Growing Up In A Single Parent Household

September 6, 2016  |  

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For me, growing up in a single parent household was not as bad as it may sound. Of course, I had my sad, frustrating moments but I also had great, happy times. Growing up with only one parent has it’s good and bad side, just as anything else does.

I grew up with one older and three younger brothers, raised by my mom in Germany. We moved around a lot and never had a really consistent place of living. That’s probably one of the things that made it a little hard for me. I was never truly able to build long-lasting friendships. On top of having only one parent present, moving so much made my life feel unstable.

Advice I have for single parents: Try to give your children as much stability and security as possible.

My mother is undeniably the strongest person I know. She has been through so much in her life and did an incredible job raising five children by herself. She did it all. When we bought furniture, she assembled it herself until we were old enough to help. When we had questions about our homework, we came to her. Any concerns or questions went to that one person. I can’t even imagine how much pressure that must have been for her trying to play both roles and trying to give each child everything, so that we didn’t feel like we were missing something.

I know for a fact that my mother had her times of total frustration. Children don’t really understand the dynamics going on at a young age, but that makes it even more important for the single parent to communicate. Tell the kids, gently, how you feel and what the situation is (keep it simple). Don’t be so tough on yourself or them.

My mother always answered my questions. That made living life easier on me. I stopped thinking it may have been mine, hers or his fault. Sometimes whomever you’re with at the moment just isn’t meant to be with you for life, and that is fine. I’m very glad we were always able to talk about everything. She never tried to keep the facts from me. That being said, she also never spoke negatively about my father. That is important. Please don’t let your frustration about the other parent out on your children. It’s still their father or mother. Give them the opportunity to build their own relationship with them. Negative feelings toward anyone aren’t good for the mind. Especially not when it’s someone so important.

Since my father and I never really had a close relationship, it was even more frustrating for me growing up without him as a father figure. I think that if I at least would’ve had him to lean on at times, it would’ve been easier for me. Growing up without the other half of your parents makes you wonder whose fault it may be, and by default most children start by blaming themselves. For both, single parent and child, the situation is challenging but it’s crucial to talk to your children.

The safety and happiness of your children comes first. Don’t stay with someone who mistreats you or physically abuses you, just so you don’t have to raise your children by yourself. At the end of the day, they’d be better off in a safe, happy home with someone who truly cares for them. There will be hard times but there will also be rewarding sunshine.

There are many organizations out there that may be able to assist you in times of concern, including: Extended Family and Single Parent Advocate.  

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