Do single parent homes "screw up" kids?

Filed under: Just For Moms, Just For Dads, Activities: Babies

My two best friends grew up in radically different family homes. One of them has a Mom and Dad who are still together, despite the father's alcoholism and years of fighting and bitterness. The other has parents who divorced before she turned two. I asked them both for their thoughts on their childhood homes when I was contemplating my own life path, some hefty decisions I needed to make for myself and my son.

"I wish my parents had divorced when I was young," said one friend.
"I am glad my parents divorced when I was young," said the other.

Both of their viewpoints surprised me. My parents are still together after 35 years of marriage, and I was raised on the assumption that a two-parent home was better than a one-parent home, at any cost. Now, I'm not so sure. I believe there's inherent value in working through the hard times, in maintaining a solid family unit in a world of uncertainty and turmoil. Yet I also believe that there's value in creating a turmoil-free home, even if that means the absence of one parent.

I don't believe in staying together for the sake of the child, if that means two unhappy parents. And yet, I don't know if a child can grow up completely happy and adjusted in a one-parent home. What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.