If it takes a village to raise a child why do we have so many single parent households?

It’s difficult to maintain a household when two parents are in the home and yet there are some households that only have one parent keeping everything straight. Recently a friend reached out to me complaining about her child’s father and his lack of involvement in helping raise their child. She received a letter in the mail from the Division of Child Support Enforcement saying;

Federal regulations require the Family Support Division (FSD) to review child support orders upon request to determine if the support amount should be adjusted or if a medical support obligation is needed. FSD either elected to review or received a request to review the order for possible modification.

FSD staff will use the Missouri child support guidelines to determine the presumed child support amount. This means we will consider both your financial information and the other parent’s financial information. Staff will notify you of the review determination, and you will have an opportunity to challenge the determination if you do not agree.

Enclosed with the letter was a Financial and Informational Statement. This form asks for my friend’s annual wage, place of employment, number of hours worked and banking information. The amount owed in back pay for her teenager as of today’s date is $19,997.18. She explained how starting out the noncustodial parent was ordered to pay $50.00 a month and he refused. Now how in the world can a household run effectively on $50.00 a month??? To think that for as long as she can remember she’s had to sacrifice everything in order to make it possible for her and her child to live.

I didn’t know what to say to my friend struggling with the idea that a person could not only abandon the life they helped create but totally abandon the idea of supporting that child financially. How can a man allow the mother of his child/children struggle with having to raise him/her/them on her own? Now I’m aware that there are fathers that are custodial parents and maintain the household for the child/children within that household. I believe credit should be given to these men and they should be congratulated for doing what’s right.

As a community somewhere along the way we’ve separated and the victims of this great separation are the kids involved. I wish I could tell my friend that things will work out and that the father of her child would one day come around and lend a hand in the rearing of what’s to be our future. Only a man can teach a boy how to be a man.

I realize this may offend some single mothers, but the truth is we can only provide so much when it comes to rearing a young boy into becoming a man. Mothers can provide love and are nurturing. But when it comes to guidance and strength, being taught how to be a gentlemen and what’s expected overall from men, needs to come from a man.

When I think back to the slave narratives I’ve read; Women’s Slave Narratives by Annie L. Burton, Voices From Slavery edited by Norman R. Yetman, To be a Slave by Julius Lester (to name a few) the very beginning in most cases the narrator speaks of how the father was removed from the plantation leaving the mother to take care of the family, depending on the slave master for shelter, food, clothing and protection. Today the father removes himself from the household and the mother is left to depend on the system (public assistance) to help with maintaining the household.

I admit that not all households in the black community are setup this way. There are two parent households and both parents are actively involved in raising the children. But what about the households that are struggling to survive? What about these same single parent households where the parent has to spend all their waking hours working multiple jobs to make ends meet and have no time to spend rearing the child/children? How do we get our families back together? In order to do better, we have to learn how.

Currently we are losing our young black men at an enormous rate to death and or the prison system.. I believe the most important factor is the fact that a very high number of households with young men have just a mother in the household in which there’s a lack of a male presence. Of course I’m not an expert this is all from personal experience. I’m hoping that the men in our community wake up and realize the importance of their presence in the household regarding the rearing of their sons.

I was once a single mother and thought I was all my son needed when it came to rearing him. That wasn’t the truth. My husband plays a very intricate role in guiding my son. I’m blessed to have him. Right before my eyes I’m watching my son grow into a very respectable young man. I know it’s mostly because of the male presence in his life.

black family