Children of Single Parents
Almost never do we as parents get to know what is
really on the minds of our children.
1 million children each year become children of single parents in the U.S.
20 million children under the age of 18 live in single parent homes in the U.S.
95% are unchurched
Helping Kids Cope as Children of Single Parents
For children, divorce, separation, never having a parent and loss of a parent can be stressful, sad, and confusing. At any age, kids may feel uncertain or angry at the prospect of mom and dad splitting up or dieing. As a parent, you can make the process and its effects less painful for your children. Helping your kids cope with these situations means providing stability in your home and attending to your children's needs with a reassuring, positive attitude.
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What the children of single parents want you to know...
Children hate divorce.
Children tend to think that they are the cause of the divorce or separation.
They hate 2 homes, 2 sets of parents, 3 or 4 adults telling them what to do instead of two parents.
They hate being forced to move between their parent’s homes.
Their lives are more complicated and stressful now.
They love and need both of their parents. Please don’t fight or put my other parent down!
What I need from my mom and dad: A child’s list of wants...
I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.
Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.
When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all.
When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.
Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mom and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems.
What to say and how to say it to your children...
Tell the truth
Say “I love you
Start a Child of Divorced support group in your area
We can help
Normal reactions to divorce, separation and death of a parent
Anger. Your kids may express their anger, rage, and resentment with you and your spouse for destroying their sense of normalcy.
Anxiety. It’s natural for children to feel anxious when faced with big changes in their lives.
Mild depression. Sadness about the family’s new situation is normal, and sadness coupled with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness is likely to become a mild form of depression.
It will take some time for your kids to work through their issues about the divorce, separation or death of a parent, but you should see gradual improvement over time.
The average time is 2 years.
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A must have for Single Parents
Split - The Trailor
A video about children of divorce starring children of divorce. splitfilm.org
From Ellen Bruno
Help your kids express feelings.
For kids, divorce, separation & death of a parent can feel like loss: the loss of a parent, the loss of the life they know. You can help your children grieve and adjust to new circumstances by supporting their feelings.
Children of single parents need stability
and routine in their lives.
Look at what your children are going through from their perspective.
2010 - present
2010 - present
Letter from a child of single parents:
I miss you! I cry at night in my bed so Mama doesn’t get sad. Are you ok? Where do you sleep? When will I see you? Mama said youd meet me at McDonald’s next Friday. Don’t forget!
From “The Switching Hour” by Evon O. Flesberg
Resources for Parenting
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Parenting is hard work
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