Single parenting refers to a parent who brings up children without the assistance of a partner. There are varying reasons why a single parent may bring up a child alone without help from a partner. It could be that they were in a relationship that ended. Other parents may opt to become single parents, and in other cases, a partner may have passed away.
All parents want to see their children succeed in school and life. However, despite the desire to be there for their kids and support their academic efforts, single parents can find it hard to achieve this desire fully. Children from a single-parent family are less likely to finish school compared to children with two parents.
The single parenting effect on child development can be good or bad. However, despite the effect that single- parenting might have on children, they can grow up happily, successfully, and well-adjusted. With extra care, single parents can raise successful children with excellent overall development in their social and emotional lives. The negative effects of single-parenting on children are as follows:
Many developmental problems for children of single parents revolve around their progress in school. They tend to get lower grades, and their dropout rate is higher than their counterparts from two-parent families. Single parents are more likely to work more hours to make ends meet. They often don’t have enough time to assist the child with their schoolwork. Children who have to work to help pay expenses have less time to focus on their schoolwork.
Plentiful economic resources allow parents to meet their children’s economic needs. When there are two parents in the home, they can pool resources and are less likely to struggle with insufficient income. Single-parent families are more likely to experience financial problems because they only have one earner. Single-parent children can feel frightened, stressed, and frustrated by the difference between their lives and their friends’.
Children of single parents are more prone to various psychiatric illnesses, alcohol abuse, and suicide attempts than children from homes with two parents. One of the common reasons for single parenting is divorce. It’s not uncommon for children to be exposed and even drawn to the conflicts between the parents during and even after divorce, which may leave children feeling lonely, abandoned, and even guilty. Single parents are more likely to experience disruptions such as moves and remarriage. Major changes can affect the children. Kids do well in a controlled environment. Any emotional turmoil and uncertainty may lead to increased psychological problems.
Positive Effects of Single Parenting
While hearing about the adverse effects of single parenting can be overwhelming, there are several positive effects on kids raised by one parent.
Single parents spend more quality time with their children. They tend to develop a strong and unique bond with their child that may not have been possible to achieve in a two-parent home setting.
Experience Interaction with an Authentic Community
Children raised by a single parent often grow up within a community of supporters. Extended family and friends are likely to take part in the lives of the children. In other cases, some single parents choose to participate in various community groups such as churches and support groups that interact with the whole family.
Children from a single-parent family are much more likely to be accustomed to handling responsibilities and contributing to family operations. These children understand the value of taking responsibility and many enjoy performing tasks they know are real contributions.
Single parents have to work harder, and their children have to collaborate with them for the good of the family. The children also learn how to deal with disappointments and turbulent emotions.
How To Release Single-Parenting Stress
Raising kids alone is not easy. You have no one to support or share your dilemmas and concerns. However, with proper planning and the following tips, it’s possible to hack the task:
• Set up a routine that offers your child a sense of security. A consistent bedtime, wake-up time, and mealtime will help you achieve this.
• Take care of yourself to avoid burdening your child with too many negative emotions such as stress, anger, or sadness.
• Your children require unconditional love with plenty of support, protection, and encouragement.
• Set up ground rules that promote discipline and good behavior
Even with all the challenges, single parents can bring up successful children. Show your child love, respect, and positivity to ensure that your child thrives in life.
Single Parenting Advantages
As you try to find a balance between your work and your children, you may focus on the negative aspects of single parenting. You may not have the privilege of a double income. You may not be able to spend enough quality time with your kids.
On the bright side, here are some advantages of being a single parent:
1. Undivided attention
Children of a single parent usually get their parent’s undivided attention. As a single parent, your love and attention will be reserved just for your children.
2. Freedom to make decisions
If you’re a single parent, you’ll have the freedom to make all the decisions. You may find this a daunting task. But you get to make all the decisions that can affect your children. You get to pick the school your children will go to, what food they eat, and places you visit. You can also decide the dos and don’ts, rules, restrictions, freedoms, and so on.
3. Fewer arguments
Parents often have arguments in front of their children, which can affect them mentally. A single-parent household can be more peaceful than a two-parent family. A single-parent family will have fewer arguments. This can make the home environment less stressful. Your children will feel safer and more secure in such a house.
4. Good role model
Your children will learn by looking at you. You get to be their role model. Over time, your children will value your presence. They may also realize the importance of independence and how life can be managed without a partner.
5. Independence and responsibility
Single parents can get busy juggling work and family. In such cases, children of single parents often take responsibility for manageable home chores. They also learn how to be independent. You can encourage these qualities in your children by treating them as your team members. You can also reward them once they complete tasks. Fostering independence and responsibility at a young age can help boost your children’s self-esteem and work ethic.
6. Sense of belonging
Single parents often have to rely on child care organizations, friends, and family for support. Introducing your children to such supportive people can instill a sense of belonging in them. Your children will always have more people to turn to for help.
7. Close relationship
Sharing space and responsibilities can create a more tight-knit bond between single parents and their children. Children from a single-parent household may form closer relationships with their family than children from traditional households.
8. Positive parenting
A single-parent family relies less on gender-specific roles than a two-parent household. Single parents also tend to use positive parenting and problem-solving techniques. Instead of punishing your children, you may end up discussing the problem and finding solutions with them.
Tax Breaks for Single Parents
Being armed with the right knowledge can take some of the stress and guesswork out of filing your taxes as a single parent, and it could save you some money at tax time. Several tax law provisions are designed to give a bit of a financial boost to those raising kids on their own, but you have to know what they are and how they work in order to take advantage of them.
Below, we give you more information on the tax breaks that might work for you.
File as Head of Household
Filing as head of household on your tax return provides two benefits for single parents: You’ll be able to claim a higher standard deduction, and you can earn more than single filers before you move into the next higher tax bracket. The standard deduction for head-of-household filing status is $18,800 for the 2021 tax year and $19,400 for the 2022 tax year.
You’ll qualify for head-of-household status if you were unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year (Dec. 31), if you paid for more than 50% of your household’s expenses, and if your child lived with you for more than half the year. You’re “considered unmarried” for head of household status if you file a separate return, your spouse didn’t live in your home at any point during the last six months of the tax year, and you can claim the child as a dependent.
Child Tax Credit
A tax credit is different and more beneficial than a tax deduction. It’s an amount of money subtracted directly from the tax bill you owe the IRS, so this can save you cash out of pocket that can be put toward other things.
The child tax credit in particular is a tax break awarded simply for having a child or children. Your child must meet certain requirements set forth by the IRS to qualify for the child tax credit. They must be under the age of 18 on the last day of the year. They must also have lived with you more than half the year, and they can’t have contributed or paid for more than 50% of their own support needs.
The child tax credit for tax year 2021 is worth up to $3,600 per child, depending on the child’s age. The income limit for a single parent filing as head of household is $112,500 for tax year 2021. If your income was more than that, the credit is phased out.
For the 2021 tax year, half of the child tax credit could be claimed through advance monthly payments of $250 or $300 per month (July through December). If you received those monthly payments, the other half of the credit can be claimed when you file your tax return in 2022. The expanded payment expired on Jan. 7, 2022. If you did not receive any monthly payments in 2021, you may be able to claim the entire credit when you file your return in 2022. You’ll need to reconcile your advance monthly payments with the child tax credit that you can claim on your tax return come tax time.
Child and Dependent Care Credit
You might be eligible for the child and dependent care tax credit as well if you paid someone to care for your child while you went to work or looked for work during the tax year. Your child must be under the age of 13 to qualify, or disabled if they’re age 13 or older and physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves. The person responsible for taking care of your child can’t be their other parent or anyone you can claim as a dependent, either. The credit is a percentage of up to 50% of $8,000 in expenses for one child (so $4,000 total), or 50% of $16,000 for two or more children (so $8,000 total). You can’t claim the credit if your adjusted gross income is $438,000 or more.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The earned income tax credit (EITC) is designed to help families with lower incomes. You might be eligible for a tax refund even if you didn’t earn enough to file a tax return if you can claim this credit because it’s a fully refundable tax credit. The EITC is worth different amounts based on the number of qualifying children you have.
What Should a Single Mom Claim on Her Form W-4?
A single parent can claim each child they care for as a dependent on their form W-4. For example, if a single mom has two children, she may claim two dependents on her W-4. However, it’s entirely up to the parent as to how they want to file their taxes. If a parent lives paycheck to paycheck, they may want to claim as many dependents as possible to maximize their take-home pay throughout the year. On the other hand, if the parent prefers to have a large tax refund, they may claim fewer dependents and decrease their take-home pay.
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