Coming from a ‘broken home’ is often used as a reason for bad behaviour or wrong doing. It’s as if the separation of someone’s parents is directly responsible for the choices they make for the rest of their lives. I dispute that. My parents are divorced and I’m normal. Barak Obama was raised by a single mum and he is President of the USA. A successful man I would say.
Adele was raised by a single Mum, arguably one of the greatest female vocal talents at the moment and she seems surprisingly normal.
Michael Phelps, was raised by a single Mum. He is the greatest swimmer the world has ever seen.
These are just a few in a very long list of famous names who come from single parent families.
The ‘singleness’ of our parents all occurred for different reasons, some started off single, some were widowed, others divorced or abandoned but what we all have in common is that we’ve taken our lives and made them successful in our own way and by success I don’t mean money, I mean being good human beings who are a positive addition to the world.
Probably the most well-known single parent story in the UK is that of JK Rowling. We have all heard the story of her writing the first Harry Potter novel in a café whilst her child slept next to her in a pushchair. Life dealt her a blow but she carried on, survived and eventually thrived.
Other famous single parents include Katie Couric, who was widowed, Sandra Bullock, Michelle Williams, Tory Burch, the list goes on. I know these people can afford a lot of extra help but the basic facts are still the same. They are one person trying to do the job of two and making a success of it and themselves.
Doing some research this week I spoke to several people who are single parents. One lady in her early twenties had fallen pregnant at seventeen and is raising her child alone. She managed to finish her A-Levels, gain a first class honours degree and is now a mental health nurse. Her daughter has started school and is flourishing. It just goes to show that even the pregnant “teen mum” stereotype isn’t really accurate either.
I also talked to a single Dad who shares almost equal time custody of his daughter with his ex-wife. They’re not friends but communicate cordially and respectfully and his little girl is happily settled into a solid routine that involves two homes and two families. This is normal to her.
All of the people who shared their stories with me were different. Their custody arrangements differed, as did their financial circumstances and their life choices but one thing they all had in common was their determination to raise their child well.
Children raised in single parent families can do just as well as those raised by couples. It’s all about the parents values, beliefs and parenting skills, however many of them there happen to be.
Society is changing and families take on so many differnet shapes now that it is hard to define “normal”. What is much easier to define is successful parenting so whether you are single or part of a couple take a look at your kids and see how great a job you are doing. I hope you feel as proud as I do!