Even today, the unjust stereotype is still sometimes invoked: a single parent presides over a broken home that produces troubled children. Unless single mothers and fathers disbelieve this popular prejudice, they are in danger of doubting their adequacy and undercutting their confidence as parents. It's not the number of parents in a family, but the quality of parenting a child receives that matters most. A home is only “broken” when healthy family interactions break down. As for producing troubled children, in my counseling practice they seem no more likely to come from single parent homes than from dual parent families.
What is true is that single parents, because they have no parent partner with whom to share the daily child raising load, must absorb additional family demand and support additional responsibility. However, by rising to this challenge, custodial single parents develop significant strengths that merit recognition and appreciation. Consider just a few of the common strengths they often seem to possess.
1. Single parents are highly committed.
Taking their family responsibilities very seriously, single parents vote with their actions, doing more as parents now that they are parenting alone thereby increasing dedication to the welfare of their children.
2. Single parents are clear communicators.
With much to talk about and limited time to talk, busyness causes single parents to speak directly and to the point, not hesitating to speak up when difficult issues need to be addressed.
3. Single parents are firm decision-makers.
Accepting that parenting often requires taking stands against what children want for their best interests, single parents are not afraid to make tough and unpopular rules stick.
4. Single parents are well organized.
With so much to do and one parent to do it, single parents create efficient systems to manage so much responsibility.
5. Single parents manage diverse family functions.
Parenting alone, single parents expand their traditional role to include family tasks the absent parent used to do.