National Single Parents Day is March 21
Raising children is difficult enough when there are two of you doing it – for single parents, it is even more challenging. In recognition of the hard work, devotion and sacrifices of single parenting, March 21st has been set aside to observe National Single Parent Day. This is a day to support and appreciate a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker or someone else who is a single parent. If you are a single parent, use this day to make it special and to be especially supportive of yourself.
The experienced and compassionate Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the issues involved with and difficulties of single parenting, especially if you are going through a divorce that involves child-custody and visitation matters. We offer a free consultation to examine your individual situation and can guide you through the process of dealing with your divorce, custody, and child-care issues.
Why National Single Parents Day
The idea of Single Parents Day began in 1984, with an article written by Janice Moglen. She hoped that Single Parent Day would gain the recognition associated with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In collaboration with the organization Parents Without Partners, she petitioned to have states declare recognition of Single Parent Day on March 21, chosen because Parents Without Partners began on March 21, 1957. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed and declared March 21, 1984, as National Single Parent Day in Proclamation 516.
The proclamation noted that:
- Before they are eighteen, about half of our nation’s children will have lived part of their life with a single parent who strives to fill the role of both mother and father.
- Many single parents in America are making valiant efforts on behalf of their children under trying circumstances.
- Single parents deserve our recognition and appreciation for their demonstrated dedication to their young.
- We should also recognize the vital and ongoing role a large percentage of non-custodial parents play in the nurturing process of their offspring.
- Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional and social support they need to take their place as productive and mature citizens.
- They can do even more with the active interest and support of friends, relatives and local communities
Stresses of Single Parenting
Single parents raising children face added pressure and stress. They have the burden of day-to-day responsibilities and decision-making, and must provide greater support for their children while they themselves may feel alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org, offers suggestions to help reduce that stress, including:
- Finances — Learn to budget your money, keep track of household bills, and do what you can to improve your finances.
- Talk Early and Often — Talk to children about the changes in the family and allow them to talk about their feelings.
- Find Support and Use It — Don’t try to handle everything by yourself. Utilize support of family and friends, other single parents, support groups, and your pediatrician.
- Take Time For Family and Keep a Routine — Set aside some time each day to enjoy your children — playing, reading, working on arts-and-crafts projects, or just listening to music together. Schedule meals, chores, and bedtimes so that your children have routines and know what to expect each day.
- Take Time For and Take Care of Yourself — Time spent away from your children is important, so have an adult life and do things you enjoy alone or with friends. Do things that you like, exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough rest, and see your own doctor regularly.
- Maintain Consistent Discipline — If you can, work with your divorced or separated parent to discipline children the same way.
- Treat Kids Like Kids — Don’t treat your children like substitutes for a partner or rely on them for comfort or sympathy. Your children are affected by your mood and attitude and need your praise and love through hard times. Be honest about your feelings of sadness and loss, but let them know things will get better.
- Find Good Child Care — Good child care you can trust is essential for your children’s well-being and your peace of mind.
Custody and Visitation Issues
If you are a single parent in a divorce situation, be aware of your rights under the The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The goal of the act is to allow a parent that has less parenting time to still be equal in making decisions in the major areas of a child’s life:
- Education – choice of school, special programs, or tutors
- Healthcare – choice of health providers and treatments
- Religious upbringing
- Choice of extracurricular activities.
During a divorce, the courts will set up the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, deciding how much time the children will spend with each parent and which parent will have decision-making authority for the major issues in the child’s life. This must be determined in every case according to the specific arrangement that would be in the individual child’s best interests.
Parents are free to come to an arrangement regarding parenting time and responsibilities on their own, which is almost always preferable to litigation. If both parents agree on how to split and share the different responsibilities, they can enter into a written parenting agreement. If the parents do not agree, the judge will examine the facts of the case, and use the best interests of the child standard in reaching its decision.
Contact Us For Help
The facts and circumstances of each case are different, and since issues are so complex and vital to a child’s well-being, it makes sense for single parents to seek legal counsel. The skilled family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., can guide you through the process of seeking parental responsibility and time. We represent and advise clients in all types of child custody matters.
For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage County custody lawyer, contact us online or call 630-305-0222. Visit our firm’s child custody information center for valuable background information.