Single parents need to shoulder the responsiblity for their children on their own. In the past decades, the number of single parents has grown considerably, most of them women. There are around 160'000 single-parent families in Switzerland. Many single parents have gone through a tough divorce or have had to come to terms with their partner’s death. It takes time to settle into the new situation. What is more, single parents are juggling the roles of breadwinner, parent and housekeeper – which can be very hard to manage.
The biggest issue for most single parents is work-life balance. Single parents are at greater risk for poverty than other families. Even so, most of them manage – because they are energetic and resourceful when it comes to organising help from neighbours, friends and relatives.
Single parents should be careful to spend enough time with their children and also find time for themselves. «eifam», the association for single-parent families in the Basel region, organises regular Sunday brunches and other events. At these informal get-togethers, single parents can meet friends and talk about their worries, while the children can run about and play. You can find the dates online. Similar associations for single parent families can be found in the other cantons of Northwestern Switzerland.
When parents separate or get divorced, it is common for one parent to get custody, while the other gets visiting rights. These visits can provide some space and free time for the main carer. But they can also be stressful, especially if the parents are still arguing or even fighting in court. A counsellor or mediator can help you negotiate visiting times. In extremely difficult situations, or if the other parent is unable to care for the child, parents can make use of accompanied visiting days (Begleitete Besuchstage).
Addresses and links
„Allein erziehen- so schaff ich's!: Kinder, Rechtliches, Existenz sichern“
by Ruth Eigenmann, Beobachter Buchverlag, 2005.