Single father households on the rise - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Single-father households on the rise

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Parenting is difficult, especially when everything is on the shoulders of a single parent.

And we're not just talking about single moms. U.S. Census figures show 16 percent of all single-parent households is headed by a man.

But one local single father uses Youtube to learn recipes as well as tips for braiding his daughter's hair. In fact, Michael Barnes of Warrior says, when he looks around his house, the movie, "Mister Mom," comes to mind. He's recently divorced and admits his family situation is not ideal. But he's committed to doing his best to raise his four young children.

"When I had to take on this role and take on all the new responsibilities, they were here at my side," Barnes says.

Barnes' children are involved in school and extra-curricular activities. But life for the family isn't all smiles and giggles. When Barnes' divorce became final in December, he says he noticed behavioral changes in his children. He sought professional help.

"I want to get out ahead of it with my kids and getting the help they need, getting the counseling," Barnes says as he mentions the children see a family counselor as well as guidance counselors at their school.

"It's hard without a mom but still it's better with a dad who can help you with all the things mom do," Christany Barnes, the oldest daughter, says.

Barnes says he takes one day at a time learning how to do those things. For single fathers who try to do it all, he says they deserve more credit.

"There's definitely a level of appreciation that has to be out there for them," Barnes says.

But even if he never gets acknowledgement outside his house, he wants the children, inside, to know they are loved.

"Just being there for them and realizing that they are the future, they are the reason that you are here," Barnes says. "They are the reason for your existence right now. It will really help you stay on track."

For tips on handling stress as a single parent, visit this page on the American Psychological Association's website.

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/single-parent.aspx

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