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It can be different (Updated)
Single Parent Families
Member Name: writer29
Single Parent Families
Date: 21/11/01, updated on 02/12/01 (271 review reads)
Advantages: No-one to argue with, well...
Disadvantages: Loneliness, Guilt, Stress
I think that myself along with many other single parents have brought their miseries on themselves, including myself. How we then deal with that is more important than the problems encountered because of that.
I am 30, and have a 10 year old daughter and a 3 year old daughter with Cerebral Palsy. At 19 I became pregnant, and will admit, I did not give any thought to contraceptives as I had been having sex for three years with nothing happening. I guess I became complacent. I am also very lucky it didn’t happen earlier! I had been with her father for 4 years – when the baby came we soon broke up. He was a womaniser and violent.
As I’d always been fairly intelligent, but I didn’t do as well in school as I could have, I went to college to do A level English and Maths and then on to do a degree in building technology, of which I completed 2 years successfully. Mounting debt made it impossible for me to continue, my childcare outweighed my incoming money. However, my experiences at college & UNI gave me valuable skills that I didn’t have before such as computing.
After leaving UNI I spent the next six years with a man simply because he didn’t hurt me and had another child even though I knew in my heart that the relationship wasn’t going to last the distance. It turned out that she had Cerebral Palsy and I am on my own again– but its my own fault.
Of the 10½ years of being a single parent I have probably spent only 18 months on benefits and even then I was studying. I do not see expensive childcare as a barrier that makes it impossible for women to work, I believe they use this reason as it will just be accepted. It used to be true, but it simply is not anymore.
The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), The Childcare Tax Credit and The Children’s Tax Credit (CTC) all mean that financially, this has been the best time for working parents. Even though I earn around £20k a ye
ar (which I admit is no fortune), I get around £640 CTC a month from Inland Revenue, which represents 70% of my childcare costs and I also pay less tax. People can earn more than this and still receive help. I don’t actually receive any WFTC as I take home too much, but I still receive enough help to make it worthwhile. My children won’t be young forever, me staying at home impoverished won’t help me or them and it won’t teach them the value of being a full contributor to society. I don’t expect taxpayers to support me and my family that I have chosen to have and I will not teach my children to have those expectations either.
I think it positive not to think of WFTC as claiming benefits. It is a Tax Credit paid by the Inland Revenue and not a Social Security benefit - I believe the two are entirely different.
I really get annoyed with the single parents who just bemoan their plight but do nothing about it – there is so much out there now to help you get yourself out of the holes you are in – stop complaining and do something about your situation.
If you only want to stay at home while your children are little, it is so valuable to obtain some skills to make yourself able to command a better salary. If you have good skills people will want you, you may have to search hard to find them but you will get there. Many people do not even consider training or even retraining to improve their situations - and there is no better time for people to do this with the government initiatives in place at the moment. Unfortunately, the Individual Learning Account scheme closes to new applications from 7 December, I've used mine thankfully, but I discovered that almost everyone I know hadn't heard of it when it was widely advertised. People need to take more responsibility for making themselves aware of information that is freely available.
I've often heard black people say they can't get a
good job because they are black, and while I agree to some extent that this is still true, (I have been a victim of that myself), and there are still many barriers for senior management positions, people who want to do well will, even if it takes some trying.
I am black, have never known my father, I was brought up by my single parent mother (now aged only 50) who now lives in Jamaica. I have no extended family and I cope on my own and every year I study something new. This is not about me blowing my own trumpet, but about showing you it is possible to break the stereotypes and do something for yourself and your family if you are willing to put in the effort.
NB – this op is not aimed at mums who choose to stay at home to care for their children as that is a different situation, but I personally know of people who have never held down a proper job in their lives, but spend most of their time pregnant - I think it is wrong.