Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

A Child of a Single Parent Asks, Why the Hurtful Digs?

Some of the people in public and private life who say, essentially, that the children of single parents are doomed to a lesser life, really believe that’s what the science says. They are wrong. Read More

This is beautiful

Thanks, Bella. I hope this gets widely distributed.

There are many, many positive stories of single parents

As a single parent myself for many years, at 23 years old my son is a very confident, bright young man who is carving out a successful career with a UK top 50 law firm. This dispels the stereotype of children of single parents.

Whilst it would be ideal that a child is raised in a home with 2 loving parents, unfortunately for various reasons, it does not always work like this.

It is a shame that there is so much focus on the negative aspects of children of single parents. It would be nice to see and hear more of the positive stories and perhaps if this was the case, it would serve to inspire more single parents, inform the wider society and reduce the negative stereotypes that exist.

There are many, many positive stories of single parents

As a single parent myself for many years, at 23 years old my son is a very confident, bright young man who is carving out a successful career with a UK top 50 law firm. This dispels the stereotype of children of single parents.

Whilst it would be ideal that a child is raised in a home with 2 loving parents, unfortunately for various reasons, it does not always work like this.

It is a shame that there is so much focus on the negative aspects of children of single parents. It would be nice to see and hear more of the positive stories and perhaps if this was the case, it would serve to inspire more single parents, inform the wider society and reduce the negative stereotypes that exist.

Speaking as a person raised by 2 parents

I've met people from all kinds of families along the course of 49 years, and I think it's quality, not quantity. I've known horrifically messed-up products of two-parent homes (often in an addict-enabler dynamic), and one-parent homes as well. I've known great adults from all family types.
Being loved and wanted is the key. Having at least one parent who provides a consistent moral guide is vital. It's not enough to simply provide for physical needs, you need to actually raise the child. I had a friend who sent her child to a religious school because she wanted him to learn values, and I told her she shouldn't expect the school to do that, it was her job, and she wasn't doing anything of the kind.
Parenting is hard; not everyone is up to job, with or without help. But it's unfair to suggest that certain family structures are less valid simply because they don't meet the "ideal." A better word would be "default."

Anecdotal Evidence

Pointing to President Clinton and Obama as evidence that stereotypes can be wrong has a double edge sword for two reasons.
1) It shows even though there may be discrimination against children from single parents it seems both these people did not seem to suffer from it.
2) Also, even after being raised by single parents they both seem to have avoided this for their own children.

Bill Gates did not graduate from college but at the same time that doesn't imply that you should not go to college.

Not a "Should" or "Shouldn't" Stance

Your last line as an analogy implies that you think Bella is advocating being a single parent. I don't agree. What she IS saying is that single parenthood in and of itself does not prophesy a lesser life for a person's offspring. Single parenthood, whether a matter of choice or circumstance, should be viewed from a perspective of truth. It is so sad that there is such a push to believe the negative stereotype about children of single parents. The last two presidents ARE great examples of that stereotype being wrong. They did not become single parents themselves, true. That was by luck since nothing happened to their marriages or to their spouses. My daughter will grow up as the child of a single parent BY CHOICE. If she grows up to be a great person/citizen and chooses to marry and have children, does that negate the fact that single parenting did not create a doomed child? No. The proof that single parenthood does not doom a child is based in the kind of person that child is as an adult and how fulfilling his/her life turned out to be. It has very little, if anything, to do with that child's personal choices about how to live a fulfilling life.

Thanks, Bella, for these recent threads/articles about the stereotyping that children of single parents face. As a single parent, I appreciate the truth getting out there. And, as a teacher of young children, I've heard too many teachers perpetuate the myths. I plan to copy as many threads/articles as you write on the subject and leave them on the Teachers' Room table!

thanks

Thanks, Li! I hope the Teachers' Room table becomes a place for consciousness-raising!

thanks

Thanks to everyone posting encouraging comments. I agree with Simone that this student's questions should be widely disseminated, so if you agree with that and you have ways to get the word out (Facebook, Twitter, whatever), please do.

Also, here's Part 2:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2013/03/a-child-of-a-singl...

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Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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