Advantages of being a single parent

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Advantages of being a single parent
(virginiamol, morguefile)

The advantages of being a single parent are not as obvious as the disadvantages, yet such advantages do exist. Parenting with another adult requires cooperation, consensus and compromise. Single parents often make all major decisions independent of another's influence or desires. Single parents also understand the value of all aspects of parenting because they must wear all the hats.

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History

Single parents are not just the result of unsuccessful relationships or divorce. Single parents can be created through widowhood, adoption, unplanned pregnancy and other life-altering situations. Single parenting received widespread focus during the 1980s and 1990s, highlighting differences between single parents and divorced parents. The studies focused on the rising number of single-parent versus dual-parent homes. According to "Psychology Today," those numbers jumped from 1 in 2 to 2 out of 3 families that were single parents or never-wed parents versus the more traditional model of family. Psychologists studied the effects of the single-parent home model on children including, but not limited to, their dropout rate from school, their chances of becoming a single parent themselves and their likelihoods of success. Conservative studies found that children of single parents performed lower on average than children of two-parent homes, but factors like economic status, educational opportunities and supportive child care were not taken into account (See Resources).

Significance

Single parents enjoy the freedom to make decisions based on their own ethical, moral and cultural upbringing without interference or input from another that may conflict with their own ideas. While they are responsible for their child's academic and religious upbringing, they can make decisions based on their own needs, desires and want for their child without considering the desires, needs and wants of another person. These advantages of being a single parent are often counterbalanced by the burden of responsibility associated with raising a child alone.

Function

Single parents become extremely self-reliant and superior time managers because they can rely on no one else to accomplish what needs to be done, except for themselves. As a direct result of this need to succeed, single parents often provide their children with a model of excellence in self-reliance, independence and responsibility. Children of single parents learn to manage for themselves, rapidly taking over general tasks like housework (See Resources). "Psychology Today" cites a study by the American Journal of Community Psychology that reveals low-income single mothers are more likely to be open about life's harsh realities, income and what their kids can do to help Mom than a traditional two-parent home in which the parents will seek to protect their children from life's harsh realities. Children of single parents become defacto partners in the family success and are more likely to participate.

Types

While some may not see a child's self-reliance and ability to perform household tasks as an advantage to single parenting, the relationship between child and parent is another type of advantage. Single parents are not competing with the child's other parent for attention, respect or likeability. They are not weighed and measured, then played off against the other parent. Single parents do not face the inevitable, "But Mommy (or Daddy) said ..." Children of single parents are also not confronted with competition from another adult. When Mom or Dad comes home, they get their parent's attention and the time spent between the two is valued. "Psychology Today" finds that it is typical for children of single parents to feel like their confidantes and that it encourages the children to confide in their parent, as well (See Resources).

Warning

The most difficult part of being a single parent is the feeling of loneliness that may accompany facing life's challenges without the backup of another adult. The temptation to make the child a partner in her own upbringing is very strong. Some single parents may put their children in the position of acting like mini-adults without realising it. According to "Psychology Today," single mothers will receive more support from their daughters than they would have from a husband, and that's OK (See Resources). Single-parent networks can provide social and moral support that can reduce the temptation to treat children like adults (See Resources).

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