By Gina Abuyuan
A friend and I got into a pretty huge argument a couple of years ago when she kept on insisting that I was a solo parent, while I felt the total opposite. Well, technically, I was—I was recently annulled and living alone–but the support group I had from family, my partner (who at that time was working abroad), loyal househelp, and friends made me more equipped at parenting from all fronts than most moms who were married.
Perhaps what irked me most was how she categorized or described kids of solo parents. They had issues, she said. Special issues that needed special attention. And that I, being a solo parent, would not be able to best handle such issues.
Not to say I’m turning a blind eye towards situations that may indeed need intervention, or that I’m in total denial about issues kids raised by one parent may have (believe me, I’ve seen and heard quite a few), but the scenario isn’t as bleak as she wanted to paint it to be.
In fact, kids of solo parents can be intrapersonally healthier than kids of partnered parents. Of course it depends on the environment in which the child is brought up. It goes without saying that if a child is brought up with respect, attention, and a fair amount of discipline, he or she will turn out ok.
Here are other things single parents may be doing that help in producing more well-grounded kids:
* Single parents have a more solid view of reality. It may sting at first, but there comes a point when every solo parent realizes that they’ve “missed the bus” in the fairy tale life department. Therefore, solo moms and dads are more conscious of bringing up their kids with a more balanced and sober view of disappointment and unmet expectations. Whether one turns bitter and cynical, or hopeful—but not naïve and psycho—is up to him or her. What every single parent should watch out for though is the syndrome called “parent-child,” wherein the child takes the role of the parent. The child may feel he or she should take upon the role of an adult, or even take care of mom or dad.
* Without meaning to, single parents teach their kids to be more understanding and responsible. Those family weekend trips to the mall, the church, the on-the-dot family dinners? Sure, a two-parent unit can fulfill those easily most of the time, but when taken up by a solo parent, schedules tend to get moved around. There’s work to be done, errands to be run, tasks that have to be completed that would be much easier if mom/dad had a partner. Kids of solo parents learn to deal with unexpected glitches early in life, and therefore become more understanding. If you’re lucky, your kids will also take it upon themselves to bring to the table—whether it be a particular behavior, or duty—something uniquely his or hers, in order to make the family function better.
* Kids of single parents communicate more and better. Again, provided he or she has no deep emotional or mental issues, single parents seem to make more efforts in communication and keeping connected with their kids. Heck, who else do they have to talk to anyway? Likewise, who else can you turn to to learn about what they’re going through? You don’t have a spouse, and a yaya isn’t exactly the best source of information. I may be wrong, but observation has shown me that kids of solo parents are more bonded with their mom/dad on deeper levels.
And, oh, in case you’re wondering, my friend doesn’t have kids. Neither is she married.