Bermuda’s high number of single parent families is is having a detrimental ­effect on our society.

There are 25,000,000 kids in America who are without a father in the home.

In 2000, of the 29,107 households in Bermuda, 4,433 (15 per cent) were ­single parent households. There were 6,328 children living in single-parent families. There were 2,125 Bermudian children under age ten in single-parent families. The Bermuda 2010 census is currently underway and I fear those figures will be even more disturbing. As a result of this fact, these kids are more likely to be poor, to drop out of school, to be involved in ­violent crimes while girls are more likely to become ­pregnant as a teenager.

Children need both ­parents. They actually do much better overall when both parents are in the home especially if they are playing active parenting roles.

It is certainly not only my belief that strong families produce strong citizens which in turn produce strong and stable societies. Dr. James Dobson, renowned psychologist and author who started Focus on the Family over 30 years ago, stated in his book, Bringing Up Boys, “stable, lifelong marriages provide the foundation for social ­order…Historically, when the family begins to unravel in a given culture, everything from the effectiveness of government to the general welfare of the people is adversely impacted.”

Many individuals over 30 (a few of us over 25) share the experience of getting home from school before 5pm (closer to 3:30pm) and finding at least one parent there (in most cases, ­mommy) with dinner ­already prepared. In fact, some of us were either able to return home for lunch or have it delivered at school by a parent (again, in most cases mommy). Those were the days. Sadly.

The situation at home has changed a lot since then. Parents, particularly mothers, are no longer home. The absence of the mother from the home is the result of many factors. My thoughts are that mothers leave the home for the following reasons:

- Economic condition — the  cost of living: This has a greater impact on ­single parent household. Mothers who once could ­depend on their partner to be the sole provider of the home can no longer do so. Everything is getting more expensive.

- Competing with men: Women are no longer satisfied with depending on men for meeting their needs. Some may even feel that they can do better than their male counterparts. And what do they do? Leave home to go out and prove it.

- Lack of fulfillment: It seems women are no longer satisfied with staying home and taking care of the family. Today’s generation of mothers may feel a little embarrassed and possibly old-fashioned if they are homemakers, housewives or stay-at-home moms.

- Stuff-itist: Let me point out that women are not the only ones with this problem. This is the desire to want more and more stuff. Clothes. Cruises. Cars. Jewellery. These things require money. You have to go out and work to get money. You cannot take kids to work with you. (To learn more about stuff-itist, watch the Veggie Tales episode entitled Madame Blueberry.

Men may leave home for those and other reasons such as:

- To win bread: A deep sense of responsibility which can keep them away from family for months or even years at a time (e.g. miners, servicemen, truckers, farmers, CEOs). Perfect example of work destroying family life.

- Lack of commitment: We all like to leave our ­options open. Too many men fail to realize that the minute they start a family, that family becomes their only option. Unfortunately, some men still want to ’sample’ and ‘experience’ other options leaving a trail of broken hearts and homes.

Below are some things, which when done consistently, can build relationships with your kids.

- Be active parents. Be There!

- Find ways to connect.

- Balance work and family time.

- Focus on the big and ­especially the small issues.

- Model for your kids who you would like them to become.

- Plan for quiet and individual time with your kids.

- Do your homework. Study your kids. Make them your major and ­minor. Aim to learn as much about them as

possible

- Communicate with love and respect

- Play with your kids.

Often.

- Seek first to understand before being understood.

- Listen (with your eyes)

- Read for and with your kids

- Pray for and with your kids

- Teach them at least one new thing each week

- Find and share at least One Thing Special about them each month (at least). . Visit http://razors

anddiapers.com/?cat=59 to download form specifically designed for this purpose.