Even after years of what I consider “successful” single parenting, I am dismayed to report that my children still occasionally worry. I am not sure where it comes from since I have always taken care of them and they have never really wanted for any of the basics. I think they are old enough now to be starting to realize what it takes to hold things together and they occasionally will say things like “We’re doing alright, right mom?” It always catches me off guard since I have done everything in my power to portray an air of strength and maternal stability. As single parents, we might have to work a little harder to alleviate fears and instill confidence and safety in our children.
Perhaps it is natural that children in single parent homes might be more aware of the realities of life than those sheltered by a two-parent home. Even though I am not one of those parents who shares the details of my finances with my kids, they have been through job lay-offs with me a during the economic downturn a few years ago and the start-up of my own freelance career. It can seem a bit precarious just because it doesn’t look like other people’s families. If our children have seen us go without, try to extract child support, or have to get additional help from other sources, they might not feel completely confident that we can take care of them and provide a stable life–we have to work even harder as single parents to let them know that we are in charge and that we will always take care of them.
I don’t think we should share our own feelings of despair or financial worry with our young children. I know there are those who will argue with me for the sake of honesty and reality, but I think children of single parent families have a tendency to take on a great deal of responsibility and worry anyway and the more we can do to minimize that–the more we can help them feel stable, secure, and the more the will have confidence in our ability to maintain control.