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Rearing Children



More single women rear children than is commonly supposed. In the course of our conversations with single women it was found that a considerable number had assumed a major share of the responsibility for the support and rearing of young children. Several women had assumed the responsibility of younger brothers and sisters upon the death or desertion of parents. One single woman who had never entered gainful employment had kept house for her father and for a family of seven younger children over a period of twenty years after the death of her mother. Another older single woman who was in business for herself had assumed the major responsibility for the support of her mother and the younger children after the death of the father. One woman had supported her sister-in-law and three young children after her brother had divorced his first wife and established a new family. Other women had assumed varying degrees of responsibility for the support and rearing of children.

In some cases this assumption of responsibility involved close association with the children and in other cases it did not. One single woman, a school teacher, who owned her own house, received her brother's four young children into her home after his suicide and provided for their support and education until they were able to support themselves. The mother, who had deserted her husband and children, was never heard from. This single woman, although her salary as a teacher was small, managed to supplement her income by letting rooms in the large home which she had inherited from her parents, by working in a bank during the school vacation, and in various other ways. Neighbors and friends aided her in a neighborly and friendly way so that she was able to send all of the children through high school and the oldest girl to a teachers college. The youngest child, a boy, had finished high school and was employed at the time we talked with his aunt. One of the girls was married, one was a teacher and the other children also had apparently made a normal adjustment in their personal and vocational life.

The single woman, isolated from the child and from the younger generation, did not appear frequently among the women with whom we talked.



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