It seems to be common sense that children who grow up with two guardians tend to be better off financially and educationally. However, growing up with a single mother can affect a child’s academics and social life. Unfortunately, the majority of single parents are mothers that raise children on their own without the support of a father. My mother was one of these parents.
According to Hello Motherhood, children who do not receive financial support from the father tend to receive less attention and support from their mother since she is often forced to work more. Over time, this can negatively impact the child’s education. Of course, not having financial support from one parent can put families at risk for poverty. I remember growing up there were times where my mother and I had to make our beans and rice last as long as possible. Other times, I was not able to pay for certain trips that my other peers and friends had the opportunity to go on. One vivid memory I have was when I had to sit alone in kindergarten on bring-your-parents-to-school-day. My mother had to work, and my father, who I had not seen in years, was in a different country. If anything, my mother was my mother and father figure all in one. She was my nurturer, protector, and provider for the entire family.
There are also emotional effects to growing up with a single mother. It can cause stress, low self-esteem, increased anger or frustration, and risk for violent behavior. Over time, the child might have feelings of loneliness, abandonment, difficulty socializing, or sadness. I can remember times where I was mad at the world for my financial restraints, and I often felt alone and frustrated. Especially being in an environment like Furman University where it seems like every car in the parking lot is a Mercedes, it can be hard to come to terms that you cannot always have what you want, but the people closest to you have never had that struggle. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that money cannot buy happiness, but other times it’s hard to think of a single thing that money could not fix in my life.
There are also a few positive effects to single parenting as well. One of those effects is strong responsibility skills. I can contest that this is true. Some of my friends in college are terrified to walk to the dining hall by themselves, drive or walk separately from the group, or simply call the doctor on their own. I, however, have been doing all those “adulting” things on my own since I was in elementary school. From a young age, I have had to make sure I secure a spot in the carpool before and after school, take care of the dogs, and clean the house while my mother was at work. As I got older, I started taking on more responsibilities like mowing the grass, pulling the weeds, and making all three meals for myself. When my friends in high school were focused on getting into college and “hanging out” before we all graduated, I was busy working at my first job, getting my license at age 15, and paying my insurance. Even though I used to not understand why I could not have a normal childhood like all my other friends, I am so thankful that my mother’s sacrifices and parenting have made me into the independent woman that I am today.