Leaving The Nest, Part I

Leaving The Nest, Part I

Nesting

Nesting

Q. Why do birds leave the nest before they can fly?

A. It’s to some young birds’ advantage to leave the nest as soon as they can. People tend to think of nests as safe, cozy little homes. But predators have a pretty easy time finding a nest full of loud baby birds. Parent birds work from sunrise to sunset every day to get their young grown and out of the nest as quickly as possible. After fledging, the young birds are more spread out, and the parents can lead them to different spots every night, enhancing each one’s chances of survival.

Errrrr. Has Thom turned into a “bird fancier”?

The simple answer. No. But it was a great analogy I was thinking about this the other day regarding my own little chicks growing up and spreading their wings.

What if there is only one parent bringing home the worms?

When are they ready and how can you help with the flight training?

What happens if they keep circling or flying home?

As parents we do spend every waking moment like the birds, working to keep the nest safe, food on the table and help try and prepare our chicks for the big wild world. This week I want  to discuss the challenges of being a single parent. If you are a single parent, or even share custody, most of you are parenting solo for long periods of time.

Even if your last name is “Kent” it is physically impossible to be at every disaster/sporting event/parent teacher conference. But don’t give up. Lovehim or hate him, The President of the United States was brought up alone by his mother, not to shabby.

So what are the stats? – Single Parenthood in the United States – A Snapshot (2014 edition)

Average Income. In 2012, median income for single mother families was $25,493, 31% of the $81,455 median income for two parent families; median income for single father families was $36,471, 45% of the median for two parent families.

Prevalence. Single parenthood is very common in the United States. At a given time in 2013, 28% of children were living with a single parent. Half or more of today’s children will likely spend at least part of their childhood in a single parent family.

Gender. Most single parents are single mothers. In 2013, 77% of single parents were single mothers, and 85% of the children living with a single parent were living with their mother.

Marital Status. The majority of single parents have been married or are married. In 2013, 55% of the children in single parent families were living with a parent who was separated, divorced, or widowed, 45% with a never-married parent.

Number of Children. Most single parents have no more than two children. In 2013, 56% of single parents had one child, 30% two children.7

Race & Ethnicity. In 2013, 3% of single parents were Asian, 23% were Hispanic, 28% were Black, and 46% were non-Hispanic White.

Educational Attainment. Most single parents have graduated high school, and a majority have attended college. In 2013, 85% of single parents had graduated high school, 54% had attended college, and 18% had at least a Bachelor’s degree.

Employment. At a given time in 2013, 69% of single parents were employed, compared to 85% of fathers in two married parent families, and 62% of mothers in two married parent families. In 2012, 48% of single parents worked full-time all year long, and 24% were not employed at any time in the year. Low wages are very common for U.S. single parents, and much more common for single parents than for other U.S. workers. In 2009, 39% of employed single mothers were in low-wage employment, with low wage defined as an hourly wage less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage.

Average Income. In 2012, median income for single mother families was $25,493, 31% of the $81,455 median income for two parent families; median income for single father families was $36,471, 45% of the median for two parent families.

Poverty. The poverty rate for children in single parent families is triple the rate for children in one parent families. In 2012, 42% of children in single parent families were poor, compared to 13% of children in two parent families. Most poor children live with parents who are married, or who have been married, or who are cohabiting. In 2012, 41% of poor children lived with two married (32%) or two unmarried (9%) parents, 28% with a never-married single parent, 22% with a divorced or separated single parent, and 8% with no parent. Child poverty is linked to poor health and school dropout; to negative adult outcomes including joblessness; and to reduced economic output estimated to be about 4% of Gross Domestic Product. Hardship – Hunger, Homelessness, No Health Care Coverage, Unmet Essential Needs. In 2013, 33% of single parent families were “food insecure,” and 13% used a food pantry. In 2012, 11% of children in single parent families, and 27% of single parents, had no health care coverage. Over 70% of the families in homeless shelters in 2013 were single parent families. In 2011, 42% of single parent households experienced at least one of nine hardships measured by the Census Bureau, compared to 22% for the population as a whole; 26% of single parent households experienced at least two of these hardships, compared to 12% for the population as a whole.  32% of single parent households had at least one unpaid essential need, 18% had unpaid rent or mortgage, 11% had a phone disconnect and 5% a utility disconnect, 16% had an unmet need for a dentist and 12% an unmet need for a doctor. Social Assistance (“Welfare” or TANF) & Food Stamp (SNAP) Receipt. In 2012, 42% of the children in single parent families received Food Stamps, but only 9% received TANF. 22 Under the 1996 federal welfare reform law creating TANF to replace AFDC, the percentage of poor families receiving welfare assistance has dropped from 72% to 26%, and the median state welfare benefit has fallen to only 27% of the poverty line. Compared to Single Parent Families in Peer Countries. The employment rate for U.S. single parents is above the average single parent employment rate in comparison high income countries.  Despite the above average employment rate, the poverty rate for single parent families in the U.S. is far above the average poverty rate for single parent families in comparison high income countries.  Less generous income support programs, and the greater prevalence of low wages in the U.S., help explain the exceptionally high poverty rate for single parent families in the U.S.

Source – https://www.legalmomentum.org/sites/default/files/reports/SingleParentSnapshot2014.pdf

 

So. instead of being depressed, keep flapping. You can do it.

Flap Your Wings

Flap your wings here.

The keys are

  • Spend Quality time with your kids not just their activities. Children value your time and attention more than you know. It doesn’t have to be Disney World. One of my favorite memories with my mothers involved rolled up newspapers and sword fighting.  Be Present.
  • Invite only quality people of good character into both your kids and your world. If you like to date “wild”, leave it in the wilderness. Your kids deserve peace, consistency and to feel loved and safe.
  • Balance to the best of your ability – work and home.

From personal experience the most  challenging is balance between work, spending quality time with your kids and keeping your own adult sense of sanity.

Love,

Thom

P.S. For those born in foreign parts around the world… a “Bird Fancier” is “One who takes pleasure in rearing or collecting rare or curious birds” (free dictionary)

 

What to do if you find a Baby Bird Out of the Nest

Sooner or later, no matter where you live, you’ll come across a baby bird on the ground. You’ll have to decide whether you should rescue it or leave it to fend for itself. In most cases, it is best not to interfere. The natural parents do a much better job at raising their young than we could ever do. A baby bird that is featherless must be fed every 15 to 20 minutes from about sunrise to 10 p.m.! This obviously requires a large time commitment on the part of the foster parent.

Finding fully feathered birds: If the bird is fully or partially feathered, chances are it doesn’t need your help. As young birds develop they soon outgrow the limited space of a nest. The young birds, referred to as “fledglings” or “branchers” at this stage, typically leave the nest and move about on the ground and on low branches for a few days before they can fly (Fig. 1). Their parents are nearby and continue to care for the birds, answering their demanding calls with regular deliveries of food. The scolding calls coming from the nearby tree are likely the adult birds, voicing their disapproval while they wait for you to leave.

 

 

P.S – Bird Book – http://www.amazon.com/Flap-Your-Wings-Beginner-Books/dp/0375802436/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430245890&sr=1-1&keywords=flap+your+wings

 

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About author

Thom Slade
Thom Slade 281 posts

“Healing for the broken hearted. A map, guide and community to move on positively/fantastically in life with a healthy beaming smile”
Thom. Thom is the originator and alter-ego of ivemovedon.com. Divorce Survivor, Single Parent, and now moving on to new adventures in Life. Follow his journey here every week, or on Instagram and Facebook.

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