While single parents are undoubtedly much appreciated by their kids, they don’t get a lot of credit from society. After all, some people just have plenty to say about the disadvantages of kids growing up without a mom or without a dad.
It is true, after all, that parenting all by yourself is tough. After all, it’s already tough enough even with two people on the team. But you must admit that when single parents get things right, it’s because of the challenge involved and not despite it. Single parents do get things right a lot of the time.
If you’re a single parent, you’ll be pleased to read this list of things that your fellow singles get right. If you’re not, you just might learn something and take a page out of their book.
In single-parent families, children are far closer to the parent who’s looking after them. This is because, on most days, there’s only one parent lavishing them with time and affection and pretty much only one parent to lavish this attention to. In addition, the parent and child heavily rely on each other in day-to-day life for both household responsibilities and social support. They’re more likely to consider each other best friends.
While nuclear families can undoubtedly be pretty close, single parents often have a different, even deeper, bond with their children. This can, of course, backfire if one becomes too emotionally dependent on the other.
14 Teaching Responsibility
A single parent carries the bulk of responsibility for the child’s well-being. A single parent will have to keep the house clean, juggle finances and generally just maintain everything in order. Since kids tend to learn by example, they’re more likely to pick up on how to handle and balance these responsibilities.
With two-parent families, chores might be token activities given for the sake of giving responsibility. With single family children, chores tend to be more meaningful and have real-life implications.
13 Teaching Assertiveness
Because single parents and their children rely each other more in everyday life, single parents are more likely to treat the kids more as equals rather than subordinates. While there are disadvantages to being on equal footing with your kids, it can be done right with some care and thought. One of the things that helps is to engage in constant and productive dialogue with the child.
Because the child will be used to speaking his mind in this way, he’s more likely to be assertive in other situations. Adults who aren’t used to kids speaking out may take this the wrong way. However, if the parent teaches the child how to deal with situations with respect, he should be fine.
12 Work-Play Balance
Admittedly, getting the work-play balance is particularly tough on single parents. But given their circumstances, they often make it work. This is because their kids rely on them for this very balance. And because they know that one-on-one time is important for their kids, they’re more likely to involve themselves in both work and play. After all, they will sometimes have nobody else to accompany or assist the kids during these times.
You must admit, also, that going out with your kid to have fun helps you destress and relax as well!
11 Night-Time Cuddles
Because there isn’t much competition in the single parent’s bed, it’s often more open to the kids, who may be having difficulty sleeping or even night terrors. Comfort during the night is a great thing to have, and with a bedroom that’s more open than most, the child is secure that he can come over any time.
While some people do have negative things to say about kids who co-sleep in their parent’s room, this is actually a pretty common practice in some cultures.
10 No Blaming
As a single parent, you no longer have the other parent as a scapegoat for any screw-ups. This means that you will have to claim responsibility for everything, which once you think about it can teach your kids the very important value of accountability. If your child doesn’t see you blaming others for mistakes, they’re far less likely to blame others for their own errors and more likely to own up to them.
This also makes for far less arguing, especially if the relationship with the other parent was tumultuous to begin with!
9 Consistent Parenting
One of the main challenges of parenting is being consistent. When there are two of you, it’s particularly tough to do this. Any given two people are likely to have different personalities, different parenting styles, different values and different modes of reward and punishment. With a nuclear family, the two parents will have to talk to each other, make compromises and attempt to be consistent in everyday discipline.
When you’re a single parent, however, this isn’t a problem because there’s only one of you! While consistency may be difficult to achieve when you’re tired from work, you must admit that it’s still easier than trying to convince someone else not to be too lax on the kids!
One of the challenges of single parent families is that there tends to be less to go around, financially at least. With a single income, it may be difficult to make ends meet. Because of that, the single parent must be creative in stretching the budget to fit the needs of all people involved.
But this is something that single parents get right because they are challenged to do so. They don’t have the benefit of comfort that the other parent’s income will be enough for the bills so they can splurge a little on something they don’t need. Single parents therefore have to scrimp and save and every single penny has to be accounted for. This is a great way of teaching your kids to handle money as well.
7 Social Life
Surprisingly, single parents can be better at maintaining a social life than parents in nuclear families! For one thing, single parents recognize that they need plenty of help. By allowing their family and friends to contribute to raising their child every once in a while, both they and their children are able to build stronger bonds with others.
6 Relationship Non-Dependence
A single parent is at a great position to teach the kids about relationships. This might seem counterintuitive considering that being a single parent can often result from a failed relationship. But then again they might be better able to teach your kids not to be too dependent on romantic relationships of any kind. After all, they are able to live their lives productively without a partner. And while having a partner is nice and all, knowing this will keep the child from falling into the trap of depending entirely on one person for all his needs. In this way, single parents are better able to teach their kids about healthy relationships.
5 Relationship Screening
One perk of being a single parent is that the kids are there to screen any potential romantic partners. If you must get serious, after all, your new partner must be as agreeable to your kids as he is to you. While this may seem like an added hassle that makes it more difficult to get dates, it’s actually pretty effective at keeping away at least some of the jerks.
4 Teaching Grit
Single parents often have to go through tough times, balancing their lives and making ends meet. Because their kids are more attune to this, as we’ll discuss a bit later, they’re better equipped to tough things out in times of trouble.
People do say, after all, that diamonds are formed under pressure. This applies to both the single parent who has to take on the responsibility of two persons every single day, and to the child who sees and understands this situation.
Single parents are more real to their kids about real life. After all, they need their kids’ cooperation to keep the house in order and to manage the budget. Because of this, they tell it as it is.
With nuclear families, parents are often tempted to hide problems from their kids. They might try to hide that their income isn’t what it used to be, or that things are rocky between them.
When it’s just you and the kids, however, you have more incentive to be honest even about these things. Ultimately, that honesty gives them a more realistic view of the world and makes them better able to deal with it.
2 Keeping Cool
Because single parents are so used to dealing with life’s challenges on their own, they’re better able to maintain grace under pressure. When there’s a deadline to meet at work and the house is a mess and the kids refuse to go to bed, the ordinary parent just might explode. For the single parent, however, this is all in a day’s work.
They’re also less likely to be bothered about little things. After all, sanity is a high price to pay for being a perfect parent. The single parent acknowledges that everyone has a bit of imperfection so she’s not going to let the tiniest detail bother her.
1 Coordinating Everything
Wake up in the morning, cook breakfast, then get the kids ready for school. Get to work then leave at four so you can pick the kids up at five. On Saturday, drive the eldest to piano lessons, the middle child to soccer practice and the youngest to the grandmother, and don’t forget the doctor’s appointment at one o’clock!
Single parents are masters at coordinating their kids’ routines and their own. Sure, it may seem like a mess sometimes, but they always manage to make it work!