Mythbusting: Single Parents

You know that story about the single mum? Living the high life on benefits with her 18 children, barely out of her teens herself and refusing to work? Doesn't she sound familiar? No? We don't recognise her either.

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  1. There are lots negative stereotypes out there about single parents in the UK, often made worse by sensational media stories and attention-grabbing headlines. The fact is though that many of the myths about single parents just aren't true. Here at Gingerbread, the national charity for single parent families, we're committed to showing what it's really like to be one of the UK's 2 million single parents. 
  2. Contrary to how the media might portray single parents, research shows that, these days, bringing up children on your own is actually a very normal part of family life in the UK. One in every four households with dependent children is now headed up by a single parent.
  3. Did you know: the average age of a single parent is 38 and more than half of single parents (57%) are in work? We asked our Facebook fans what they thought about the statistics - have a read of their inspiring answers...
  4. These are interesting figures - but actually what I expected. I am a 39 year old single mum, widowed (though wasn't married). I am self-employed, and the government is not making it any easier! Thank you Gingerbread for helping to spread the facts - rather than political propaganda.
  5. Sinlgle mum, 26 yr old. 2 kids. been single for 2 years (so if statistics are right there's only 3 more years to go!) lol Full-time student and work seasonally at local supermarket also have just secured casual work (where I can pick my hours to suit) however as its not guaranteed hours i wont get working tax credits. on top of this I am in council property but do not get any help with rent due to my student status as they see £616 per month enough to live off and pay bills.... Oh well it will be worth it in the end and I can at leastsay "I did it myself!"
  6. I'm ancient (47), single with 4 kids, and 2 jobs - weekday + weekend, so I must push the statistics up somewhat. Life is exhausting but GOOD!!!!!
  7. One of the most easily overlooked aspects of single parent life is that not all single parents are mums. In fact, almost one in every ten single parents is a single dad. Try Gingerbread's special online section for single dads for advice, information and links to stories and support from other fathers.
  8. I'm a single working 38 year old dad with an 8 year old son. I have been a single dad since 2010 and have worked since my ex and I split in 2008.
  9. It's great when friends lend a hand to help bust the myths!
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  11. It's often taken as writ that children who come from single parent families don't achieve as well as children from couple families. But when you consider that people like Barack Obama are children of single parents, you might like to think again! Statistics show that having parents who have split up is not considered to lead to poorer outcomes for a child - whereas living amid family conflict is. 
  12. However, single parent families do face significant challenges. Despite the fact that a majority of single parents work, children from single parent families are twice as likely to live in poverty as children from couple families. The poverty rate for single parent families where the parent works part time is 25 per cent, and 19 per cent where the parent works full time. This can often lead to difficult and stressful situations such as problems with debt and household bills, or not being clear what benefits or tax credits you're entitled to. We provide expert advice and practical information for single parents through our website - gingerbread.org.uk and our freephone helpline - 0808 802 0925.
  13. There's no denying that single parent life can be tough, but we think that the vast majority of single parents do a fantastic job, often under difficult circumstances, in the face of stigma and without the praise they so often deserve. The single parents we know aren't lazy or scroungers - they're hard-working, resourceful parents who do their very best for their families. And we're here to make sure their voices are heard.  
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