The Single Parenting Epidemic: Why You Should Care

Originally published Tuesday, 18 September 2012.

So what's your "issue"? What's that thing that really stirs you and moves you to action? What is that cause that motivates you to make a change in the world?

Poverty? Homelessness? Human trafficking? Drug addiction? Abuse? Alcoholism? Education? Reducing crime? Teen suicide prevention? Adolescent sexual purity? Adoption?

You name it and the issue either directly or indirectly relates to single parenting. The reality is that more than 15 million women find themselves parenting alone today in the United States. It is estimated that 1,000 teenagers become pregnant every day, while one in every two marriages will fail. Whether it be a fifteen-year old pregnant teen, a thirty-five year old divorcee, or a grandmother parenting her grandchildren alone, these women, like all of us, are desperate for connection and fellowship. And many of these precious women have already walked through a lifetime of disappointment -- only to be faced with grim statistics, such as: 

  • 78% of the U.S. Current prison population was raised in a single parent home.
  • 71% of all high school dropouts came from single parent homes.
  • 1 in every 3 single mothers lives in poverty.
  • Children in single parent homes are 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
  • They are 32 times more likely to run away.
  • They are 10 more likely to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Sex traffickers most often target fatherless youth.

To be clear, I dare not say that EVERY single parent home face these same statistics. Of course not! My passion is empowering the single mom. I've devoted my life to it. I've seen some amazing success stories. I know some unbelievably successful single mothers. But the reality is that the United States is facing an epidemic of unplanned pregnancy and divorce, as is the rest of the world. The statistics for many countries are all similar.Yet, less than 1% of evangelical Christian churches in the country have a sustained single moms ministry! An 8-week parenting class isn't going to cut it. That's part of the solution, but then what do you do when they finish the class? "Okay, you're done. You should be good to go."

We need long-term, sustainable, discipleship to single moms from early pregnancy to parenting in the teen years! Love them. Lock arms with them. Cry and laugh with them.

The body of Christ better get stirred, moved, and passionate about changing the world of the fatherless. For far too long, we have sat idly by and watched the statistics rise to almost uncontrollable heights. The good news? We serve a King who is far above any statistic He is able.

If you are a single mom reading these statistics, receive truth that the Lord your God will supply all your needs. He will never leave you. He will be the father to the fatherless.He places the lonely in families. He loves you. And you are far more than any statistic. You are a daughter of the King.

If you are reading this, most assuredly you know a single mom. Reach one. Love a teen girl and show her what her value is in the Lord Jesus. Help a single mom pay her light bill. Babysit her kids. Mentor a marriage and save it. Disciple the fatherless into college. Launch a single moms ministry in your church. Change a life.

Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who founded The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is a regular on radio and television and has a passion to see single mothers walking in total freedom in Christ. She is founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more information, visit