Did you know that the United States has the highest rate of children residing in single-parent households in the world? With nearly 25% of children living this way, Americans across the country have found themselves wondering how this non-nuclear family norm is impacting children educationally.
According to Marripedia.org, family structure can play a significant impact in the educational outcome of a child. For example, over 57% of children who live in intact nuclear families attend college, in comparison to 47.5% of children who live in single-family homes.
Youth from single-parent homes typically have lower achievement scores, lower expectations for college, lower grades, and higher drop-out rates than youth from intact nuclear families.
With that being said- there is still great hope and potential for children who come from single-parent families. Countless famous figures have made history, having grown up in single-parent homes. These icons include Barack Obama, Selena Gomez, Michael Phelps, Keanu Reeves, Apollo Ohno… the list goes on and on!
Are you a single parent looking to bridge the gap and find ways to defy statistics? If so, you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to give you our best tips about how to support your child through their school education as a single parent.
Let’s jump right in!
How to Support Your Child Through School
- Talk to your child about their goals, dreams, and aspirations.
No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone has dreams and aspirations! Start communicating with your child to find out what theirs are. This information can help you to develop an educational plan that will help your child to take steps toward academic success.
When your child is feeling discouraged about school, you can remind them of their purpose in the things that they do. This can be great motivation to keep them moving forward.
- Connect with your child’s teacher.
If your child is consistently missing assignments or neglecting their homework, you need to connect with your child’s teacher. They can help you to strategize ways to help your child complete their assignments while keeping you (as a parent) in the loop about current expectations, upcoming tests, and more!
- Check-in with your child about their school progress regularly.
Check-ins are one thing, nagging is another! Only you can differentiate that fine line when it comes to you and your child’s relationship, but be confident in the fact that regular check-ins and accountability monitoring can help keep your kid on track.
- Connect with other single parents for support.
While all of these tips are easier said than done, connecting with other single parents that are in this position with you can empower you and provide you with an outlet to ask questions and share concerns about what it is like to be in your shoes.
- Create a routine
Most people benefit from a routine. Be sure to incorporate snacks, rest time, homework, studies, and hobbies into your routine to ensure a healthy and manageable balance.
- Don’t rely on them excessively for other responsibilities.
Being a single parent means that you have up to twice the responsibility as parents from nuclear homes do. This is exhausting. As much as possible, avoid lightening your burden by relying on your child excessively. Childhood and teenage years are very short phases of life that should be honored and protected from the worries of adult life.
- Know that they may make mistakes, but it’s never too late to get back on track.
Nobody is perfect, and that includes your kids! Show your child that you will never give up on them and that they can always expect to see you rooting for them behind-the-scenes. This will not only improve their overall confidence, but it will show your child that mistakes do not have to define you.
Being a single parent is hard, and when it feels as though society has its odds stacked again you, it can be discouraging. Remember, however, that you are equipped with the skills it takes to make your child feel supported, loved, and encouraged… and there really couldn’t be a better starting point for any child! Take it day by day, and remember that no one is perfect.
Best wishes to you and your child as you work to support them through schooling as a single parent- you’ve got this!
Statistics retrieved from Pew Research; Marripedia.org