When trying to decide if single parenting is the best option for you and your baby, consider your current situation as well as your future hopes and dreams.
What is your current situation?
- Do you have a place for you and your baby to live?
- What financial resources do you have?
- Have you finished your education/job skills training? Is that important to you?
- Do you have a support system of family or friends who you can be sure will help you?
- Do you highly value your independence or are you willing to make sacrifices there?
- Do you enjoy going out with friends?
- Do you enjoy dating?
What are your personal hopes and dreams for the future?
- What do you hope to be doing in five years?
- What type of career do you want?
- Do you hope to be married one day?
- How will parenting a child affect your plans?
What does a child need?
- Think beyond the obvious of food, diapers, clothes.
- How will you provide stability (emotional and material)?
During your pregnancy, friends and family often say they are eager to baby sit and help out. Ask these questions to see if they can really follow through on their good intentions:
- Do their schedules allow them to care for your child?
- How would you feel about any sacrifices (financial, time, independence, etc.) they would be making on your behalf?
- How do they feel about helping when your child is a two year old? or a 10 year old?
Now let’s consider the children of single parents because ultimately, the decision about marriage, single parenting and adoption should be made with the child’s best interest in mind. We know that there are some terrific single parents out there with some happy, well adjusted children. We also know that there are sad statistics regarding some children who are raised in single parent families. Here are some of the difficult findings research reveals:
- These children are six times more likely to live in poverty than those who grow up with two parents.(1)
- Children of single parents have a 77% greater risk of being harmed by physical abuse and an 87% greater risk for physical neglect. (2)
The statistics regarding abuse and neglect are the most concerning. It is quite easy for a single-mom to become overwhelmed with life and give less and less of her physical and emotional energy to her child. Some single moms are not always available to protect her child from the harm of acquaintances or family members when she must leave her child in their care. These are just a couple of issues that can lead to child abuse and neglect.
These statistics do not mean that this will happen to your child, but they are an important reminder that you will need to carefully protect your child from these dangers if you decide to parent him or her. APO exists because we don’t want your child to become one of these statistics.
What are a few characteristics you might see in successful single parenting?
- Strong physical and emotional support from extended family.
- A loving, dependable, male figure who is in the child’s life on a daily basis.
- Dependable and adequate income.
- A mom who is very nurturing, very patient, and who operates well on little sleep.
- A mom who can successfully juggle school and/or work with her parenting responsibilities.
- A mom who is willing to sacrifice an active social life.
When you come for counseling at Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, we can help you explore your options so you can plan for your future with confidence.
1. Pat Fagan, ” How Broken Families Rob Children of their Chance for Future Prosperity,” Heritage Backgrounder, No.1 June 11, 1999.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect ( Washington: Government Printing Office, 1996), p.xviii.