Single dads are becoming more and more common in today’s world. The US Census Bureau records over 2 million single fathers as of 2016. The trend shows no signs of slowing down. In 2023, the number of single fathers is still growing.
For the majority of fathers who raise their kids alone, the situation is often unexpected and unplanned. It can be a daunting task, especially when many social stereotypes still describe fathers as a lesser parent. The assumption that a child needs a mother more than a father is incorrect in many ways. Children need parental guidance, support, and love to develop freely and healthily. Whether the affection and care they receive come from a father or a mother does not make a huge difference, contrary to common belief. Indeed, single dads are proving every day that fathers can be:
- Role models
- Parental heroes
So, if you are a single dad, by choice or circumstance, be assured that you are not alone.
The rise of single dads
The traditional family unit in the United States is a mother and a father. However, societal changes and new mindsets are blowing a revolutionary wind on all family stereotypes. While two-parent households remain the most common scenario, single-parent households are on the rise.
Single moms are more frequently seen than single dads. In many cases, single mothers also receive more social and financial support than many single fathers. This is linked to primary caregiver expectations. Many mothers are more likely to look after their children. Yet, approximately 5% of parent-child families are led by single dads.
In the U.S., single-dad families are more commonly seen in Montana and Oklahoma, where 31% of single-parent households are headed by dads. The average income for single-father households is less than that for households with two parents but more than single-mom households, with $67,400. Unfortunately, single fathers earn less than fathers in a duo-parental constellation.
Why do we see more single dads?
Where do single fathers come from? It is important to understand that only a small percentage of single dads are windowed. The vast majority of them made a conscious choice to take care of their children alone. Whether children are biological, adopted, or stepchildren, single dads approach their parental responsibilities with the same dedication.
The rise of divorce and fair custody rights have contributed to the increase in single-father-led families. Many fathers have chosen to separate from their partners, whether married or not, and fought to maintain custody rights of their children. According to figures, 40% of single dads are divorced, 38% were never married, 16% are separated, and 6% are widowed.
In some cases, long-term foster parents have applied to adopt a child who’s been under their care for a long time or who has been part of the social service system. In the US, single dads can also have a child with a surrogate, making them biological fathers.
Finding support and guidance
Whether you’ve been dreaming of becoming a single dad or the situation arises unexpectedly, there is no denying that it can be challenging. Thankfully, you don’t have to approach parenting alone. There is plenty of guidance available from other dads. It is worth taking a look at some of the best dad tips around. Many bloggers and writers also touch on difficult subjects, such as caring for special needs children or just getting used to parenting routines with infants and teenagers!
We also recommend reaching out to specialist organizations, such as https://embracegrace.com/, which is a fantastic source of guidance, faith, and comfort for all single parents. The organization also has many local churches, so you can meet your local community whenever you need it.
Finding supportive workplaces
The pandemic has been a revelation for a lot of single dads, enabling them to work from home and manage childcare at the same time. So, it is worth discussing maintaining home-based work arrangements if you are a single dad with children in young age.
Alternatively, a lot of companies are experimenting with childcare services, providing child minding services directly on-site or helping parents with partial financing solutions.
With the surge of mental health awareness and inclusiveness in the workplace, you may also be able to find allies directly in the office. Allies can be people who are happy to help when you need it, who can share childcare duties with you if they have children in the same age group, or who can defend single fatherhood in social situations. Allies make your day better!
Are you a single dad and unsure how to make it work? You are not alone, and you are not less of a parent as a father. Surround yourself with people who care about your family and can help. And remember to enjoy the ride!