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Parenting Alone Today

Problems of Parenting Alone
Many of the problems that single parents have are the same as those for two-parent families. But these problems may seem more difficult to bear or manage when the parent is alone. For example, all children feel some hostility toward their parents as they try to be independent. But when the anger and rebellion are all directed to one person, it may seem worse if there's only one to bear it, not two to share it.

There are some special problems that single parents have which make it difficult to raise children. These include bitterness toward the absent parent, loneliness, poverty, and insecurity about raising children without help. For these and other reasons, single parents sometimes cling to their children or overindulge them. The children may not get chances to be with other adults or other children as much as they need to.

Despite the problems of single parenting, a one-parent family can be good for a child if certain conditions are met. Most important, the child needs to feel loved -both by the parent at home and by the absent parent.

The Absent Parent

If your former spouse desires to be with the children, you should generally encourage such opportunities, even if you have negative feelings about your former partner. Moreover, you must allow your children to respect and love the other parent. It is important not to belittle or continually battle with the other parent. The absent parent can be given credit for the good things he or she has done.

Beware of resenting or condemning your children because they remind you of their other parent.

Role Models for Children

Children need role models to pattern after. Single parents cannot be both mother and father, but they can find other adults to serve as role models. The models show children how to become adult men or women. Allow your child to get to know adults of both sexes whom you like and admire. Relatives, neighbors, friends, and teachers can set examples for children about male and female behavior.

In addition to knowing and spending time with other men and women, children need to see good male-female relationships. They need to see how men and women get along together as friends or marriage partners. Give your child opportunities to spend time with married or other committed couples, perhaps relatives or friends.

Examine Your Attitudes

Your attitude about the opposite sex is important, too. For example, if a mother is bitter towards men, her son may be reluctant to reach out to other males as role models and her daughter may learn to hate or fear men. A father's attitudes toward women or towards other men can have a lasting effect on his son's or daughter's attitudes.

Whether you are single or with a partner, your own sense of self-worth and confidence are essential if you are to be a good parent. A good parent is emotionally stable. If your are divorced, strive to overcome bitterness and try to keep a wholesome relationship with your child's other parent. Examine your motives for doing things to see if they stem from self-pity, jealousy, blaming, or getting even. If they do, you may have to change your attitudes so that you and your children will have a good home and a successful life.

It's difficult being a single parent in a society like ours, oriented towards two-parent families. Yet every day there are more single-parent families because of death, divorce, separation, adoptions by single people, and births to unmarried women.

Ronald L. Pitzer, Extension Family Life Specialist
Phone (612) 626-1212
Date: Friday, June 14, 1996 10:55 AM

Submitted by: Ronald L. Pitzer *

28-Jan-2001 Hits: 3428 Rating: 8.12 Votes: 9 Rate It

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