In addition to the daily challenges that come with being an only parent, single moms have the added responsibility of working through an often-complicated issue: child support. Getting any type of financial assistance from an ex -- especially in the aftermath of a nasty break-up or divorce -- can be a drawn-out and difficult process, but Roland Warren of the National Fatherhood Initiative says there is one way single mothers can make it easier.
After exploring the epidemic of fatherless sons, a new episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass" extends the conversation to single mothers raising boys and the fears, difficulties and uphill battles they face as only parents. This clip from the episode dives right into the topic of getting financial support from an ex, with Roland identifying why many women may have trouble getting the help they need.
Roland explains that many single moms make a crucial mistake when dealing with their child's father. "This is a trap that a lot of women fall into: You try to chase the wallet as opposed to chasing the heart," he says.
In other words, don't focus solely on your ex's financial role in your son's life; focus on his emotional, parental role. "This is why access to your son is so important," Roland explains. "Your son is the heart."
Creating roadblocks and blocking your ex's access to his son can not only prevent the child from receiving the financial support he needs, but, more importantly, it takes an emotional toll on him as well. "The heart is the key... That's what your son wants," Roland says, turning his attention to a fatherless son who had earlier expressed his heartache that his dad never attended his football games. "This young man here, he didn't say, 'Well, you know, I didn't get those Nikes ...' He said, 'I ran touchdowns ... and there was no one there.'"
Iyanla Vanzant, who has also worked with fatherless sons and troubled families, summarizes Roland's point succinctly. "Keep your heart open to the child's father," she says to single mothers. "If you connect with him heart-to-heart, he'll be able to connect with you and provide the things that you need."