There are a lot of factors that come into play when assessing the lives of single parent vs two parents and trying to decide which is ‘better’ in the single parent vs two parent family dilemma. I put it to you now that both have their pros and their cons, and that neither situation is necessarily better than the other. Let’s have a look at some of the main points raised in this regard.
As a single parent you may find that you so not have a lot of support from others to help you get through your daily life. You may feel that you are isolated and alone. This is one of the key issues involved in the single parent vs two parents debate. In a situation where there are two parents then each can support the other even if only for part of the day, and this can go a long way to making life a whole lot easier for both.
However it is important to remember that this is not always the case when it comes to the single parent vs two parent family argument because even in families where there are two parents present there is no guarantee that each member of the couple will support the other fully. Dysfunctional families are those where the parents are married just as often as when there is only one parent at the head of the family, so there are no absolutes in this regard. You need to remember that when it comes to the single parent vs two parents debate there is no reason to fulfill stereotypes.
In a marriage parents often disagree over fairly irrelevant things, such as:
- Where should we go to dinner?
- How should we decorate our home?
- What should we do this weekend?
These questions in a marriage or partnership are usually resolves through compromise, but if we consider the single parent vs two parents issue it soon becomes obvious that single parents don’t have to deal with this problem as they get to make all of the decisions themselves and therefore have far more freedom.
This may seem like a great advantage and for many people it really is, but personality can play a big part in this aspect of the single parent vs two parents debate. Some people simply do not like to make decisions on their own or they find it difficult. This is when the single parent vs two parent family issue in fact makes being a married or partnered parent seem better. There really is no right or wrong relationship status to have as a parent. The important thing is that you try to place yourself in a situation where you are happy and receiving the support you need.
Pressure and stress
Another issue that arises when considering the pros and cons of a single parent vs two parents is that of stress and pressure. In most cases (but not all) single parents are under far more pressure because they have to do everything themselves, and all of the burdens of the household are on their shoulders and no one else’s. There are methods for dealing with this kind of stress such as:
- Relaxation techniques
- Going for a walk
Being a single parent can result in a much higher level of stress that may seem almost impossible for you to cope with on your own. However being a married parent isn’t necessarily stress-free either. Something that people often do not consider in the single parent vs two parents debate is that in a two parent family there is one extra person for you to worry about. This is often especially true for mothers. Not only do they have to take care of their children but they also have to take care of a husband (and vice versa of course). On top of that there are so many stresses specific to being in a relationship that you don’t get when you are a single parent that overall it is quite difficult to say which is more stressful.
When considering the single parent vs two parent family issue a very interesting point arises. If you think about it single parents may have more opportunities to have a break than married or partnered parents because they often are able to send their children off to their other parent or to the other parent’s parents (the child’s grandparents) and thereby have a break. This is something that is often not considered when looking at the single parent vs two parents issue. We are not saying that single parents necessarily like not having their children around, but it does give you a moment or two to relax.
However parents with a partner around may also be able to have a break every once in a while if the other parent takes responsibility of the children for a set period of time and allows the other to relax. In fact this is what tends to happen in most two-parent families anyway, so it is once a again it is far from being a clear-cut issue in the single parent vs two parents dilemma.
There are a number of things that can put financial pressure on any family:
- The modern world requires us to maintain a rather expensive lifestyle in order to fit in
- Children always want what their friends have and struggle to understand financial constraints
This is especially difficult for parents who are already strained financially. However when looking at the single parent vs two parents question it is important to note that these financial burdens can occur in both kinds of families.
This being said it is a fact that having two incomes coming into the household is better than having one as it decreases the financial pressure that the parents are under. However economically speaking this may not be enough to offset financial strain, so it is therefore highly likely that two parent families struggle as much as single parents family when it comes to the financial domain of the single parent vs two parents debate.
A way to counter this for both kinds of families is to help your children to be thankful for what they do have. This message can be conveyed through your attitude and your approach to life.
It may seem like a strange thing to say but in the single parent vs two parents debate it may actually be easier for single parents to get away with certain things than the members of two-parent couples. If we look at single parent vs two parent family dynamics it can be seen that single parents are judged far less if their children are not as neat as possible or if they have not done their homework. People tend to be more willing to understand a single parent’s situation and accept that they are going through a difficult time and therefore can’t always get everything right.
Naturally you cannot expect everyone to be understanding of your circumstances, but to a certain degree it will help reduce the pressure on your shoulders. In addition this should also help you to feel better about your own efforts. If you don’t have time to clean up around the house, then you don’t have time. There are already so many other things that you have to worry about that it is simply not a priority. This aspect of the single parent vs two parents dilemma should help you feel better about what you are able to achieve.
There are a number of child care issues that may arise in the single parent vs two parents dilemma:
- Two parent families are able to split child care hours in many cases. (However in some relationships work does not permit this and it is still the responsibility of one parent.)
- In many cases grandparents are willing to step in to handle childcare and this can be true for both kinds of families. Grandparents are usually more than happy to take this role.
- However for many families the biggest single parent vs two parents issue that arises is having to engage professional childcare which can be expensive. This is something that can affect everyone in the single parent vs two parent family debate.
It is important to note that daycare assistance is available, not only for single parents, but for all parents to pay for child care in most states across the country. Although this assistance is often aimed at disadvantaged families, such as single parent families, you may still be able to benefit even if you are in a two-parent family situation.
Another issue that arises when considering single parent vs two parents situations is that of parent-child bonding.
Generally speaking, it easier to bond with a child if you are the only parent around to look after them. On the other hand there is the old saying that familiarity breeds contempt, a trend that may show itself especially clearly when your child goes through those difficult teenage years. However this is a generalization and it is impossible to account for all of the personality differences that you and your child may have.
This is not to say that parents in two-parent situations cannot bond with their child equally well. It all depends on the family dynamics inherent in ANY family, and there really is no family situation that is better than another for bonding. Like all issues in the single parent vs two parents debate it really depends on your attitude as a parent rather than on the actual family structure that you find yourself involved in. any family can be successful if you have the right approach to the situation and you convey the right attitude at all times.
You social life can take a knock if you are a single parent. However it is important to note that in the single parent vs two parents debate married or partnered parents can suffer in this regard just as much. Having children is a full-time job. It is often very difficult to get away from the family situation to do something just for you, even if you are married and have the support of someone else.
There are a few ways for you to maintain a social life as a single or partnered parent:
- Develop friendships with other single parents
- Develop friendships with the parents of the friends of your children
- Get a babysitter at least once a month who will be able to watch the kids and give you (and your partner or date) a chance to get away just for a little while and do something alone or with friends
Again it must be noted that this is a problem affecting both kinds of families. This should illustrate clearly that there is no one family situation that is better to be in than another. You have the ability to make things better (or worse) in your family regardless of whether you are single or partnered.
Your own and your child’s life
As a single parent in the single parent vs two parents debate you may be able to benefit from the following aspects:
- You may develop more confidence in yourself than a married parent over time
- You will have more control in child-rearing
- You won’t have to care for another adult
- You will learn resiliency
Children can also benefit from a single parent family when we consider the single parent vs two parents question:
- Children often develop more responsibility more quickly
- Children are also able to become more resilient to life’s challenges
However I think it is important to reiterate that that in a single parent vs two parent family debate children can pick up these skills in either family and a parent can experience these advantages where they are partnered or not. The difference is in the attitude that you convey to your children and the way that you handle the family situation. Obviously the type of family you have will have a big impact on your own life and on the lives of your children but you have a certain degree of control over whether or not that impact is a positive one.
Balance between children and work
Something that may be related to the childcare issue in the single parent vs two parents debate is how exactly you are going to balance your work life with your personal child-oriented life.
Generally speaking this is considered to be harder task to achieve for single parents than for parents who have partners around to help with the children. However like we said earlier it is often highly necessary that both parents work, and their schedules may mean that neither of them are able to provide enough attention to their children at all times. Conversely it must be noted that there are many single parents that have very good and flexible jobs and are therefore able to easily achieve this balance without any worry at all. Your status in the single parent vs two parents debate is not as relevant as your ability to handle the situation as well as possible. It must also be noted that children are more intelligent than you give them credit for and they can tell when you are not spending time with them because you simply are not able to and when you are not spending time with them because you don’t want to. This needn’t have a serious effect on the relationship you and your children have.
Loneliness is something that is thought to affect single parents more easily than partnered parents, but you need to remember that in many marriages there is a lack of emotional contact between the two member of the couple which could result in one or the other feeling lonely even though they have someone around to be with at all times.
One way to combat loneliness as a single parent in the single parent vs two parents debate is by going on a bid date. There are,however, a few safety precautions to keep in mind when doing this:
- Choose your location carefully: somewhere public in daylight.
- Do not get into their car.
- Make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
- Don’t give away any personal information, except perhaps an email address.
So, as you can see, the answer of who has the better deal in the single parent vs two parents debate is far from being an easy one for us to answer. There are just so many factors that come into play, but I think that the important bottom line is that you can make a success of your life in both situations and that raising functioning children is not dependent on being either married or single. A lot of it has to do with your attitude and your approach to the situation rather than you marital status.