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EYE ON PARENTING: Single parents find support during COVID-19

In the United States, almost one in four mothers are taking on the challenge of raising kids alone.

Coronavirus and the social distancing that’s required to keep families healthy during the pandemic may be putting added strain on singles, as access to their support systems diminish.

Right now, eight-year-old Liliana Brewer plays alone and daily hugs from her grandmother have been reduced to a few minutes of Facetime. The school is a computer on her kitchen table.

Liliana’s not alone. Her mom Jessica misses her network, too.

"Your close family members, your friends with kids, having someone else to be able to help you parent, to give you those breaks," said Jessica.

Zoe Taylor is a Developmental Family Scientist at Purdue University and a single mom.

Taylor studies resilience in single-parent families who are especially vulnerable to hardships.

"They have the emotional and often financial responsibility, without a lot of those supports," said Taylor.

Taylor says there are more than eight million single parents in the United States.

The pandemic is putting them at greater risk for depression and anxiety, which can also affect how they parent.

Her advice? Take care of your needs first.

"When you’re on an airplane, all the directions are if you’re traveling with kids, you put your own oxygen mask on first," said Taylor.

That way you are better able to be a warm and sensitive parent who fosters a positive relationships with your kids, which can help buffer the kids from stressors.

For her part, Jessica is giving herself and Liliana permission to not be perfect.

"If you feed your kids cereal for two days in a row for dinner, you feed them cereal and just know it’s all going to be okay," said Jessica.

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Lyanne Valdez

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