Being a parent is tough; being a single parent can be even tougher. But raising your child alone doesn't mean you can't be a good parent or that your child can't grow up to be a wonderful human being. It does mean that you are the main part of the show: you have less back-up than you might with a two-parent household and you will probably have to work harder than parents who have a partner with whom to share.
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No One to Share
This is one of the hardest parts of being a single parent. Good or bad, especially when your child is very young, there is no one with whom to share. Special holidays, such as Christmas and your own birthday can be hard, especially if you are far from your extended family. If you or your child become ill, there is no live-in back-up person. You are the only person who sees that first tooth and who gets to listen to those first words. Plus, you have to be your own sounding board.
You are the Whole Show
Breadwinner, housekeeper, care-giver and decision maker; as a single parent, you do it all. You put in longer hours than two-parent family adults, simply because if you don't, the things that need to happen for your survival won't occur. Good sitters, decent neighbors and friends who aren't afraid to lend a hand now and then become worth their weight in gold. You don't have to be completely alone, so reach out and take advantage of the resources around you.
Effects on the Children
There are many areas where psychologists are concerned about emotional stress for children of single-parent families. Dr. Keith Ablow, in an article for Fox News, "The Psychological Impact of Single Parenting," commented that in divorced families, the children are often afraid to express loving feelings about the other parent. They worry about the absent parent, and they fear that something they did may have caused the break-up. Allowing your child to love the other parent can be difficult, especially if there is a lot of anger on both sides. Psychologists also express concerns about the lack of a father or mother figure; they are especially concerned about the psychological effects of single parents raising an opposite gender child. They suggest that children of single parents may be more likely to become single parents or to divorce their partner. Reporter Andy Bloxham, in a Telegraph article, "Children of Broken Homes Nine Times More Likely To Commit Crimes" says that seven out of 10 criminals came from broken homes.
Attachment and Letting Go
When single parents have a good relationship with their child, they develop a special closeness. A humorous article by Emily Listfield, "A Single Mom's Guide to Surviving an Empty Nest," takes a wry look at the emotional response to seeing a child off to college and the giant hole it leaves in the parent's life. She mentions refraining from texting her daughter at midnight. She mentions dating, now that the child is away. She thinks about becoming Buddhist, so she can detach from emotional things, and lightly admonishes herself to get a life. Because when your child moves out, it is like pushing against a wall that suddenly isn't there. Your baby bird has learned to fly and the emptiness is hard to fill.