Single Dads More Stressed Than Single Moms

Being a single parent is undoubtedly a difficult task, but a survey reveals that the emotional challenges of raising a family alone may be even tougher for men.

About 20 percent of the 1.48 million single-parent households are headed by men. From a financial perspective, single dads fare a bit better than single moms. Some 41 percent of single mothers live on less than the minimum cost of living, which is W2.04 million per month for a four-person household, compared to 25 percent for single fathers. However, the intensity of frustration and loneliness that single dads feel while raising children alone can be much greater than that of single moms.

In in-depth interviews of eight single mothers and nine single fathers by the Korea Association of Single Parent Family (KASPF) in 2007, the men reported relatively higher degrees of stress from childcare. Daily routines such as feeding, dressing, washing, playing, and getting the kids ready for school caused the dads tremendous amounts of stress.

"Single dads generally don't have as much confidence as single moms that they’re doing a good job, and they're likely to be less stable and more discouraged because they have a hard time managing their frustrations, anger and loneliness," said Kim Seung-kwon, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

Besides the financial hardships and daily burdens of childcare, another of the major factors that makes life more difficult for single parents is the social stigma. In a straw poll of 290 single parents nationwide by KASPF and the Chosun Ilbo, 29 percent of the women said they sometimes felt humiliated because others viewed them as indecent.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 28, 2010 07:23 KST