According to a recent report on NBC News, a study by the Pew Research Center found that the number of single fathers in the U.S. is on the rise, with 2.6 million households led by a single father in 2011 -- a ninefold increase from 1960, when single fathers numbered about 300,000. If you are facing the challenges of single fatherhood, reach out to a support system of friends, family and community resources. Additionally, seek out programs for single fathers, locally and nationally, that offer valuable support.
The Fatherhood Project
The Fatherhood Project, based out of Massachusetts General Hospital, offers fathering skills groups, community outreach, clinical services and current research in order to advance the role of fathering in children’s lives. The Fatherhood Project highlights information from Dr. Kyle Pruett, child psychiatrist and professor at Yale University, who reports that children with involved fathers are twice as likely to enter college or find stable employment after high school, have greater problem-solving abilities and a greater capacity for empathy toward others.
Parents Without Partners
Parents Without Partners is an international non-profit membership organization focusing on the welfare of single parents and their children. Single parents can join chapters located throughout the U.S. and Canada. The website allows you to search for a chapter in your region. The program provides opportunities to meet others in similar situations to share support, parenting techniques and friendship. Single fatherhood may feel isolating at times, and membership organizations can provide an opportunity to meet peers who share many of the same joys and challenges of single parenthood.
National Fatherhood Initiative
The National Fatherhood Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of children by educating and engaging fathers. According to the organization, father absence is strongly linked to poverty, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, abuse and suicide. The Initiative provides resources for fathering including articles, pod casts, videos, tools and news. The site includes a father blog and social-media platform geared toward helping fathers communicate, access resources and share stories. Additionally, fathers can sign up to receive free weekly emails with tips and advice on parenting issues.
Unique Challenges and Rewards
While the majority of single parents in the U.S. are mothers, single fathers may face unique challenges with less readily available services. Father involvement is crucial to the development and well-being of children. Single dads have a special opportunity to provide their children with emotional support, self-esteem and life skills. Single fathers can seek help and support from programs that understand and value their role. Fathers make irreplaceable contributions to their children’s lives and can have valuable relationships with their children throughout the lifespan.