Why is it that people refer to my type of family as being broken or my children being from a “Broken Home”? Where does this term even come from, and why is it only applied to families that have gone through divorce? I understand that statistically children of divorce may have more struggles, but I truly believe that those statistics have more to do with economic status, and the parent(s) support network or lack of support than the perception of single parenting equating to dysfunctional.
I know of double parent family homes that have an alcoholic parent, uninvolved father or mentally ill parent that seem, from the outside looking in, a lot more broken than my family. I do not want to pass judgment on anyone with an illness or other struggles, but I don’t understand why as a single parent my family seems to be less valued or again-broken. Why aren’t other families, with alleged dysfunctions, such as those whose parents are unfaithful to each other or a home with an active drug addict considered a broken home?
I think the term ‘broken home” needs to be discarded. An author at epinions.com elegantly states: “When we refer to children with divorced parents as coming from broken homes, we create the potential self-fulfilling prophecy for children that implies they are not right or good; that they are broken and need to be fixed.” I think this statement is true and represents an ideal that needs to be radically challenged. Recent reports show that up to 40% of America’s children live with only one parent. Do we really want nearly half of our nation’s children-the future of our society to believe that they are broken, less worthy, dysfunctional, hopeless problems? I hope not. Let’s stop referring to single parent families as broken. Families of divorce can live with a high level of functioning and dare I say-success.