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Single Parents

     Since the 1950's, families have changed in the way they are made up and the members that are involved. There no longer exists the "typical" family made up of two parents and a few kids. An ever-increasing type of family is the single parent family. If you live with one parent, it is important to know that there are tons of other families just like yours. In fact, about 20 million kids in the U.S. live with one parent! Divorce is the most common reason for this. Parents may also simply separate from each other, or they may never have lived together at all. And, of course, sometimes a parent dies.

     Living with one parent instead of two can bring out a lot of emotions. These feelings can be pretty strong, and they can be confusing, too. You might feel terribly sad because your dad died, but you may also feel angry that he left you. You might feel happy that your parents split up and aren't fighting anymore, but you may also feel upset when your mom brings home a date. You might love the uncle or grandma who takes care of you, but sometimes you might wish you could have one family with both a mom and a dad.

     Emotions all by themselves aren't either good or bad; they're just feelings. Because living with one parent can sometimes be stressful, it can help to talk about it. Try a school counselor, spiritual leader, teacher, or any adult you feel comfortable with. Talking with other kids whose moms or dads are single can be a great idea. And be sure to share what you're feeling with your own mom or dad, too.

Time Troubles

     Not having enough time with your dad or mom can be difficult. When you live with one parent, that person really has to do the work of two people. Besides a job, your mom or dad is responsible for caring for the kids, the house, the yard, the car, the pets - everything that grown-ups do! And besides all that, your dad or mom would like to be able to spend more time just hanging out with you, too. So what can you do about "time troubles?"

     One of the best ways is to hold a family meeting. Gather everyone together for a friendly talk, and listen to each other. Look at your schedules for work, school, and activities. Where can you build family time into the schedule? You could schedule certain nights where you will have a family dinner, or nights where you could go to a movie.

     You could also help around the house. You and your family can make up a schedule about the certain chores that need to be done and who will do what when. This way you can take some of the pressure off your parent and have more time to spend with them.

     Living with one parent can be tough at times, but it can also be a great experience. By accepting extra responsibilities at home, you'll help your mom or dad when they go off to work. It's also a chance for you to make your own important contribution to the family, learn new things, and become more independent.

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