Do Peers Pick on Kids with Single Parents?

One of the arguments I have heard over the years for why two-parent “traditional” families with one mom and one dad are so important and “optimal” is because children will be cruel and pick on children who do not have two opposite-gender parents living in the home. I have to say that while this may have been the case forty years ago—maybe—my own children have NEVER had anyone give them grief for being from a divorced family. In fact, they have more friends who are in similar situations that those that live in the “optimal” situation.

As you may guess, I personally do not put much stock in those definitions of what a family is anyway and historically, it is a rather recent debate. Still, the argument seems to be that we expect children to be intentionally cruel and single out anyone who is “different.” Perhaps I and my children have been sheltered in my little Pacific Northwestern college town, but while my kids have definitely had their share of typical childhood battles—being judged or picked on because their parents are divorced have not been part of the scene.

I would love to hear from other single parents (and others), however, to see if YOU think this is still a concern. Is it still considered so unique in some areas for a child to have divorced, separated, deceased parents, or otherwise live in a single parent home? Does anyone know of an instance where their child was excluded, picked on or harassed for living with only one parent? Would you be willing to share your stories and opinions so we can try to figure out if this is still a valid concern?

My personal opinion is that there are those children who are going to be abusive and bully regardless and this is the problem of the bullying child, not the victim. What do you think?

Also: Gay Parents–Less Than Optimal?

Bullying–Do You Know Your Child’s Classmates?