Growing up, I was child of a single parent home. My dad wasn’t around or even involved in any way. I don’t know the reasoning or thought process of him not being involved from one side or the other. I just know he wasn’t. And, honestly, lately I have decided that is enough for me. I’m a very introspective person and am constantly looking at things I do and trying to figure out why I do them. I’ve long since noticed these things in myself but recently noticed some other friends
They’re used to fending for themselves. As a child in a single parent home, most days I got myself off the bus, got home and hung out alone doing homework until my mom got home from work. There wasn’t always money for a baby-sitter or day care. I was very used to being on my own and handling my business. It’s so weird but now I enjoy other people NOT having to fend for themselves. I don’t want the people I care about or love to have to do everything on their own like I did as a kid.
They feel bad for putting more work on the one parent they do have. As a kid in a single parent home, you take on more adult responsibilities because you don’t want to add to your mom or dad’s stress. I have always wanted to please my mom because she was the only parent I had around growing up. In my eyes, if I could something that made her life easier (because she’s done a lot for me!) and not put so much stress on her, I would do it.
They’re subliminally trying to be a better person than the parent that wasn’t around. It’s always in the back of my head. I will never put anyone else (children or no children) in the situation I was in as a child. I always want to be a better person than the person that chose not to be a part of my life. I don’t want to make others feel the way I felt growing up. I have consistently made choices in my life to a better person than the parent that wasn’t around.
They need constant approval and praise. It’s a hard thing to love a person who came from a single parent home. When Austin and I first met, I was always trying to get his approval or praise. Probably to the point of annoyance. I constantly needed to be reinforced that he care about me or loved me. You’re seeking the praise you never got from the parent that isn’t there. It’s hard for the other person to understand that you’re only this way because you have a deep-rooted fear of abandonment.
They need to be in control. Oh, man. I am a CONTROL FREAK. If I can plan something vs. having someone else make decisions for me I will do it. I would rather be the person making my decisions. It boils down to this…as a child you didn’t have control over being a child in a single parent home. You didn’t have control over the other parent not being there. And it felt terrible. So, in your mind, you want to control everything you can so you don’t ever feel like a bystander in your own destiny.
They feel guilty. Guilt is the worst human emotion possible. I felt guilty all the time for my other parent not being there. It’s almost as if you think YOU’RE the reason the other parent chose to leave. Throughout the years, I have come to realize that was a choice made by a grown up that had zero to do with me. But, that didn’t mean I didn’t still feel guilty the parents wasn’t there. Feelings of guilt then cause you to go overboard in other ways.
They don’t know how to maintain romantic relationships. This one is especially tough. When you grow up in a single parent home, you don’t always grow up around a healthy, adult, romantic relationship. For a lot years, I searched for just anyone because it meant I had someone. As I moved through life, I realized just having someone is different than having someone of quality in my life. By the time, I met the right person…I did all the wrong things. I was jealous, clingy, untrusting. It’s taken a lot of years to move past those feelings and not make him pay for me not having a dad around as a kid.
These are just a few commonalities I have noticed in children of single parent homes. What have you noticed in yourself or others?