Effects of Single Parenting
When Parents Separate
In this article about the effects of single parenting we look at some
of the positive effects and some of the negative effects of single parenting when
One of the greatest of these is that children often forge stronger bonds with both parents and with their siblings.
Moving between two houses can be seen as catastrophic and harmful, or can be seen as an
opportunity for learning and growth for all concerned.
We all have stories to tell of parents who fail to put their children first while they fight their way through a painful divorce. Much is made of the problematic point of view rather than looking for the positive side in the pain.
Effects of Single Parenting - Stronger Bonds
I know many fathers who can rightfully say that the bond with their children has become strong and precious simply because of their shared custody arrangement.
Paul told me that since his marriage ended, he is 'forced' to constantly parent his children. He states that he had never spent much quality time with his two boys previous to this.
However, since co-parenting with equal timeshare, he now feels he is emotionally richer, wiser, and considerably changed as a person and father. He greatly values the extra time he puts in with his sons and says he grieves for the loss of all the good parenting time he allowed to pass by.
Paul has worked hard on his own failings to try to be the best he can for his boys. Both parents agree that their sons are now significantly better off since their relationship failed than they were beforehand.
Effects of Single Parenting - Shattered Bonds
They have reached an amicable and worthwhile place in their relationship together after much hard work and some very difficult and strained times.
The opposite is also true of couples who just cannot find a truce with each other.
These couples greatly hinder the development of their children by refusing to speak, make any amends, or at least draw a line when it comes to parenting together. Children always know when their beloved parents are at loggerheads with each other, and the painful attempts they try to make to 'help' their parents can be heartbreaking to observe.
Hugh and Marilyn have been apart now for over 2 years, but they have resolved nothing when it comes to their children. Hugh says that he would like to repair things but that Marilyn will have nothing to do with him. He is unable to converse with her except through an intermediary and feels their children are suffering because of this.
Marilyn believes the children are doing really well and although she acknowledges that she will not try to seek a pathway to amend her relationship with her now ex-husband, she refuses to admit that the children are suffering at all. Neither will listen to any advice and both are clinging to old modes of thinking and holding onto pain.
To the pain of their observant extended family, it is obvious the children are missing out on valuable positive input from both their parents, while both parents deny this, caught up as they are in holding onto their own positions.
Effects of Single Parenting - Thriving Emotionally
However, there are families who are thriving emotionally because they have worked their way carefully through the minefield of painful wants and needs, by creating security and consistent parenting for their children.
These parents prove their emotional maturity by being able to put aside their anger, pain and rejection when it comes to parenting their children. Children, who experience this, shine in terms of confidence, and in their ability to embrace change.
Effects of Single Parenting - Stronger Sibling Bonds
Children who move regularly from one home to another tend to team up and 'do it together'.
It becomes clear to observers that these siblings often have a shared experience which has forged strong, protective and respectful bonds between brothers and sisters. Sometimes these children are able to quite clearly articulate this.
Juliet and Sarah are aged 7 and 9 and have lived for several years between their parent's homes, appearing to take it in their stride.
Juliet, the younger of the two, describes Sarah as 'a caring sister who makes sure I have my favorite stuff with me', while Sarah explains that Juliet is 'more like my best friend as we do so much together'.
"It's because we go to Dad's which is further away from our other friend's houses', they point out to me. "We have to play together then".
Effects of Single Parenting for Separated Parents
There is a huge change in parenting alone from parenting as a couple.
The advantages can be that more is required of each parent when doing the job alone - and consequently the advantages of putting in more time mean stronger relationships can be forged.
When parents are able to put aside their anger and grief and make arrangements that benefit the children, huge emotional strides forward can be made for everyone. This takes courage, patience, respect and maturity, but the benefits are amazing for all concerned. Often it means that each parent reaches out to their extended family for help in ways that maybe they wouldn't have.
Grandparents can prove to be strong, mature and valuable support systems during this stressful time, and provide a wonderfully consistent and secure anchor for children of all ages.
Read here about the impact of change on Divorce and Children
Children and Divorce Articles
Understand all the issues that arise when you are going through a divorce, including child custody and support, visitation issues, and how to help your children cope with divorce.
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