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A single parent is an uncoupled individual who shoulders most or all of the day-to-day responsibilities for raising a child or children. A mother is more often the primary caregiver in a single-parent family structure that has arisen due to death of the partner, divorce or unplanned pregnancy.
Historically, death of a partner was a major cause of single parenting. Single parenting can also result from the breakup or divorce of coupled parents. Custody battles, awarded by the court or rationalized in other terms, determine who the child will spend majority of their time with. In western society in general, following the separation of a heterosexual couple, a child is placed with the primary caregiver, usually the mother, while the secondary caregiver is usually the father, the reverse does happen and joint custody is on the rise.
Over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called "nuclear family" consisting of a mother, father, and children. Today we see all sorts of single parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.
Single Parent Day is a day for "honoring the single parent who is basically doing double duty" and "giving them some respect," Mary Anne Britton, the international vice president of membership for Parents Without Partners, told the About Parenting website.
The March 21 date of the celebration was chosen to coincide with the day Parents Without Partners was formed in 1957.
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