Co-Parenting: The Best Solution for Single Mothers
By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw
Marriages dissolve and relationships end. Though the goal and message should always promote life- long partnerships, the reality is sometimes relationships don’t last. When there are children involved mothers and fathers must find a productive and respectful strategy to continue raising their children. In most cases, children continue living with their mothers whether by consensual agreement from the parents or court ordered. To ensure that children of these circumstances are raised morally, economically, and psychologically sound, their fathers must remain in their lives.
During the Bronx Fathers Taking Action Forum, in New York City, featured in the documentary ON MY OWN, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. posed a question. He asked “why do fathers feel like they can’t be in a child’s life if they are no longer married or in a relationship with the child’s mother?” He then ended by saying, “a father should be in a child’s life whether or not he’s in a marriage with the child’s mother.” This has to be the mindset of fathers and mothers.
Most of society agrees that mothers should raise their children alongside the fathers. Research included in the 2011 National Fatherhood Initiative highlighted that 69% of Americans believe more single women having children without a male partner is bad for society. The overwhelming opinion most likely derives from the drastically higher percentage of children raised in single parent, mostly female-headed homes, compared to two-parent homes, likelihood to commit crimes and drop out of school. Not to mention single mothers are more likely to fall into poverty.
Conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation provide a one solution cure all for single mothers which is marriage. This solution doesn’t address if the parents are divorcing or ended relationships that never resulted in marriage. Though marriage is a great solution for single mothers, co parenting with their children’s father(s) is a more realistic approach. A great approach is for single mothers, at all times, to encourage their children’s father to be active in their lives.
In order to accomplish healthy co-parenting single mothers and fathers must continue to maintain respect and open communication with each other. Issues that plagued the marriage/relationship shouldn’t prevent parents from jointly raising the child. The objective must always be what’s best for the children. Once that is established, the intrinsic details about visitation, child support, education, and faith based dynamics can take place successfully. The end result is for children to have all the necessities and even luxuries at times, to grow up loved, complete, and well taken care of. This will result in significant decreases in single motherhood.