Life As a Single Parent: Convert Minuses Into PlusesParenting Resources
Certainly a broken home or a broken marriage is one of the biggest minuses in life. But there are some pluses that can be derived from that tragedy.
A story is told of twin boys who grew up with an alcoholic father. He was absent most of the time, didn't work much to support the family, and was unfaithful to their mother.
One of the twins married early, didn't go to college, didn't hold down a job, was abusive to his wife, and ended up divorcing her.
The other boy went to college, took his time getting married, had a great marriage, a very successful career, and beautiful children. Later in life, both of them were asked why they became what they were. Strangely enough, both gave the same answer: "Because of my father."
What had happened? Out of the one son's negative experience came depression; out of the other son's came determination. Really, the situation can go either way. A negative can either create another negative or it can create some positives. Those positives might include:
Strong bonds: In spite of the pressure and the survival needs you and your children have, the possibility exists for you to become bonded to each other in a close relationship you might otherwise have never experienced. (And perhaps closer than many children experience in two-parent families.)
Remember that diamonds are formed under great pressure, and that many children have emerged from broken families as diamonds because the pressure formed very strong bonds.
Strong children: Another plus can be strong children - children who have to step up to greater maturity, greater responsibility sooner than other children do.
The Bible tells how trials develop a stronger, more persevering and enduring character. If we approach single parenting in this way, we can help our children see the situation as an opportunity for personal spiritual growth. We can show them how they can be far ahead of their peers in understanding, cooperation, accountability, responsibility, hard work, decision-making, and character and that this will help make them better persons for the rest of their lives.
Strong lessons: Strong lessons can be learned from negative experiences, if the single parent approaches the situation saying, "I want you children to learn from this mistake, these problems, this failure, in order to provide a solid foundation for your lives."
The parent can even point out personal mistakes he or she made to teach lessons to the children. "Wouldn't it have been good if I had waited a little longer before I had decided to get married?" "I wish I had been older." "I wish I had kept sex in its right place." "I wish I had married a spiritual leader; I didn't realize how important that was." "Here's how our communication broke down. . . ."
If those lessons become part of the character of your children, they may very well become equipped to build a rick family life on their own.
Strong faith: There's something about desperation that builds a new reliance on the supernatural. If you're desperate, you don't just pray, you cry out to God. And if you and your child, or children, together say, "Lord, we just can't make it; we're desperate," the possibility of a strong faith, of seeing God become a father or mother to your family, becomes part of the solution of the substitute parent situation.
God provides where you can't. He can give love and support where you cannot. He gives you and yours the strength you need to face life. You may come to experience God's love and power in ways people who have the security of a whole family have never experienced.