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How to talk to a single parent

In a society with an increasing number of single parents, those who maintain primary child custody are still facing an uphill battle. In many ways, single mothers and fathers are marginalized. For example, it is assumed that most single mothers do not work, and that most single fathers are incapable of styling their daughters' hair or making food. In Maryland, many of these single parents are struggling on low incomes to keep their families afloat. They rely on friends and family members to support them through their divorce or breakup with their children's other parent. These individuals should be treated with respect. With that in mind, today, we discuss some topics that should be avoided when talking with a single parent.

Those who are talking to a single parent should not attempt to reassure them about their romantic future. They do not want to hear comments about the idea that they might "meet the right one." In fact, most are simply worried about keeping their existing family together. That assertion implies that the child's other parent was "wrong" for the situation, which is an unfair assumption.

Single parents can often become uncomfortable when confronted with phrases such as "I don't know how you do it." The fact is that those parents do not have a choice. There is no spouse to fall back on during difficult times. Instead, they call on their family members and friends to provide a sense of community that helps them maintain a positive outlook. Do not make comments that imply that single parenthood is like a flesh-eating disease; "I wouldn't wish that on anyone" is not a polite statement. Yes, being a single parent is tough, but it also has its benefits and blessings. It is important to remember that everyone's life path is different. Being a single parent can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Source:, "What not to say to a single mom" Wendy Fontaine, Sep. 05, 2013

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