Monday, June 2, 2014

Single Parent in Singapore

I am already in Week 25, which means i am already almost 6 months pregnant. Time is really passing really quickly!

A lot of people wonder how i'm really coping with this pregnancy, especially since i'm not married and all. Well honestly, at this point of time, i am pretty contented and lucky because i have all the help i need from my friends and family. Also, my boyfriend has been such a dear so far so i'm really thankful he is still by my side.

However, if say, one day my boyfriend decides to leave me and not marry me...i do have to be prepared. After all, we are not legally married and hmm....yeah...:( Of course i do hope we will get married in time to come so i don't have to raise my baby boy all by myself but life is indeed full of surprises....full of ups and downs. I don't want to think of the worst but if anything f up does happen, at least i know who to turn to and what help i can get. It is good to be mentally prepared for the worst. If you are one of those strong women raising a child on your own, kudos to you too!

Everyone wish to raise their child in a complete and happy family to give them the best but sometimes, not everything would go as planned. There are so many reasons why people end up being a Single Parent. It's not easy but it's life so it has to go on no matter what. With the help around Singapore, it will definitely help ease the worry!

Change is part and parcel of life that can take place for anyone at any time. These experiences can come with much conflict, dilemma and pain, and parents and children can go through major changes in the way they live.

Single parents may identify with these questions:

I am a single parent. I need to know how to cope.
When divorce or death of a spouse takes place, you and your children may experience a loss of identity, relationship and lifestyle. These losses may lead to mixed feelings; you would also have to make adjustments. Your children may not know how to express and cope with their feelings that come with the loss. Some may act out their feelings through improper behavior; some may choose to keep to themselves. How well you manage your loss plays a part in how your children handle their feelings and adjustments.
This is also a good time to redefine the roles and expectations of each family member. You may want to prioritize your roles and duties, and draw realistic expectations of yourself and your children. Try to minimize changes and build stability in your family.
You need to take good care of yourself too while taking care of your children. Take time out to do what you enjoy. Self-care will give you the confidence and strength to face the challenges as a single parent. Support from friends and family plays the most important role in providing pillars of strength.

My husband left me a few months ago. People tell me that I should be strong for my kids. I miss him and cry all the time. How can I move on with my life?
It is a difficult time of grieving for an important person in your life. Crying is a way of expressing grief and getting in touch with the feelings arising from the loss. When you allow yourself to grieve, you will gradually be able to accept the loss and move on with your life.
Handling the emotional aspects of divorce or death alone may be overwhelming. You may want to join a support group to meet other single parents who are going through a similar situation.
If you need someone to help you and your children get over your emotional difficulties, please seek a counsellor’s help.

What financial help is there for families in need?
For your family’s day-to-day needs, approach the Community Development Council (CDC) in your district. The CDC will assess your family’s needs and, if you qualify, will recommend a suitable assistance package. The CDC also has several schemes to help needy households pay their rent, utilities and service and conservancy charges. You can also approach your HDB Branch office, Town Council or SP Services Limited for advice on schemes or alternative payment plans.

Other grassroots and voluntary welfare organisations also run free or subsidised services like tuition for disadvantaged families, while others may provide food, books and so on. Find out more from the Family Service Centre in your area, your local Resident Committee and Citizens’ Consultative Committee, and the self-help groups, that is, the Singapore Indian Development Association, Yayasan Mendaki, Chinese Development Assistance Council or Eurasian Association.

For schooling expenses, approach your child’s educational institution.
If you have a child who should be attending preschool, check with the childcare centre or kindergarten if it can help you to apply for help to pay the fees.

If you have older children, in primary or secondary school or junior college, approach the school for help to pay for your children’s school fees, books and other schooling needs. The school may have some schemes to help needy students.

Only women can get maintenance for themselves from their ex-husband but any party (whether man or woman) can get maintenance from their ex-spouse for their children.

What if I cannot afford to buy a flat?
Under the Public Rental Scheme, families including widowed or divorced persons who are at least 21 years old and with children under their legal custody, with a monthly household income of $1,500 and below can rent a one- or two-room HDB flat at subsidised rates. The scheme seeks to help families who cannot afford to own HDB flats.

If you just went through a divorce or like me, you are pregnant but not married and have a million questions in your head you don't know who to ask, you may also find this guide useful. It covers topics from divorce, finding a place to live, looking for a job, making arrangements for your child and moving on.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Single parents take on added roles and responsibilities that are normally shared by two parents. This is a demanding and stressful task, but you are not alone.

Many face challenges juggling both work and family single-handedly. The NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat (WDS), which represents women at workplace, are pushing an initiative for Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA). This would mean that a working mother can arrange with her employer to work 4 days a week from home, for example. Ms Cham Hui Fong, Assistant Secretary-General of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said about 15 to 20 per cent of unionised companies are now having flexi-work arrangements. In my opinion, this is only a small fraction of working mothers who are entitled to this arrangement, but it would make a world of difference for them. This could also be the very reason why the labour movement is pushing so hard for companies to implement flexi-work arrangement within their organizations as well. Ms Cham previously mentioned, “Our challenge is that we can’t legislate mindsets”, so it is important for supervisors and employees themselves who need to buy-in to FWA for it to become successful.

At the end of the day, how acceptable are employers towards such arrangements in Singapore?

While it is a real feat to bring up a family alone, I have seen many powerful women raise their children into wonderful human beings single-handedly! Many of them are so beautiful inside out. They are so appreciative of things around and so kind. I believe many Single Parents are #betterworker #betteremployer as they have a huge responsibility and won't want to let their kid(s) down. 

Many are struggling to survive or are hoping to earn more for a better life so they are definitely much more hardworking. These days, no one would look down on Single Parents. Instead, they should look at them with respect because they are so much stronger and hardworking. 

Not everyone can do what they do so big big applause to those powerful Single Parents out there!

Here are some useful contacts for those who want to get some help...

HELP Family Service Centre
Block 570 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, #01-3317 Singapore 560570
Tel: 6457 5188
Fax: 6457 5343

NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat (WDS)
1 Marina Boulevard
11-01 NTUC Centre
Singapore 018989
Tel: 6213 8270 or 6213 8591 (Back2Work Programme) 6213 8384 (WeCare For U Project)

As-Salaam PPIS Family Support Centre
Block 322 Ubi Avenue 1, #01-591 Singapore 400322
Tel: 6745 5862

Community Rehabilitation And Support Service
Block 267 Bukit Batok East Avenue 4, #01-206 Singapore 534194
Tel: 6562 4881

Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)
CDAC Building
65 Tanjong Katong Road Singapore 436957 Hotline: 6843 5599 Website:

CDAC@Bukit Panjang (Multi-Service Centre)
Block 270 Bangkit Road, #01-22
Singapore 670270
Tel: 6465 4411
Offers various programmes and services for students (Community Tuition and Student Services), seniors (Active Ageing) and jobseekers (job placement and skills training).

Wicare Support Group
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8 Office Tower, #08-01 Singapore 579837
Tel: 6354 2475
Fax: 6354 1941

Marine Parade Family Service Centre
Block 53 Marine Terrace, #01-227 Singapore 440053
Tel: 6445 0100
Fax: 6446 0100

National Council of Social Services (NCSS)

Ulu Pandan Community Building 170 Ghim Moh Road #01-02 

Singapore 279621
Tel: 6210 2500

Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development
Tel: 63555000