We’re all familiar with Grandparents' Day, honoring and respecting grandparents for their love and support of us and our children. Everyone’s also familiar with Mother's Day and Father’s Day; celebrating the hard work and commitment of mothers and fathers around the globe. But, are you aware of Single Parents' Day?
Single Parents' Day was initially recognized in 1984, when Proclamation 5166 was presented to, and signed by President Ronald Reagan.
“Many single parents in America are making valiant efforts on behalf of their children under trying circumstances. Whether it is a deserted spouse forced to work and care for children simultaneously, or a spouse who is not receiving child support that has been awarded by a court, or an unwed mother...single parents deserve our recognition and appreciation for their demonstrated dedication to their young. At the same time, we should also recognize the vital and ongoing role a large percentage of non-custodial parents play in the nurturing process of their offspring. Their sacrifices, devotion, and concern reflect the bonds of caring for those they have brought into this world. Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional, and social support they need to take their places as productive and mature citizens. With the active interest and support of friends, relatives, and local communities, they can do even more to raise their children in the best possible environment.” -President Ronald Reagan (You can read the proclamation in its entirety here).
It is important to note, that data on single-parent households has changed since 1984. Thirty-four years later, it’s important to note that roughly 20% of single parents in the United States are fathers. It is also important to note, that “single-parent” is not equivalent to “struggling parent.”
For many American families, parents understand that although they may have a child together, sometimes it’s better to raise the children apart, for a variety of reasons. The important thing about single parent households, is that the custodial and non-custodial parents understand the importance of effective co-parenting. Here are a few tips to help children cope with co-parenting:
- Remind them that they are loved by both parents, who choose to parent together, although living apart.
- Have a conversation with them about their feelings. Give them an outlet to express their thoughts about their parents not being together, before it shows negatively in other areas in their lives...like schoolwork, relationships with their peers, and internal challenges with themselves.
- Create a “co-parenting plan” with the child(ren) and the other parent.
If you want to support a friend who is a single parent, but aren’t sure how to do so, here are a few ideas:
- View it no differently than Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day. Give them card. A small token of appreciation is always welcome! Remember, the way all parents care for their children has a huge effect on the “village.” Besides, everyone wants to feel appreciated!
- Arrange a playdate with their children. This gives the children time to play, and you all chance to discuss and share best practices in parenting, and opportunities to release energy and thoughts that all parties may be experiencing.
- Mentor their child - especially if the non-custodial parent is of the isn’t around often.
Did you know, there are colleges that provide programming specifically for their students who are single parents? If you aspire to earn a degree, and are a single parent, DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! Take a look at these colleges, and inquire about their programs for #singleparents:
- Berea College
- Baldwin Wallace University
- Endicott College
- College of Saint Mary
- Eastern Michigan University
- Mills College
- Misericordia University
- Wilson College
How do you celebrate and acknowledge Single Parents' Day? Share in the comments below:
Ms. Cydny A. Neville, MAEd is the President/CEO of the Neville Empowerment Network, Inc., and has over a decade of experience working with agencies across Northern Virginia, to enhance the lives of youth; and nearly two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector. Author of the co-parenting children’s series, “Baby, You Are Loved,” and a Facilitator of Commonwealth Court Mandated Parenting Seminars, she has a wealth of experience facilitating community outreach programs throughout the Commonwealth, and truly "Puts the "C" in Community!"