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Single military parents overcome challenges

By Lance Cpl. Courtney C. White | | April 23, 2010


Many service members’ strength come from the love and dedication of their family members. At almost every change of command, post and relief or retirement ceremony service members say they wouldn’t be able to do it without there family.

However, service members who go through divorces or have lost their loved ones have to remain strong while living a military lifestyle and caring for their family.

“It can be difficult working around what the military expects of you while taking care of your children,” said Ligaya Lowe, the Air Station’s family readiness officer and deployment unit support trainer. “When I was a single military parent, there were times I had to bring my daughters to physical training because it was too early for the child development center to be open.”

Parenting is hard as it is between making sure the children are safe, happy, loved and having a family care plan, according to Lowe.

A family care plan helps families make arrangements for their children to be cared for in the event they get deployed, have duty or have to stay late.

“It is important to plan everything ahead of time, especially if you’re a single parent,” Lowe said. “That way, when you have to stay late, you’re not stressed out because there’s someone to watch your children.”

Being a single military parent can prove to be challenging because the parent has to work twice as hard to take care of their children.

“It is hard to be a single parent in the military because you have to be away from your child a lot,” said Sgt. Christopher Bullington, a calibration Marine with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, as his son jumps up to give him a hug before playing at the park. “Between school and work, I only get to see my son for about three hours a day, I’m still very glad that he is able to live with me.”

Being a child in a single parent household is also a challenge. Military children have to go through their parents being deployed, being without their parent when they’re on duty and having to make new friends each time they move.

According to Bullington, another important aspect to remember when raising military children is to keep them involved in the community.

“We try to get involved with the community by participating in all of the local festivals and programs that are offered in the Lowcountry,” Bullington said.

Some children struggle to understand why their mother or father disappear for long periods of time, why they have to continuously move or why their parents wear the same ‘outfit’ everyday.

Lifestyle Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills classes are available for service members, their spouses and their children.

The L.I.N.K.S. program for children helps explain why parents have to go away to do their job, how to keep in contact with them and helps teach them to be proud of their parent.

“Families don’t have to wait until they’re struggling to come to the Welcome Center, we should be one of their first stops when they get stationed here,” Lowe said. 

For additional information about local events, how to get your children involved or how to handle the struggles of being a single military parent, call the Welcome Center at 228-6141.