There are numerous reasons why a person may become a single or sole parent. You might have decided to start a family on your own, you might be separated or divorced, or the other parent might have died. As a single parent, you may be concerned about providing the happy, healthy family environment your child requires. The good news is that you can. The difficulties that single parents face vary according to their circumstances, but there are some common experiences that most single-parent families share.
Single Parenting Statistics
Children raised by one biological parent are generally as content as children raised by two.
A sole parent can provide the secure emotional foundation, clear boundaries, love, and warmth that children require for normal development. With just one caring role model, children can thrive. Spending time together is the real key to raising a happy and healthy child.
Dual parenting and single parenting
Single parenting differs from dual parenting in many ways, the most noticeable of which is how the parent interacts with the child.
In dual-parenting families, the parents usually decide how to run the household together, whereas in single-parent households, issues like holidays or major family purchases may be decided with the children. This can be a positive difference because it helps a child’s emotional and cognitive development as well as their feeling included in family decision making.
Other common distinctions include:
Because there isn’t another adult around, children of single parents may have more duties and responsibilities around the house from a young age. Single parents may face difficulties in fulfilling the roles of two parents as a sole provider of income. This task can exhaust many people because it is unrealistic and stressful.
Family types are becoming more complex. Whether you’re a single parent, part of a two-parent family, or one of the many other types of families, you can feel good about your parenting if:
You’re confident in your parenting skills, and when you’re worried about being a good parent, you turn to family and friends for help. A family can look many different ways, and a loving home created by one parent is perfectly valid.
Single parenting and children
The following are some common factors that can occur in a single parent-child relationship:
- The need for ‘extra hands’ around the house may limit a child’s ability to participate in typical children’s activities such as hanging out with friends or playing.
- If a child is accustomed to having a near-equal say in the household, they may clash with teachers and other authority figures who demand complete obedience.
- The child may be unaware that their parent requires adult companionship at times. In separated families, the child may feel torn between their two parents and may feel compelled to ‘pick sides’; this is especially true if the parents are hostile to one another, which can be stressful for a child.
Difficulties and single parenting
Some of the most common issues that single parents face are as follows:
- The child is more likely to misbehave for the disciplinarian on a daily basis than for the parent who lives outside the home.
- It can be difficult to be the only disciplinarian in the house; you may feel like the ‘bad guy’ all of the time.
- When a child or adolescent witnesses their own single parent experience alongside friends who have dual parents, they may experience difficulties.
- A single parent may not have the opportunity to compare ideas and discuss problem solutions. They also do not have the option of delegating decision-making authority to the other parent.
- New parental relationships can be difficult, and it can take time for children and young people to adjust to different stages of family life and changes in a parent’s life situation.
- On occasion, a parent-child relationship may become entwined, making independence difficult for both the child and the parent. This can make it more difficult for the child to eventually leave home.
- The demands of earning an income, raising children, and doing housework may leave the single parent with little or no time for self-care.
Co-parenting issues in separated couples
The following are some of the most common issues that separated or divorced families face:
- Even if not on purpose, the single parent may make the child feel guilty for having fun with their other parent.
- Instead of discussing issues in private away from children, some parents involve their children in their marital disputes.
- Some separated parents find it difficult not to fight during changeover, which can stress the child.
- Some parents inquire about what their child did or who they saw during the visit (for example, about their ex-new partner’s partner).
- After visiting their other parent, the child may need a few hours to a few days to settle back down.
- It can take time for a child or adolescent to adjust to major life changes, such as changing parental relationships. Assuring a child that they are safe and loved regardless of which parent they are with is critical to assisting them in developing a’secure base’ in each household.
Benefits to the single parent and child
Some advantages of a single-parent household include:
- A child raised by a single parent who is loved and supported has no more problems than a child raised by two parents.
- Whether or not a child spends their free time constructively (for example, reading or participating in sports) is determined by discipline, family routine, and quality time between parent and child – not by whether the child has one or two parents living in the house.
- The child is usually responsible and mature.
- The parent is typically self-sufficient and self-assured.
- Parent and child have a close relationship.
- Single fathers are more likely than married fathers to use positive parenting techniques.
- Single-parent families are less likely than two-parent families to rely on traditional gender roles.
- When dealing with difficult child behaviors, single parents tend to use positive problem-solving strategies rather than punishment or discipline.
Single parenting can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. If you chose to be a single parent, you may enjoy the independence of being able to make your own decisions and chart your own course in life. Single parenting allows you to spend more time with your child, which can benefit both of you. Your bond will most likely be strengthened if you use consistent, positive parenting practices.