personally, after 7 years I have no fight left in me, because it has all been so futile. Common sense and the children's wishes has always been ignored with the result that I have been marginalised to a point of non existence in their day to day lives.

Had I known then what I know now I would have been one of the fathers that give up after suffering severe bruising to the head at my first bang my head against the wall session.

Going back to my point, do men actually not care, or is it just the mothers saying they don't, while behind the scenes they make the whole process so unbearable that they give up?

Fiona 28 April, 2008 19:44  

I'm sure there aren't one or two causes for contact breaking down, there must be literally hundreds of reasons. Taken at face value it does seem as though as Jeremy got older his father became more involved with a new family and as a consequence contact became less frequent.

There were 4 children of the first family and the new partner had her own children so accommodating them all must have been a nightmare.

Unknown 30 December, 2010 08:55  

As a single parent of two, it wasn't such a problem for me to cope with having no man for the kids to look up to, since I regularly tell my kids on giving them the best care they'll ever need. Living through physical abuse from my ex-husband for many years (which my kids noticed one time), I thought that it was proper to part our ways with the help of the lawyers on family law (Jacksonville, Florida law firm) to settle the separation once and for all, for the welfare of my growing kids.

Perfect harmony in the family is totally essential for the kids to grow up in this environment, that's why the Jacksonville family lawyer is a godsend on giving us closure on the troublesome past.

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