Updated: Jul 1
That would be, of course, if she ever received any money for child support. I recently ran into a conversation with my partner about what happens to child support money. Out of curiosity, I did some research, and to my surprise, 45.9% of the parents who were supposed to receive child support received their full child support payments! So, what happens with the remaining 54% of parents then? Pretty simple - they have no choice but to figure it out somehow.
Figuring it out leaves room for imagination… Thankfully, you won't have to today. After my parents divorced, I was one of those kids who were trying to figure it out. I was young enough to be impacted and old enough to start making some sacrifices. I pushed myself to work 2-3 jobs while continuing to attend high school. After being court-ordered to pay child support, my father went missing in action to keep the story short. My mom, sister, and I were forced to figure out a new way to meet ends. Unfortunately, this is the reality for 4 out of 5, or 79.9% percent of the 12.9 million mothers in America! That percentage doesn't mean single fathers don't experience the same faith. Quite the contrary, these days more fathers are taking on the responsibility of raising children on their own.
To the 46% of parents who do receive child support, where does the money go?
It is at your discretion, but as an adult, here are three things I wished my mom could do for us:
Financial literacy: As a teenager, I was always working, and to be frank, I consider myself a late bloomer in most things finance. Although I obtained a finance degree, I didn't understand what building credit, investing, or expanding assets meant until my mid-twenties. Even then, I found it quite tricky and found myself in piles of debt after some deplorable financial choices. Setting an early fundamental structure would have saved me many headaches and increased my net worth early. InCharge debt solutions offer some financial literacy courses for Pre-school, Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade - nothing wrong with starting them early.
Sports or Martial arts: Yes, yes, yes, I understand not everyone is born athletic, but this is more about discipline than skills! I recently observed a teenage boy quit and throw a temper tantrum over something that was supposed to be fun because he did not get it right the first time. As it turns out, the role of sports in developing an Individual and the Role of Psychology in Sports is crucial to a Childs' development. I am a bit bias on the matter. I have seen the impact of how sports shaped my life. I was always the shortest player on the team, but somehow always mighty and never allowed to quit, so I didn't.
Better Nutrition: If a Latino family didn't raise you, you probably could not relate, but what is in the rice that makes it SOOO addictive?! It's not just the rice; it's the beans, potatoes, fast food, canned food, lots and lots of sugar, and the list goes on. Dr. Chris van Tullekenm did a study on why the world's childhood obesity rates have risen tenfold in 50 years - it has a lot to do with what we are feeding our children these days. Struggling families eat what they can afford and not necessarily what is healthy. That makes sense. The shocker for me is that even those who can afford it choose to eat unhealthily anyway! I am 30 years old now, and it has taken me years to break the cycle of unhealthy eating habits, and sometimes I still struggle.
Why do these three things matter?
I often hear the phrase, "I want to give my child all the things I never had." I'm no child psychologist, but this is usually bottled in a token of everything your child doesn't need. As a child with divorced parents, I can share that I needed more education, not less, more discipline, not less, and better health habits.
And if my mom did receive child support,
I hope she spent it educating me to be prepared for the world and not crave instant gratification.
I hope she spent it giving me discipline, exposing me to possibilities, and not settling for everything that comes easy.
I hope she spent it investing it in teaching me how to eat healthily and not just consume what everyone else around me is eating.
Because if we are honest, living in America takes more than public education and parents that love you. As a person who had to learn without the child support money, I hope you reconsider buying your child those new $379 Jordan's and invest in their future instead. Please don't take it from me; here is a clip of the teenage boy that inspired me.
Jenny Ramirez - a business leader, mental health advocate, women empowerment activist, and writer on women issues across the globe. She is an adventurous soul who enjoys exploring different cultures and connecting with women from different walks of life during her free time.