Few of us imagine going it alone when we think about children. Instead, we picture the traditional family unit, with two parents sharing home and responsibility. Sadly, that doesn’t always work out. Even couples who are happy together at the time of conception can fall apart.
The person you thought would always be around could suddenly disappear altogether. Even in the case of joint custody, you'll go from being a family unit to a single-parent family, and that can be tough on you and your kids.
Luckily, single-parent families are no longer a rare or scorned sight. Instead, we're living in a society which is accepting and accommodating to the one parent experience. While losing a parenting partner can still come as a blow, then, it's now easier than ever to raise children alone.
Instead of assuming everything is over when their partner's leave, many single parents provide a whole new life for their kids. Whether you're new to single parenting or are looking for support, then, keep reading to find out all about the experience of the one-parent family.
Advantages of single-parent families
Not so long ago, single parents had to deal with a barrage of do-gooders, letting them know why single parenting put their kids at a disadvantage. Now, though, we're coming around to the more positive aspects of the single parenting journey, including -
Less home arguments
While parents might once have stayed together for the kids, then, it now seems that’s not the ideal solution we once thought. Instead, one parent families raise their kids in more peaceful and harmonious settings. You don’t need us to tell you how much better that’s liable to be for child development.
The best possible role model
Every parent hopes to be a good role model, and single parents achieve this goal more than most. Taking on a family single-handed requires guts, hard work, and dedication. These are all traits that you want your kids to witness and live up to. And, they’re not necessarily things that you would have to express if you were sharing the parenting burden.
Closer parent/child relationships
Many one parent families also enjoy closer parent/child relationships. This is because you will be the sole carer, and thus the person your children rely on for everything. The shared feeling of responsibility that often comes in one parent families can also work wonders for bringing your small unit together.
Single parent statistics
The consensus may be that one parent families are becoming more common, but it’s hard to see how much so without looking at the statistics behind the claim.
According to Gingerbread, for example, around one-quarter of dependent children come from single-parent families. That’s an astounding 3 million children, or an overall 22%. Of those single parents, approximately 90% are women, a fact which remains true even in the history of one-parent families.
Things are slowly changing in that respect, though, with the number of single fathers increasing incrementally over the last ten years.
Reasons for increase in single-parent families
While two-parent families still outweigh the one parent experience, single parents certainly aren’t the rarity they were a decade or two ago. It’s also important to note that campaigns like #singleparentstrength are making us more aware of this way of life. But, awareness alone isn’t entirely behind this increase in single parenting.
In reality, it’s hard to pinpoint one precise cause which stands out above others. Raising divorce rates do, undeniably, play a significant role here, with an average of 8.4 divorces in every 1,000 marriages.
Along the same vein, some studies suggest increases here are due to our stepping away from traditions like marriage and reducing the legal obligation to stay together. Whatever the leading cause, though, the fact remains that one-parent families are on the rise, and proud of it.
Single-parent family holidays
As much as single parenting is now about strength over shame, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a tough gig. Raising children is rife with stress and worry even when you have a partner to share the burden.
If you’re taking everything on your shoulders alone, then, it’s no surprise if you’re considering a single parent family holiday. This is, after all, the ideal opportunity for you all to get away without the constant pressure you can sometimes face at home.
The trouble is that, despite an increase in one-parent families, holiday packages often still cater to the nuclear family image. Hotels, for instance, usually charge for rooms on a 2-adult basis, meaning that single parents have to pay above the odds.
Activities, too, are often targeted at families of four or more. Luckily, some travel agents have taken note of this and are working to target the influx of one-parent families coming their way.
Some travel agents now partner with hotels in specific locations to bring room prices down for single adult occupants. Other such agents have also developed entire tailored packages for one-parent families.
These include single-parent group holidays, and activities targeted towards this new and upcoming family dynamic. All making it easier for you and your kids to get away!
Single parent travel insurance
Despite improvements in the holidays available, many single parents still find travel insurance a bit of a nightmare. In fact, many insurers don’t even allow you to purchase a family policy unless two adults are travelling. That’s a real problem, and it’s something which needs to change to cater for the changing face of families.
Luckily, while the industry is behind, some providers are now offering cover for single parent units. When seeking single parent travel insurance, then, you simply need to know the providers who offer deals which suit your situation. That way, you and your whole family will be able to enjoy holidays again, one parent and all.
Being a single parent can, undeniably, be tough. As you can see here, though, it’s fast on its way to getting easier, and your holiday hopes are the first things set to change!