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The stigma attached to being a single parent is rising anew. Many media commentators blame America's uptrend in violence and other social problems on family breakdown - on single parents. This stigma is based on myths and stereotypes that have been promoted by half-truths and, often, by prejudiced viewpoints.
These myths can be confronted successfully and new strength can be found in the truth. As with so many aspects of single parenting, we rise to the challenge and become better people because of it.
The myths are sometimes subtle and subconscious, but the more we examine them, the more clearly we take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children.
Myth: Predominance of the traditional nuclear family.
Our cultural mythology has it that single parents are an aberration, not the norm. Single parents often feel isolated, alone and different.
In the past twenty-five years, the number of single parent families has more than doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 59 percent of United States children will live in a single-parent home at least once during their minor years. That is a majority.
Over 16 million children currently live in single-parent homes. More and more of these families can be defined as "binuclear" families, with both parents actively involved in parenting and creating two separate homes for their children. Divorce and remarriage, rather than being the exception or aberration, are more and more common in families today.