Single parenting and dual parenting has always been a hot discussion on which family a child would benefit more from. These two different households both have challenges and obstacles that each parent or parents deal with on a daily basis. I have to deal with both of these parenting styles. With my daughter, her father is greatly involved in her life. We share custody of her so we both parenting her and we communicate with each other on issues that come up with her. I am also a single parent with my son. His father is not involved in his life at all so I am the sole parent for him.
I know first-hand how each of these parents feel. As single parents we feel guilty about a lot of things. To name a few there is the guilt of not having that father figure in their child’s life. There is also the guilt of not being able to provide for them as much as they could if the other parent was around. Another is the guilt of thinking “If only, I would have done that instead, I wouldn’t be in this situation now”. But being a single parent you have to look past these feelings and strive to be the best that you can. This leads me to my next point.
Responsibility – I think that children that are being raised in a single parent household have more responsibilities and chores to do around the house. These children may have to either get dinner started or make their own because the mom/dad may have to work late. Plus, if there are younger siblings involved, naturally the oldest child would be responsible for looking after them. I believe that this causes the kid or kids to grow up faster and become more mature. This can make the children unable to really enjoy their childhood.
Stress is something that single parents struggle with every day; but unfortunately, single parents are under just a tad bit more stress. These parents don’t have a partner to turn to for help, their all alone and are so afraid to ask for help because it makes them feel like they have failed as a parent. Single parents have to work harder to prove themselves which causes more stress. Like myself, I am working full time and going to school at night as well as trying to be the best parent for my kids.
I rely on family and friends to help me even though it is hard to turn to them for help. It is something that you just have to overcome and move on in order to succeed. Dual parents express guilt as well. In most cases, both parents have to work in order to provide for their family. So there is the guilt of not being able to make a sporting event or recital that their son or daughter may be in due to work. Another example is if the parents are divorced and now are doing the parenting together but in separate households.
This takes a lot of work and communication in order for this to really succeed. I feel very lucky that my daughter’s father and I are able to do this easily with few conflicts. Parents that are both working also have the guilt of having their kids in daycare. They feel that they are not there to raise their kids. But single parents feel that guilt as well. When there are two parents in a home there may be less responsibility that are assigned to the kids because there is another adult in the home to take on that responsibility.
The other parent would be watching the younger sibling, starting dinner or getting the laundry started. There is the sense of working together so that the kids can be kids. Stress when there are two parents is different from that of a single parent. When you are in a committed relationship with someone there is the stress of keeping that relationship going. You have to make special date nights so that that you can keep your relationship going.
Taking time away from your children to be able to be themselves makes them a relaxed parent which in return makes the children relaxed as well. Also, if there is step parents that are involved this causes a lot of stress on both the parents and the kids if everyone doesn’t get along. Whether you have a partner to back you up or you’re doing it all by yourself, each of these parents should take heart in the reality that they will learn with time because every day they get to learn something new, which is one of the biggest advantages of being a parent.
One helpful tip that might ease some of the stress in the household would be for parents to set some rules and boundaries. Sometimes that is easier said than done. In the end we are able to watch our children grow into happy and healthy individuals and that makes up for all the sacrifices that each parent has to go through. I believe that it’s not all about how many parents a child has, but it’s the quality of parenting that each child receives is what matters most. Parents are not always going to do everything perfect.