Single Parent Myth Busting 101
Single parent families grow more common every year but tongues still wag, spouting inaccurate and sometimes even downright silly beliefs about those families headed by one parent. Such misinformation only serves to make single parents feel a great deal of guilt, and that can't be very helpful for someone who is already in a situation that is difficult enough. It's time we took a good look at some of the more persistent rumors about single parent households and bust those myths once and for all.
Myth #1--Kids raised in single parent households have a hard time with their studies, end up on the wrong side of the law, and have serious social flaws.
The truth:Single parents are doing as good a job as two parent households, and raise just as many successful children. The terrible outcomes predicted stem not from how many parents there are in the home, but more probably from economic hardship--something that may be more of a problem for single parents.
Myth #2--Kids need a father/mother figure (pick one). That's why the sooner the parent remarries; the better it is for the children.
The truth: Children do benefit from having both men and women in their family structures, but that's only if those family members possess emotional health. Children living under the conflict of a strife-filled marriage are better off with one healthy parent. Besides, a single parent can co-opt friends, relatives, and neighbors to provide opposite sex role models.
Myth #3--Kids from single parent homes suffer from low self esteem.
The truth: As in myth #1, low self esteem in children from single parent homes is liable to stem from the economic hardship sometimes associated with such homes, rather than the method of parenting or how many people are available to provide such parenting. As in other low income homes, parents can emphasize that possessions don't reflect a person's identity. That's a hard lesson to take in, and should always be considered a work in progress requiring continual repetition.
Myth #4--The children in single parent households come from broken homes.
The truth: It's the children of marital discord who come from broken households, and the worst effect is seen in those children who are made aware that their parents have stayed together for their sake, only. When parents are wrapped up in their own marital struggles, they tend to forget their children's emotional needs. Kids in such homes feel less secure and safe. After divorce, the tension dissipates and the single parent is more able to focus on the needs of the child. Bad relationships breed conflict and the shift to single parent status can bring with it a lessening of tension, disharmony, and hostility. At the same time, such families tend to gain solidarity and a sense of order. It is good parenting skills and relationships that are responsible for keeping a family "whole."
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