Almost a third risk poverty

Single-parent households have many disadvantages that two-parent households do not: little family support, isolation and loneliness, an overload of responsibilities, and less access to economic and social goods. Many families in Greece and other European Union countries are eking out a living due to unemployment or underemployment, the shattering of the family unit and the limited capability of social welfare, says D. Kogkidou, a psychology professor at Thessaloniki University, in the most recent report on the Social State of the European Union. These factors also affect an overwhelming percentage of single-parent families, to a greater or lesser extent. As a result, according to the data by the 2003 study by D. Baloupdou of the National Center for Social Research (EKKE), 32 percent of Greek single-parent families face a serious danger of poverty. The social isolation of parents can also have serious repercussions on the future of their children, who could fail in school. In some of these cases, children don’t even graduate. Single mothers also have another burden: They try to make up for the role of the absent father, often with little success. Fundamentally, the great emotional and practical burden of raising the children falls entirely on the mother, Kogkidou says. At the same time, the absence of the other parent can create an especially close relationship between the single parent and the child. While these relationships can be good, they can also become harmful: the parent could see herself (or himself) as «sacrificing» everything for the child and the child could get too attached to the parent.