By Gereneicia Foster
Growing up in a single-parent home, people automatically assumed that I was worse off than other kids. Adults pitied me.
I also remember hearing stereotypes like kids in a single-parent home are more prone to drugs, violence and promiscuity. Yes, many studies have shown that children coming from a single-parent home would endure more hardships than those who lived with two parents.
According to futureofchildren.org, children without two parents are more economically disadvantaged because their parent doesn’t have the means to provide everything they need. The site also claims that the quality of parenting is different because single parents find it harder to function on their own.
But none of that was true for me. Growing up with my mother didn’t scar me, but it taught me some very important lessons about responsibility, parenting and life.
At first, I didn’t understand how difficult it was for my mother to toggle between a full-time job and raise four children alone. She was gone most of the time due to work and school,and with me being the oldest; I had to take on the brunt of the cooking and cleaning.
I didn’t like it and often, I complained about it. But as I got older, I understood from watching her that everything in life wouldn’t be picture perfect, nor would it be easy.
Even though my mother had many responsibilities as our only parent, we never felt neglected. We often enjoyed dinner and outings with my mother. She took the time to help us with our homework and also encouraged us to do well in school. But she also didn’t take any crap from us.
We didn’t think of not having a dad around as being a disadvantage, it was just a way of life. My mother worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed, even if it meant going without things she needed. Watching her struggle taught me patience and strength.
Many of these lessons that my mother taught me didn’t resonate with me until later in life, when I too became a single parent. I knew what I had to do because I saw my mother do it most of my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and moping around when my children’s father left, I knew that I had to stand up, be strong and continue on for them. I don’t think I would have made it if I hadn’t been taught responsibility at a young age or saw my mother’s struggle.
Though some of those stereotypes may be true for some they don’t predict the future. Children coming from a single-parent home can get just as much love and support and have just as much potential as those coming from a two-parent home.