Will our kids be worse off?

by mssinglemama on March 20, 2008

sleeping in when in the presence of a single mother.
sleeping in when in the presence of a single mother.
sleeping in when in the presence of a single mother.
benbeach.jpgThere’s a very interesting comment thread going on how much I love being a single mom….

It’s a fantastic discussion between Dad’s House and another single father, Jim. They’re debating on whether or not our children, the children of single parents, are essentially worse off because they’re being raised by single parents….very passionate stuff here. And a few things to keep in mind – every situation is unique and everyone is entitled to their own opinions and because we are all single parents we must respect everyone’s opinion because in this discussion – unfortunately no one has the answers.

Jim:

Maybe I’ll get flamed for this, but I’ll say it anyway: Kids should have both a mom and a dad to raise them, even if one, or both of them aren’t their “natural” parents (I’ve adopted). I’m not for this “It’s great/better to be a single mom (parent) stuff. Currently I’m a dad who gets his kids 1/2 the time, and it tears me up that my boys are being raised without a mom and dad in the same house, working together to raise them. But she wanted her freedom, and I guess that’s another story.

The point is, my children will not have the same advantages as children with two loving parents who stay together. I’m not proud of the fact that I’m divorced. I know that a lot of you, like me, found out that the person they loved was not who they thought they were, or they changed into something else along the way. We can’t help that. I’m not proud to be a single dad. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.

Well, ‘bemoaning’ though I may be…
…I read how a lot of people who have posted here are they, themselves, happy to be a single parent. It makes them happy. To be single. They, the parent.

…what about the child? Are they happy about it? To read these posts, I think most of the children discussed are very young and have no concept of ‘dads’ or ‘marriage’ or any issues like that. But they’ll grow up. And have questions. And maybe they’ll be confused, and conflicted. Or maybe they’ll turn out just fine.

Look, maybe you’ve all been married to jerks, and so maybe you are quite right not to be with that person, who happens to be the other parent of your child. It’s a situation we’re all in, or we probably wouldn’t be posting here! I’m just saying that I, personally, don’t exalt in single parenthood, and -yes- I’m kinda bothered by those who do.

Dad’s House:

We all have our own opinions. I personally think it’s great that all these single parents feel good about being single. Maybe they went through rough times and came out stronger. As for my ex, she was not a jerk. I was married 9 years, divorced for 8, and I’m happier and more at peace now than I’ve ever been. The reason? I’ve changed a lot over the years, and changed my life perspective. Would I be as happy and at peace in a couple? Maybe. Are my kids suffering? No – they are happy and well adjusted.

And me:

Jim … I would give everything to have married a man like you – one who is so torn by not being able to see his kids 100% of the time. Which is exactly why I am a single parent. My son’s father has him for 36 hours a week – but usually cuts that time short and NEVER calls during the week to check in. He loves his son, I know this. But he was an awful husband, it was an awful match. But we got Benjamin out of it.

I was raised by two parents who were madly in love with each other. My father died when I was 21 and my mother is still putting the pieces back together. Despite losing him and despite watching my mother in all of this pain for 9 years…I would never trade my childhood for anything.

I want my son to have that. I want him to see two people in love. I have known so many men, so many women who were raised in loveless marriages and believe me – they have issues.

I do not mean to exalt my single parenthood … I am trying to make the best of a bad hand dealt to me…trying to look on the bright side and to believe that one day I will find someone like my father who will love myself and my son – until I find that man – I am going to make the best of being a single parent. And be happy. Because that – at the end of the day – is what will make Benjamin happy.

Most of the single women in this community – are single because their men left them or failed them in incredible ways. We were not given a choice and we are making the best of our situations.

Thanks for your input and I do hear your points – they are very good ones. A two parent household may be the best for some children – but not for mine because his father and I together… now that really would have fucked him up.

A note before we start flying off the handle attacking Jim – I tried not to in my comment … I mean this when I say that caring single fathers are so admirable. But this question he raises is one that makes me feel as if I am supposed to be ashamed for being a single parent. I am a proud single parent because I survived. And I survived hell to get here and make this work … and for what? For my son. The door is always open for his father to spend more time with Benjamin – but he never walks in. And, yes Jim, it breaks my heart.

{ 8 trackbacks }

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

ana.biosis March 20, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I just want to say:

I am a very proud single mother. I have been since the day I found that little pink line. Ex and I had a rocky relationship to say the least, and it was mostly that line, that finally made me wake up and realize, that Ex was not the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

I say that because I grew up in a two parent household…. this however…bing

raised without a mom and dad in the same house, working together to raise them.

was my personal horrific nightmare growing up.

My parents stayed together for me.

The both had sons from previous marriages, 5 total, and married and had 1 little girl, me.

By the time I was old enough, I knew, my parents were not meant to be together, however, their desire to raise me in a home with two parents, have destroyed my ideals, and foundation of what a loving commited relationships are suppose to be like.

I have no clue.

And because of that, I have made some disastrous choices in my life. I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of that hell hole I called home.

They both wanted tor raise me so bad, that I can remember shouting matches on the front porch about who I was going where with.

Finally by the time I was in junior high, they were merely room mates, the word dysfunctional doesn’t even touch my ‘family’.

I begged my father to get a divorce. I wanted them in seperate houses, so they could both find real happiness.

Now they have wasted so many years, they are finally divorced, but both miserably single because they both feel to old to get out and meet new people. My dad will be 73 this year, and my mom is 58 this year as well.

I am single mom, and I love it. I love because my son sees me happy, and not the miserable worried woman I was, when I was with his father, wondering why more of my money was missing, and it’s 4 am, and he isn’t home from work yet…oh wait, that’s because he stopped off at the strip club (because you can get a great steak dinner for $5) & the stripper offered him some cocaine to “sober him” since he had been drinking since God knows when…..and he then proceeded to take her home, pick her kids up (3&5) to meet their dad somewhere for his pick up time…..since she didn’t have a car. He was only being a good samaritian…..

do you see where I am going with this?

Yes in an ideal world, the person we feel in love with, would always be the Prince Charming or Cinderella we thought they were, but sometimes they’re just not. and it’s up to you, to make a decision: do you want your child(ren) to have a real home, or a house with two people in it, that have the ability to reproduce?

I say it that way too because one of my great friends, is a lesbian, and she had a baby through artificial insemination, and her and her partner are the best couple ever, and the love in their happy home is dang near equivalent to the freakin Cleaver’s.

I just think, that sometimes, being unconventional, isn’t a bad thing. And if you are single, embrace it, show your child(ren) that you are strong, independent, and that you made a choice for yours and their total and complete happiness.

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liz March 20, 2008 at 1:32 pm

This is definitely a hot-button issue. My 2 cents:

Being a single mom was not what I envisioned. Struggling financially, with not ever having enough time, with the day care and everything that comes with having two children (ages 3 and 2), being a single mom who works full time.

My parents have been married over 30 years. Their marriage was not without disagreement and fights, but in their cores they are completely devoted to one another and to the family.

This was not the case with my marriage. My husband was abusive and had serious control issues. He had multiple affairs. We had two small children he wasn’t interested in — He said on more than one occasion that he would be more interested in them once they were old enough to have intelligent discussion with him. He filed for divorce and kicked us out of the house.

So, do I think children better off having two parents who love each other and their children? Absolutely.

But I also know that having one parent who loves them, wants the best for them and is significantly better off emotionally/spiritually/mentally is a hell of a lot better than being stuck with two parents who fight, philander (well, one of them at least), and are not dedicated to what’s best for the family.

And who knows, Mr. Right may come along and fall in love with me and my two boys and they’ll get the father they really deserve instead of the one who helped biologically produce them.

I am happier, healthier and more joyous now than I ever was married. And that’s a lot better for my two boys.

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Jim March 20, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Shame wasn’t my point. But…here we go again, making it about the parent and not the child. The original post was titled “I LOVE being a single mom”, with comments about not needing a father around, and most of the comment thread supported this. I feel that the post & comments are more about how the parent feels about the situation, not the children.

What’s my point? Remember the child. Remember what’s best for him or her. You may not be able to stand your former partner – they may have done things, to you, that were unforgivable. But to the child they may be fun, caring, and above all, loving. Some commented that they could get along just fine without their spouse around. But what about the children? It may not be fine with them. And I don’t mean to say that anyone should stay in a relationship that is irreparably broken. If your former partner really is a jerk, the kids will figure it out for themselves.

One more thing: Mssinglemama, something you said about your ex: When my spouse and I were first separated, I called her house to talk to my kids every night we were apart. Not for long- maybe just 10 minutes. I was told to stop calling.

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Jim March 20, 2008 at 2:40 pm

And since we’re talking about personal stories…

Now my situation: I have three boys, 9 and 10 and 17. The 17 year old was her child (single mom!) who I adopted when he was four. Then we adopted two more kids. Mom moved out a year ago. 17 year old went with her. I get the other two 50%, and Mr.17 and I get along pretty well, too. I am hardworking, very involved in my children’s lives, and a Cub Scout leader. I gave my family everything I could. We have (well, I still have) a small farm with horses & other critters, but mostly horses, which my wife loved dearly. No abuse, no drinking or drugs, no cheating. For the last three years we were together I worked two jobs, did laundry and cleaned more than my wife, and I still managed to spend a lot of time with my kids in the process. My wife, on the other hand, started partying with friends and coming home late, if at all. And not talking to me anymore. She was like some of the men described here. Heck, she may even be reading these comments. She’s NOT a terrible person. I think she’s just lost her way. I tried to get her to go to counseling, but she didn’t want to.

I tried so hard to hold it together. Until it just blew apart.

But anyway. Like another poster, to most people my kids seem like they’re just fine. But my 10 year old is having trouble. He’s had several ‘meltdowns’ at school. He’s also getting into a lot of fights. He’s talked to me about our situation – he’s very frustrated. And my 9 year old keeps quiet – until the other day, when he recounted a fantasy to me where me and his mother get back together. It really took me off guard. I’ve got them in a group counseling session at school, which my wife opposed, but they really seem to like it. I hope it helps. My wife on the other hand, thinks everything’s just fine. As the one who left, maybe that’s what she has to tell herself.

It’s hard all around. I’m trying to get a handle on it myself.

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jon b March 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

This is clearly a topic which has a lot of emotion tied in to it. Objectively, Jim makes what I consider a true point in that a child ultimately gains from a two parent household. However, that is only in a household where both parents are in love, committed, and focused on the childs well being and their own as a unit. My girlfriend has a wonderful two year old who is simply adorable and has a way of stealing the show everywhere he goes. The best of him is entirely from her. The ex abused drugs at one point, became abusive physically, and was always psychologically abusive. He moved to Florida in the middle of the night and noone knows his address. He only talks to his son when my girlfriends nags him via phone or text until he caves in. He then tells the child he loves him so much, yet has paid no child support, sends no card or present, and drags the kid along to his friends houses when he was around for his two weekends a month(which he was about 50/50 on). Many times we had to cancel plans we had made because he had other htings to do or didn;t feel like keeping him overnight.

What positive influence does the child recieve from this? NONE. He only plays, and does not learn the way of a man, how to treat women, or much of anythign for that matter.

Since we have been together I have learned so much from Noah and have tried to always be positive and helpful with him. He and i have bonded and our relationship is so rewarding, and terrifying. To know that that little boy is a sponge and soaking up everything I do is intimidating. But Courtney has talked to me abotu how she sees Noah taking on my manerisms, saying words like me, and shows affection to her in ways I do also(Hey not ALL ways people, behave!). She sees the interaction between us and is thankful he has a good role model(AHH SCARY!).

I am by no means a saint. I feel overwhelmed at times because I know he loves me and has grown used to me. He expects me to be there and when Courtney and I are apart he asks about me. She is depending on me too. Yes, she was fine before as a single mom, but I can see in her the hope that I can be the kind of man she dreams of. As a reformed bachelor I wonder at times if I am ready for this responsibility, if she is the one, and if I am in love with her or the situation. But each time i aks the question it is somehow answered and I can;t imagine being with anyone else.

The point I am making i guess(sorry for getting side tracked) is that two parents only works if BOTH parents show the child unconditional love, make the child and the FAMILY the focus, and can let go of the fun, the partying, the flirting and be home as a parent, not just a guy(or gal). I was lucky, my father comitted to my mom and I when I was four and has been there for me always. Something my bio-dad has never done. I do not know him, cannot remember him, and do not care. My mom is a hell of a woman and parent, she would have raised me right if she was single and shown me all the love i could ever need. I have come to believe a strong single mother is better than any half ass tandem, and better than any couple where the parents lack the will and fight to raise a child.

There is nothing in this world harder than being a single parent, and any child lucky enough to have one that loves them and would move the world for them is in a damn good situation.

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Jenny March 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Hi Jim —

I understand what you’re talking about regarding the perception of the child vs. the perception of the parent where the former spouse is concerned. For myself, I could live the rest of my life never again knowing what new idiocy my former spouse is up to. But to my daughter, he’s a precious connection in a widely dispersed collection of people that one may loosely term a “family.”

I don’t begrudge her that, quite the contrary. What makes me the happiest is that she doesn’t pay much attention to the fact that he never calls or emails her outside of summer and winter trips (we live in separate states). Instead she focuses on the moment, and has fond memories of all her times with him. That is ever so much more than I had with my own father and so I consider myself very fortunate indeed to be able to help her maintain that contact.

And too, I generally agree with what you’re saying about “remember the child.” However, I would also urge you to consider that that is precisely what a great many single moms are doing when they proclaim their preference for single parenthood.

Speaking for myself, I am quite proud that I can do as well as I do without being married. But I don’t discount the impact being on my own has on my daughter. And I understand that my success as a single mom ultimately rests with her. To me, being a proud single mom isn’t a blanket statement against raising kids with a loving partner. Instead, as others have said, it’s a statement of survival of both parent and child, of facing the reality brought about by uncontrollable forces and creating a new and better life for all involved.

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mssinglemama March 20, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Jim I am so sorry you have had such an awful experience with your Ex. I consider myself and my son lucky that we don’t have such hard issues. And my choosing to leave my Ex when Benjamin was just 4 months old will hopefully prevent him from the kind of pain your older children are going through.

I really do value your opinion and am glad you are raising these points. It’s something we do all have to answer to – to others, to ourselves and most importantly to our children.

I would comment more but must work! I am loving this conversation. Thanks to everyone for being so polite and for sharing your personal stories. Keep them coming…

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dadshouse March 20, 2008 at 6:03 pm

I like what Jim wrote when he said “to the child [the other parent] may be fun, caring, and above all, loving.” Very true! And if the two parents are divorced but sharing custody, the kids can enjoy both parents, like you said. Only separately. Our situation is not without flaws, but we’ve found a compromise that gets us by. My ex and I can pursue happiness on our own terms, and our kids feel loved by both of us.

As for single parent families where the dad is not much involved – I think that’s why I read Ms. Single Mama and other single mom blogs. to understand their situation and broaden my view.

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singlemomseeking March 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Jim, thanks for opening yourself up here.

And bless you for getting counseling for your kids. I think that everyone can use a good counselor/therapist at some point in his/her life. Getting some extra, caring support is a great idea.

Sure, a two-parent household is ideal. I agree. In my life, my ex stepped out the door when our daughter was seven months old. She is now almost eight. How about single parents in my situation?

Like many single moms have pointed out — including Ms. Single Mama — what if your ex doesn’t want to be involved?

I strongly believe that all children need both male and female role models/care takers/mentors. But what if the mother/father isn’t around? Then what?

In our own life, my Dad is there for my daughter. He has stepped in to be the man in my daughter’s life. He has spent every Monday with her for the past six years, since we moved back to Cali. I’m grateful.

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Jim March 20, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Good points, all. And I realize you can’t change someone else, to get them more involved. If your ex doesn’t want to do it, you can’t make them.
Like other posters, I’m trying my best to parent separately.

Something we should all keep in mind is that whatever your child’s situation is right now, it could and probably will change as they get older. Your child could be quite happy with the parenting arrangement today, but might not be happy 3, 5, 10 years down the road. Or, maybe things are tough right now, but they could even out in the future.
A story to illustrate this: I’m a teacher, and a couple of years ago a high schooler I had in class went to live, full-time, with his dad after being raised by his mom. His dad lived in the area, and had been involved in his life, but just not on a daily basis. Now he lives with dad and sees mom on weekends, which is the opposite of how it used to be. Teenagers. I hear about a lot of family drama from my students. They play one off the other – of course, that happens in two-parent families too! So we all, including me, need to be prepared.

And personally, being a single parent sucks when I have to go home to an empty house!

Have a good holiday,
– Jim

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mssinglemama March 21, 2008 at 12:29 am

Jim – can’t imagine going home to an empty house – only happens to me one night a week and I hate it. And that’s why it’s hard to understand why his father doesn’t feel the way you do. Breaks my heart…and not for my sake but for Benjamin’s.

Good luck and keep us posted, okay?

And Jon B – you’ve got one lucky girl…and I know it can be overwhelming to date a single mom with a todder. My boyfriend has the same issues…it’s very, very scary. Sounds like you know what you want though and I’m so happy for you!

Dad’s House – thanks for reading, I hope we can give you that insight. So cute and smart!

Jenny – your story is SO inspiring. I love it!

Liz – yes, who knows…he might be just around the corner and until then we’ll just keep being happy. A win-win!

Ana – and what a tough decision that is … to be a single parent, but yes, often it’s the only choice because our ex’s don’t give us another option.

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Angie March 21, 2008 at 2:01 am

Youch. tough topic today. We are all going to have mixed feelings on this, and since most of us here are single parents we have and emotional attachment to this debate because the truth is none of us know the truth. Is the truth that a happy parent makes a happy child? Or, that a home with two adults – happy or not – makes the most stable environment?

I tend to fall into the former line of thought. I do believe that a GOOD single parent makes up for two poor parents in a heartbeat. I thing a GOOD single parent can be just as good as two good parents.

If we take away the stigma of single parents tearing up the family values in this country, maybe single parents will feel less disparaged and can focus on being good parents.

Until the dual couples can accept the single parents as equals – we will always fight this feeling of ‘being less’…

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Crazy Computer Dad March 21, 2008 at 2:59 am

I guess when I read through the many blogs of single parents out there, mostly single moms, and they are “proud” to be single…if you really read through their posts I do not think that it is so much proud to be single as it is knowing that they do not HAVE to depend on anyone else, much less a man that they settled on because they needed someone.

I am a single parent, that has full custody of my son. I have been in this situation for over six years. A two parent home would be easier. It would probably be better for him for a multitude of reasons. It will not destroy him. He will not be severely disadvantaged just like many other children that have grown up with single parents are not. I also totally agree with Angie that it is much more important to have a good stable parent than to have a two parent home that is strained and unstable. The ideal, a happy, stable, and capable two parent home is probably what we all want. But if you settle on someone, what happens when the child moves out? You have to think of now and later.

The statistics I have seen lately are intriguing. 36% or so of all children born in 2006 were born to single parents. The remaining (not counting those given up for adoption) would be 64% to married parents. If half of those marriages end in divorce then approximately 68% of all children born in 2006 will be in a single parent home at some point in their lives. it is vitally important that these parents have the tools and the encouragement they need to provide the best for their children. I have seen some groups that discourage providing extra help for single parents because it might encourage them to stay single since they would then be able to manage everything on their own. It doesn’t fit their IDEAL definition of FAMILY. But why make the children suffer any more than they need to?

I know what it is to try and raise a child in a home where one parent is out partying and running around while the other is making dinner for two instead of three, teaching a young boy how to throw and hit a baseball, teaching him how to swim, how to read, how to ride a bike, and so much more. I know what it is to see a child’s heart torn to shreds because one parent is so selfish that they get mad, storm out the door, leave tire tracks in the street, and never say goodbye to their child. As much as I would love to have a two parent home, I don’t want my son to ever go through that again. I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes over the years, and had the right person been with me they probably could have been avoided, but getting married to the wrong person would be much worse.

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divorce360 March 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm

this is a really intersting discussion. i’m also a single mother and can easily debate this issue for days or weeks or years even. just wanted the community here to know about another community, http://www.divorce360.com. we have so many people who are just starting the process and could benefit from your viewpoints. check it out.

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Alice March 21, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I have to run back to work soon, but I am so thankful for this discussion. My perspective is as the kid of divorced parents, whose divorce is one of the things I appreciate most about my childhood. They’re both good parents, and they were free to be happy *people* once they were divorced.

I think that there’s a middle ground in all of this that tends to get overlooked in the big discussions – while I would have loved it if my parents could have stayed together happily, that wasn’t an option. Since I couldn’t have 2 happily married parents, having 2 happy parents was the best alternative that they could provide.

We can wish lots of things for our families, but making the best choices of the options available to us is all we can do. Sometimes none of the options fit into our wishes, and then we have to struggle through as best we can.

If you make choices that you *know* are the best ones available, I believe that you have every right to be proud of them, even if you wish that you’d had more appealing options from which to choose.

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Dawn March 22, 2008 at 4:36 am

I just posted on the other entry…and to be honest, I seriously am trying to keep my emotions in check, because this is a serious hot button for me…But a couple of questions arise in my mind…

Since my daughter was conceived out of wedlock, should I have then subjected her to her fathers heavy use of pot? (that wasnt present after we got back together, so he said..a lie) Should I have aborted her? Or put her up for adoption? Should I just take the first guy that comes along so that she can have a father figure in her life? Should I just throw my hands up now and say “Well her life is doomed…so I might as well just be unhappy about being a single mom…not be proud that I am trying to deal with all the financial, emotional, and physical stress that I am enduring”? Should I just be down on myself because I brought her into this single parent world, and not be proud of what I have already and am accomplishing? To all these questions..I say a loud resounding screaming HELL NO.

I am proud to be a single mom. Yeah that is about me…but if Im not proud of myself…Not happy with being a single mom…down on myself for our situation…That will carry over in her life…and make her life more miserable and conflicting then it will be already. So I AM PROUD…Will always BE PROUD…that I decided to bring my darling girl into this world..alone(with the help of my family)…Without a drug abusing father, and drug dealing grandmother!

I wish I was in a loving situation with a man that she can experience first hand…But the fact remains, I am not. I will not let this affect her more then it has to!

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Gayle March 23, 2008 at 2:04 am

For what it’s worth, I am thankful every day to be a SINGLE parent. I am thankful every single day my daughter and I got out of the situation we were in.

I am not ashamed of being divorced. I am proud. I am not ashamed my daughter’s father is not around very much. For that I am thankful.

What is shameful is the thought that I might have stayed there to provide a mom & dad under 1 roof and exist the way we were.

Now we are safe, healthy, financially stable, and not subject to verbal and emotional abuse. I don’t have to borrow money from my parents for diapers and food. My daughter doesn’t have to see me beg, humiliate myself, and lie about daily activities just to avoid fights and yelling over cooking the wrong thing for supper.

Having a Mom and Dad under 1 roof is only ideal when the relationship is healthy. If it’s not healthy for the adults, it’s definitely no healthy for the kid.

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Barb March 23, 2008 at 5:57 pm

I always wanted my kids to grow up with a two-parent family under the same roof but unfortunately even when we were together, their dad was a little checked out in the parenting world. Everything always became about him and as you all know there is no room for selfishness in parenting. Even to this day, (our girls are 15 and 12) and he has a 19 month old with his girlfriend , he hasn’t quite figured out true parenting skills. (She calls me to ‘discuss’)

For the past 11 years, it always been easier ‘parenting’ without him. Whenever I would call on him to help deal with a situation, to step in, help me out, it always seemed to fast forward to a huge fight, blown up to something so big and out of control. (example : my daughter wanted to transfer schools because she was seeing a lot of her friends go down bad paths with alcohol and she didn’t like the peer pressure, but at the same time she was nervous about starting over) Well, her dad, rather than listening to her feelings, ended up making it worst. He lashed out at her indecision instead of supporting her careful reflection of both sides. I have learned my lesson and no longer turn to him to help parent. My kids are grateful too and they spend time with him, but know that he’s never going to go real deep with them. Sad, I know.

I have such great respect for the dads that remain positive and active in their children’s lives after a divorce. They really want to be involved and I am sure it shows and is heartfelt. Kudos.

I think we do the best with the hand we are dealt and our kids do the same and sometimes as the single parent, we really do give them the love of two parents and even more.

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Kimberly Seymour March 24, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I am a single mom to a one year old babygirl… and I have pleaded and begged her father to be a father. I said to him… forget the money, just come and see her once a week. He refuses. I have begged, wallowed, done eveything humanly possible because I wanted and genuinely believed that she NEEDED to have a father. He still refuses, makes silly excuses. What choice do I have?
I have decided to raise her with as much love as humanly possible, expose her to the best that life has to offer and to keep her around family members who love her and affirm her. Yes, i still wish that her sperm donor would be a father. But not all wishes come true. I AM A PROUD SINGLE MOM. PROUD THAT MY DAUGHTER HAS A MOTHER LIKE ME, PROUD THAT SHE GETS JUST AS MUCH LOVE AS TWO PARENT FAMILIES, PROUD THAT SHE WILL SEE A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO FACED THE ODDS RAISE HER AND PROUD THAT DESPITE WHAT HAPPENED… GOD WILL ALWAYS PROVIDE FOR HER BECAUSE HE LOVES HER.
I think single parents should be proud of themselves because they are doing a monumental task and many of them succeeding at it, some of us have no choice and I WILL NOT FOR A MINUTE… bemoan the fact that her father is absent. My faith in my love for her and JESUS CHRIST’S PROVISION TO BE A FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS WILL NOT ALLOW ME.

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Kimberly Seymour March 24, 2008 at 2:28 pm

My advice to single parents is that…. while statistics show that kids raised in single parent families tend to show higher levels of anti social behaviour… maybe that stems from the fact that single parents tend to suffer from feelings of being overwhelmed due mainly to a lack of support by society, family and friends. As single parents we are at risk for being depressed, lonely and overwhelmed, but this risk can be reduced by supporting each other, by family, friends, church, and even other social or religious groups reaching out and saying a kind word, offering a prayer, offering to babysit or even come over and help for two hours. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ (african proverb). The bigger issue is the stigmatization and lack of support that single parents get and this leads to being overwhelmed, and reducing the parent’s ability to cope.

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Jim March 24, 2008 at 5:40 pm

First: you all make great points.
Second: This is still going to piss people off.

Two things I have noticed from this discussion:

9 people tell stories of bad ex’s. Maybe we have a selection problem? I mean in society – I know so many women who are addicted to fast, racy, ‘cool’ guys who treat them like dirt, and would not be a good choice to have a child with. But they still sleep with them, and babies still happen. I don’t hear anyone saying “Yeah, I picked him. I thought it was a good idea at the time”.

And yes, single parents who find themselves single through no fault of there own should be proud if they are trying their best and doing a good job. And society should accept this.

But society should still encourage two parent families. Maybe we need to teach men how to be good fathers? On the other hand, my wife is NOT the first woman I’ve known who left their spouse for no good reason.

Overall, I think there IS a general acceptance of single-parent families as a new ‘normal’. And that scares me. I don’t want to raise a generation of kids who think single parenting is normal. We are continuing the cycle.

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Betsey January 3, 2011 at 4:16 am

How about teaching men to be good husbands, instead of good fathers? If they were better husbands, women would happily rear their children and society would be better off. If they spent more energy working on their marital relationship, then they wouldn’t have to do 100% of the parenting, 50% of the time. That’s my 2 cents…

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Dawn March 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Jim, You raise very valid points. You are correct, society is showing that being a single parent thing should not be the norm. Many of the celebrities create this visual world that young people see, that shows them becoming single parents, what they dont show is the large amount of support staff they have helping them.

Although, I must add…that when it does happen, it really isnt necessary to put down that single parent for opting to raise the child as a single parent.

Having said all that…I can not say that I am a single parent through no fault of my own. Yes I made bad choices in the men I dated. I was often the codependent one…and hoping that the man would change, and of course they never did. I realize the wrong in this thought process and have corrected it now with the choices in the men I date now(or lack of date..since I have been pretty much not dating for awhile now). However, in the same regard..I will not call having my daughter a fault.

I have had issue with this thought process. I am real adimant about the fact that my child was not a mistake. Getting mixed up with her sperm donor..was not a mistake, because without him, she would not be here.

But effectively..thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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Betsey January 3, 2011 at 4:05 am

Jim; I agree that a two-parent home with child’s natural parents are better. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t get to choose. I never wanted my kids to grow up in a single parent home. My XH’s reason for divorce was that he was more “at peace” when I was gone (I deployed for a year).
It was a quick and painless divorce, as divorces go…he handed me divorce papers Christmas day last year, and it was final by Mar 2. Needless to say, he got off very easy…and, just like most divorces with kids, we have a variation of joint custody. Currently, neither of us is in a new relationship (thank goodness). So, the kids (9 and 11 y/o) are the center of attention at each house. I was a step-parent to his older kids for 10 yrs. Looking back, I think maybe it would have been better for him to stay single forever, than for us to marry…(don’t get me wrong, I love my children, and thank God every day for them, but I just feel very guilty that I brought kids into an already fractured family. He had been divorced for 2 yrs and separated for 4 when we got together. I saw the problems my step kids had over the years, in spite of how amicable their parents were. Over the years, there was a lot of tension in our house, I believe because his older kids needed much more attention than he was willing/capable of giving. I don’t ever want my kids to go through that. So, as lonely as I am and hopefully he is, I think it’s better for our children to be in two single parent families, than for either of us to remarry. There are just so many stories of kids being treated badly by their stepparent. Even if it’s only the child’s perception, it still impacts their self-esteem. I was a stepparent for many years and remember thinking how hard this relationship and role was for both me and them. I love my XH’s kids and I am very proud of them as adults, but I often question if their lives were worse off as a result of having to share their Dad with a step mom and new younger siblings. I hope someday I will be able to boldly proclaim that I am happy to be a single parent. I’m not there yet. I am self-suffiect and working hard to give my kids a good life as a single parent, but I truly haven’t finished grieving over the loss of my ten year marriage and I haven’t really gotten over the guilt and shame that I couldn’t provide my kids a stable, two-parent home. I salute the women here who have proclaimed their strength as single mom’s.

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