All too often single parent families are assaulted with dreadful statistics about how our children are doomed to failure because there are not two parents in the household. Dual parent families struggle with problems that negatively affect children for life too.
I do not advocate that living in single parent families is more ideal than in double parent families, but if up to 50% of our nation’s children are going to be living in single parent families at some point in their lives, then let’s give these families some realistic tools and opportunities to create healthy happy families, and stop harping on the negative statistics.
In an article titled “Characteristics of Successful Single Parenting”, Dr. Stephen Duncan lists several ideals that can help shape a positive home environment. Some of these include:
Acceptance of responsibility. Successful single parents accept the responsibilities and challenges of single parenting. They neither minimize nor exaggerate problems but seek solutions. They acknowledge the difficulties (e.g., lack of personal time, restricted social life, sole responsibility for meeting multiple needs, financial stress) without self-pity or bitterness.
Commitment to family. Successful single parents make the family their highest priority. They focus on being the best possible single parent, which often means putting the needs of the child first. They genuinely like and enjoy children, sacrificing time, money and energy for the sake of the children. They try to be supportive, patient and help children cope. Like other effective parents, they are consistent and non-punitive. This discipline style gives children choices, uses natural and logical consequences and provides structure.
Open communication. Successful single parents foster open communication. These parents encourage clear and open expression of thoughts and feelings in the family as a key to developing honest and trusting relationships.
Successful home management. Successful single parents manage the family needs well. They strive to be well-organized, dependable and work hard to coordinate schedules. They take pride in their ability to financially provide for the family, although finances still remain a struggle.
Care of self. Successful single parents take care of themselves. Despite lack of time, these parents recognize that caring for themselves is important. They attempt to achieve it through physical, spiritual, emotional and/or social means.
Have a positive outlook on challenges. Successful single parents have a positive attitude toward parenting and life in general. They see positive aspects in stressful situation and feel that they have succeeded despite many doubts.
Other characteristics of a successful home can include creating a viable support network for all family members, verbally reassuring your children of your love for them-often, as well as having and showing respect for each other.
Many children from single parent homes have grown up to be successful well adjusted adults.