Your child may be in a higher risk category according to the latest study or survey, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. Not having two involved parents doesn't mean they will be a troubled child.
Being a single mom was one of the hardest roles I’ve ever played. It’s a situation that is strangely both unique, but also far too common. It’s a healthy mix of exhaustion and joy from carrying the sole weight of your responsibilities while witnessing your child thrive under the circumstances. Now that I am remarried and out of the single mom life, I can look past the difficulties and judgments that I faced and I can see the lessons that I learned...
You Can’t Fulfill the Role of Dad:
I tried to be everything because I thought I had to and could, but if I learned anything during those years it was the fact that children need both parents. Each role is purposely different and children need something from each side. When you are forced to try and fulfill both roles, something is always lost in the balance. Even the moments when I thought things were fine, and even when I thought I was filling all of his needs, I would somehow get a reminder that something was missing.
He would gravitate towards the other dads and he yearned for that male influence that I couldn't fill. I couldn't do it all, but that didn't mean I failed. You aren't meant to do everything alone and you aren’t meant to play all roles. It’s one of 'those situation' where you do the best you can and cut yourself some slack.
Your Child isn’t a Statistic:
Your child may be in a higher risk category according to the latest study or survey, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. Not having two involved parents doesn't mean they will be a troubled child. Raising a son without his father does not mean that he will certainly use drugs, drop out of high school or follow a difficult life path. Your child is more than a label or a circumstance. The numbers thrown around only show a piece of the overall picture. Don’t let the statistics scare you.
You Need Help:
Surround yourself with your family and invest in relationships and friendships that will benefit you and your child. Just because your home may not reflect the picture perfect ‘two parents, two kids, and a dog,' doesn't mean that it's broken. It just means that you need to parent differently to fulfill your family's unique needs. Embrace the idea of ‘it takes a village’. It will help your mental and emotional wellbeing and the extra love to your child is never a bad thing. Each new and positive person in your child’s life will teach them something that you can’t - and that’s a good thing.
Your Children Can Flourish:
The difficult discussions you will have with your child will probably occur earlier than you were prepared for. These talks, deep questions, and raw emotions can teach your child how to navigate difficult situations and how to thrive in all environments. When handled properly, they can strengthen your child in ways that will amaze you. Finding age-appropriate ways to discuss these deep life topics does make them grow up faster in some ways, but it also teaches them flexibility, compassion and the importance of talking through emotions. Teaching them healthy communication skills at a young age will benefit them throughout their life. Difficult situations, while not ideal, can help mold your kid into an amazing and strong adult.
Being a single parent is hard and being a kid with an absent parent is even harder. When you are in this role as a single parent it can be easy to reflect only on the negative aspects, but it’s important to remember the good as well. With a change of perspective and a little support from your loved ones, you and your child can both find ways to succeed and grow. While not ideal, it could turn out to be the one thing that molds you both into who you were always meant to be.