Single Parent Myths Uncovered

A study by University of Michigan of over 6,000 adults had surprisingly positive conclusions for children of divorce. Statistically, it turned out that adult children of divorce were just as likely (43 percent) to be happily married as someone who grew up in a two-parent home. Perhaps confronting the reality of the fragility of marriage the adult children of divorce were more than twice as likely to be worried about the health of their marriage.

Myth: Children from single-parent families have lower self-esteem.

A carefully controlled study (Nelson, 1993) found income level to be the deciding factor related to children's self-esteem. Because single-parent families are often also low-income households, children's self-esteem is likely to be lower, just as in low-income two-parent homes.

Parents need to be especially careful to emphasize to their children that who you are is not based on what you have. Modeling this unconditional self-esteem through self-respect and self-nurturance is the best way our children can absorb the self-esteem skills necessary to be resilient and successful citizens of the 21st century.

Myth : We should strive to be entirely self-sufficient.

The western myth of self-sufficiency has perpetuated much needless shame and guilt among the emotionally and financially challenged, single parents among them. Being able to give and receive are both necessary skills to bring the wider resources of the world to our families.

We live in an interdependent world. Being responsible for ourselves means getting healthy support - and even professional help - when we need it. We cannot depend on our children for social and psychological support; it is their place to receive our support.

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