RSSArchive for April 9th, 2012

Life of single parents difficult but rewarding

Life of single parents difficult but rewarding

By ANA RAMIREZ

Since the 1980s, the United States has seen a drastic increase in the number of single parent households. Single parents have to work alone in figuring out their children’s future.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children with two parents have an edge over children living in a single parent household. Children with both parents tend to have financial and educational advantages.

Mitchell Chi, 36, and Keasha George, 31, disagree that their children have fewer educational opportunities. Both of their children, ages 7 and 8, are at the top of their class.

“It depends on how involved the one parent is,” George said. She quit her teaching job to take care of her daughter and now works at a restaurant to pay the bills.

Chi says he put his life on hold until his daughter grows up. “Bartending is the only thing I can do where I see her enough and make enough,” Chi said.

Having earned degrees from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, he has held more accredited jobs but doesn’t want to work long hours and never spend time with his “little princess.”

Both Chi and George said it’s not about how many parents are in a household but rather is about how much effort and time you put forth to your child’s future.

According to the 2010 census, fewer people are getting divorced and married but there is still an increase in single parent households.

In 1980, about 16 percent of people were getting married and in 2008 only about 10 percent. In 1980, divorce rates were about eight percent and in 2008 about five percent.

Then why are there so many single parents? It’s because there has been a huge increase in the number of unmarried women giving birth in this country. It went from about 18 percent to 40 percent in a span of 28 years.

What’s the hardest part about being a single parent?

“Just having to do everything for her financial and hoping that she grows up normal,” George said with laugh.

“It’s difficult not having the other parent around when you need them,” Chi said. “It’s hard to schedule time with the other parent.”

Tiak Williams, also known as Ty, says, “You’re always doing something and it’s not for yourself.”

Williams, 34, loves everything about being a father but says at times he struggles to pay the bills. “You learn to cook more dinners,” he said with a chuckle.

They all have had roommates at times to help keep living expenses down. They say they have to know the person and trust them before introducing a new person into their child’s life, especially when it comes to dating.

“I’ve only had one girlfriend since my divorce five, almost six, years ago,” Chi said. “I have to be real picky because of my daughter.”

Williams said he tried to date but wasn’t giving enough time to that person. “It’s the time,” he said. “When you have a job and come home to another job (raising his 3-year-old daughter), it’s difficult to find the time to date.”

Chi says it’s all worth it when “I see my standings in her come out.” He says the best part about being a single father is, “the little things she does and says that puts a smile on my face.”

Mitchell Chi, 36, enjoys time with his daughter Leyla, 7. Photo courtesy of Mitchell Chi.

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