Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Tribute to Single Dads on Father's Day

In 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16% of single parents with kids at home were single dads. That adds up to 1.8 million American men shepherding their kids through the morning routine, ferrying them around after school, and serving as cook, maid, and homework helper at night. Day in and day out. Rinse, squeeze, repeat. A full 25% of these men were never married at all, and a frightening 57% of them struggle to provide for themselves and their children on earnings of less than $50,000 a year.

Single moms factor prominently in our collective consciousness since women in the single-parent demographic hold a comfortable majority. Undoubtedly, our cherished stereotype of the nurturing maternal figure contributes to this, as well. Mothers who go it alone are the recipients of our goodwill, not to mention charitable donations and community-funded programs. Men, on the other hand, are often assumed to be more interested in baseball stats and quarterly reports than developmental milestones. Not only do single fathers have to make do with fewer resources, but they also have to contend with disbelief and derision at their desire to parent. So let's dispel some of the myths that hound America's real heroes!

Despite the bias against single dads, research shows that they too are effective caregivers and that they balance work and home responsibilities with about the same competence as single moms. Kids of single dads are no less well-adjusted than kids of single moms, and they tend to have better relationships with both parents. Some studies indicate that children, especially boys, fare even better when they live with single fathers, scoring higher on measures of self-esteem, maturity, independence, resilience, and risk tolerance than those with only mothers at home. In addition, since men earn more than women, they may be able to provide greater financial stability for little ones. And, believe it or not, that extra testosterone doesn't translate into more misplaced aggression toward vulnerable sons and daughters; single mothers are five times more likely than single fathers to fatally injure their children. It's not a big leap from those findings to the realization that adult offspring of single fathers are just as happy, well-educated, and prosperous as those who grew up with their mothers. In short, a loving parent is a loving parent, and while the differences between Mars and Venus may forever intrigue, mystify, and infuriate us, they don't have much bearing on our child-rearing skills.

This Father's Day, Singletude celebrates the unsung single dads out there. Thank you for the tireless and often thankless work you do to raise the next generation. Because of you, 3 million children will sleep tonight knowing that they are loved, supported, and safe. Because of you, those children will grow up understanding responsibility, hard work, and sacrifice. Because of you, they will become adults who can truly say that you were their heroes.

Resources for Single Fathers
Fathering Magazine
Single Dad
Single Dads Town
The Single Fathers' Lighthouse

Are you or were you raised by a single dad? If so, what were some of the challenges and rewards you experience(d) as a single father or the child of a single father? Do you think children can thrive with single fathers as well as they can with single mothers?

Fun Link of the Day

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have a rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a Singletude Q&A or your rant or rave in a Singletude Sound-off!


The Singlutionary said...

I really respect and admire single dads and I think that they tend to go unnoticed and their goodness goes unsung!

Clever Elsie said...

Singlutionary: Absolutely! I think if we all expressed that more often, there would be less stigma for those men who want to be the primary parent.

The Singlutionary said...

I know some kids who would benefit from having their father as the primary parent. There are deadbeat dads but there are also deadbeat moms. Also, I think that as long as we have the perception that men are naturally the worser parent, we'll have more dads seeming to abandon their kids when really they were shut out by the mom and felt that it was best for the kids not to fight her.

Jazzie Casas said...

Dad's know the crucial role they play in their children’s lives. They know that nothing is more important than their children growing up with a fighting chance at life. They know that divorce has already stripped their children of countless fundamental necessities. They know that the reality of a broken home is a greatly lowered potential and ability for future success. So, real divorced dads do something about it.

Proud to be a Single Dad

nahidworld said...

Actually, Being a single father
is a difficult job, but one with innumerable rewards. Whether you are a divorcee or a widow, being the prime caregiver for your children is a big responsibility that will likely become the focus of your life. Even those single fathers who work and have childcare help understand that raising their children is their life’s work.