The single-parent family is no longer a nontraditional family structure in society but there are a variety of challenges that single parents might face in the pursuit of their child's well-being and educational success. If you are a single parent, it's important to know how your child can be impacted so you can help her to be successful in school.
Never Enough Time
As the sole parent you're responsible for working, maintaining a household and spending time with your youngsters -- all before any personal time for you. While it may feel like you don't have enough time to help your child with her homework and school projects, it's important that you set aside time everyday to help your child with her school-related activities, according to Scholastic. While you may be preoccupied with work concerns or the reasons behind your single parenthood, a lack of focus on your child's academic pursuits may result in lower grades, an unwillingness to do school work and a lack of enthusiasm for school that was not there before. If you make time for your child, giving her support and love while working on homework, Healthy Children suggests that your child may be more capable of adjusting to living in a single parent home.
Divorce, separation or the death of a parent may cause your child to feel angry, frustrated or insecure. These strong emotions can negatively impact his ability and willingness to learn while at school or when doing homework. According to Scholastic, the ability to concentrate and learn depends on the mood your child is in while at school. If he is angry or frustrated, he will be focusing on what is making him feel that way rather than paying attention to his teachers. Healthy Children recommends setting aside time each day to listen to your child's feelings and brainstorm ways to help him cope with his emotions so he can concentrate on his studies. Let him know that you are available to communicate any time he feels the need -- even if that means over the phone while you're on break at work or at night when you're tucking him into bed.
Strapped for Cash
According to Healthychildren.org, many single parents worry a great deal about finances and whether one income is enough to support a family. You may be concerned that you don't make enough money or you may know that you don't have any extra funds. A lack of resources may impact your child's education, particularly if she attends a private school that charges tuition. You may also be spending so much time worrying about money that you are not able to spend adequate time with your child doing school-related activities. Healthychildren.org recommends that you pay close attention to your finances and bills and do what you can to cut back and improve your financial situation. If you need more money, look for assistance programs or seek help from employment agencies to help you find a job that pays enough to support your family. Eliminating financial worries will ensure that your child has access to the type of education you desire, and will free up time for you to spend with your child.
- KidsHealth: Living with a Single Parent
- Scholastic: Children of Divorce
- Healthychildren.org: Stresses of Single Parenting
- Scholastic: 5 Emotions That Block Learning
- "School Effectiveness and School Improvement;" Single-Parent Family Forms and Children's Educational Performance in a Comparative Perspective: Effects of School's Share of Single-Parent Families; Marloes de Lange, et al.; 2013