Few of us set out to become single mums, but life has this crafty way of changing our carefully-laid plans.
For this reason, more and more women are finding themselves as just that … single mothers. And with this status, comes a whole new set of complications and emotions. Most significantly, surrounding the well-being of our children.
How will our break-up affect them? Will living between two homes leave them in disarray? Will they be able to function normally as adults? Or will they become crazed hermits, unable to find love and end up living in a house full of cats?
Well, in answer to the above, you really don’t have to worry. Children of separated parents are perfectly able to have healthy, happy lives. And not only that, they can thrive from it.
Let me explain why.
They are more realistic
The beauty of being a kid is that life is full of fairy floss and flowers and no-one wants to snatch this from an innocent child, but children of separated parents are privvy to reality sooner. My daughters watch me work two jobs in order to pay a mortgage. They know that working = paying bills = surviving. They learn that not everything in life is perfect and easy, making their expectations more realistic.
They have a happier home
We know that the rate of separation is rising. Yet, I don’t believe anyone takes separation lightly when children are involved. If you have broken up, it would be for a good reason, most probably because you were miserable. Your child will have been part of the atmospheric black cloud placed over your home. When their parents separate, their home will naturally become a happier place with less conflict and negativity.
They are more organised
Living between two homes, alternate weekends, whatever the set-up, children of separated families have to be more organised in a practical sense. They must consider things that children from partnered parents are oblivious to. They need foresight and must learn to plan. Being organised in their home life filters into their school life, meaning they are able to learn better and excel at school.
They are more compassionate
Going through a family break-up means a child will see and deal with emotions that they may otherwise not have experienced at this point in their lives. They gain an understanding and empathy which they can use to help others. When my daughter’s friend’s parents argue, they tend to tell my daughter, as she ‘gets it’ and is able help by relating to her own experiences. It makes her sympathetic, responsive and gives her a wonderful sense of self-worth.
They are more resilient
However hard we try to protect our children from the pains of separation, they will be affected. Emotional and practically. By having no choice but to deal with these issues, children of separation become stronger people. They start to build on life experiences from an early age. They cope with different homes, different routines and different rules. The result is a more adaptable child who can take change in their stride.
They are more open-minded
We’d all like the stereotypical family from the Myer Christmas ads. Where parents, siblings, grandparents and Great Aunty Sybil get along like a house on fire. But we don’t need what the media consider the norm to be happy. Children of separated parents have experience of being happy and loved in a different type of family unit. This opens their mind to the differences of people and situations. It makes them less-prejudiced and more accepting as they encounter other situations that fall outside the periphery of ‘normal’.
They are more independent
A child who lives with only one parent has to pull their weight around the house. They are generally expected (well, needed) to help with household chores. Not only does this make them more capable and independent, but they also feel like a valued member of the household team. There is no doubt that self-sufficiency and independence as a child, makes for confident and go-getting young adults.
Do you know some children of single parents who are thriving? Share with us in the comments.