The Problems Of A Child Without One Parent
In the tumult of agitation caused by life without a partner, parents often forget that their son or daughter is confronting with strong emotional issues, neglecting their needs or, even worse, exacerbating them. Well, it`s somehow understandable – to raise one or more children on your own, it`s not easy at all. Lack of money, affection, bearing all the problems that life throws at you without having someone to help, often too much work – all these form a situation which doesn`t really allow you to stay and meditate on one of the sorrows, which may seem fleeting, that your child may experience. Still, even if this isn`t confronting with “real problems,” this doesn`t mean it`s less affected by what`s happening around him. The problems of a family are lived, even if from a different perspective, by children as well.
There are 2 reasons for which a parent may remain single: separation or the death of one of the partners. Both, being very close, and affecting both children and the parent who has to deal with the situation, in different ways, we`ll now treat them separately.
Table of Contents
- 1 Child with Divorced Parents
- 2 The Effects of a Divorce on Children
- 3 The Problems of a Child with Divorced Parents
- 4 The Child with a Dead Parent
- 5 The Effects of the Death of a Parent on the Child
- 6 The Problems of a Child Parent with a Dead Parent
- 7 What to Do If You Are a Single Parent?
- 8 The Stages of Pain through which your Child Goes Through
- 9 Advice for Single Parents
Child with Divorced Parents
The effects that a child feels, when his parents go through a divorce, are varied, depending on his age, but also on the attachment that he had to the parent that won`t be an active part of his life. Because usually the decision of parents to divorce is from their own desire, children often see themselves put in the situation in which all they understood by the idea of a family, it`s stolen from them without having something to say about it.
In time, the child will get used to the idea – or at least, this will apparently happen – but this doesn`t mean there won`t be effects, growing next to only one parent and lack of an example of a complete family. Often, the parent that stayed with the child will try to make up the absence of the other parent, but this won`t compensate the true figure of the one he left.
The Effects of a Divorce on Children
Sometimes, the effect left by the parent he left may be devastating for a child, changing his personality and perceptions about life, transforming him into a totally new man to those who were used around him until now. Often, parents, who are caught in their own negative emotions due to the divorce, forget about their children`s feelings, directly involving them in their battle. Often put in the situation of taking sides, children confront with a real mature problem that is too deep for their age.
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Young children may develop a dependency on one of the parents and may become very fearful on the moment when the separation is made. They might change their habits, sleep hours, may cry a lot or become more violent. It`s their own way to say that they don`t agree with the present situation and that they don`t understand it completely. Until the moment when the child will start to discern between what is right and what is not, both parents will be his models. The aversion of one of the parents towards the other shouldn`t be a reason through he should try to destroy this model in the child`s mind, no matter the age. This is will be the child`s decision alone when he`ll be able to do it, or maybe never. You should allow him this right and don`t be led by selfish impulses.
Teenagers that go through a divorce are even more problematic. Because they feel emotions even stronger than adults, being at the border between adulthood and childhood, you`ll need a lot of patience to help your child get over this difficult period. A lot of the children of bigger age think that if they`ll behave, their parent won`t break up. Often, a proper communication helps a lot, but don`t expect for words to do wonders. No matter how good the decision of divorce would seem, a family breakdown where the child feels safe won`t be accepted by any child.
Other children will become aggressive, introverted and hostile. Even if these manifestations won`t always be obvious in the family, it`s very probable for them to be of passive-aggressive nature. Most likely, they`ll blame one of the parents, and often this blame isn`t correct, manifesting a cold or aggressive behavior towards him. You alone, being caught up in your own negative emotions, won`t be able to be a good adviser. That`s why, it`s recommended to ask for help from an objective person, like a professor or psychologist. This situation shouldn`t be left like this, hoping that will pass, because it may transform in a permanent behavior that will mark his life.
The Problems of a Child with Divorced Parents
After a while, all the problems outlined above will seem that they passed or faded, if they were treated properly. The child began to get used with the idea of having a family governed by one parent. The parent that remained seems to have found his peace. Still, there are some new issues the child confronts with.
Some of the children seem to take the responsibility of the absent parent on their own. Moreover, even their remaining parent asks this from them. Thus, we see girls left with their fathers who turn into small housewives with too much responsibility, or boys left of their mother that try to the money burden on their shoulders. As you may guess, this isn`t a behavior that should be accepted, the concerns of adults being reserved exclusively for adults and not children, who should have other occupations that are more age-appropriate.
Even if you don`t let your child replace your partner`s absence, preferring to wear the whole burden on your shoulders, this doesn`t mean you`ll manage protecting him from all problems. He`ll sense the tension, being well known that a child has a greater assertiveness than an adult. It`s very possible even for you to be the one producing more tension, if you unload your stress on him – through a defense mechanism called projection – thinking that you are right to lecture him. It`s important to control your reactions and communicate a lot with your child or children. – Check this out!
Studies show that without a proper supervision, the risk of dropping out from school and the occurrence of early sexual behavior increases. These issues can be avoided if you`ll learn to be a friend with your child and have a healthy and honest communication with him. Therefore, by building a friendship, you`ll ensure that lack of parental vigilance won`t be a factor to affect the normal course of events, because the child himself will come to you to listen when he`ll be confused of something or have an issue that he wants to resolve.
The Child with a Dead Parent
Nothing can be more devastating for a child than going through the death of one of his parents. If for the families that went through a divorce the situation is somehow bearable, for those in which one of the parents died is a moment that rarely will be pass without leaving some kind of marks on the members of the family. Of course, in these cases, it`s recommended professional psychological support, for both children and for the surviving partner. If this cannot be an option, there may be serious mental disorders, such as depression, especially if the death was sudden and violent, such as an accident or suicide.
In this case, the mothers have a tendency to be over-protective or, due to lack of time, too permissive. Fathers, even worst, have the tendency to close themselves and be overwhelmed by the entire situation, because the traditional model of the family that seem to dominate the entire society, didn`t prepare them for the moment in which they need to raise their children alone.
The Effects of the Death of a Parent on the Child
The death of a loved one may represent a shock to anyone, especially during childhood when we didn`t yet realized that every being dies at some point. Depending on the child`s age, the effect of the death of a parent can be an important event that will mark him for his entire life, if he doesn`t receive moral support as he should be. However, the parent himself may ignore the child`s emotions, caught up in his own emotions and preparations for the funeral. Therefore, it`s best to seek for the help of a relative or someone of whom the child feels closely, so he can be looked after during this period. It`s recommended to not let a small child to see his dead parent at his funeral or to keep him away as much as possible for some moments.
The psychological effects of the death of a parent on the child may have a variety of shapes: from depression to severe disorders, as various diseases. Small children may experience the following symptoms in the near future after the death of his parent:
- Insomnia or nightmares.
- A regression in behavior (bed urination, speech issues, etc).
- Loss of appetite.
- Physical diseases (children don`t know how to express their feelings, manifesting them physically).
- Learning difficulties or loss of memory.
- Introverted behavior.
All this can be overcome if they receive adequate attention and are resolved properly through the appropriate methods. Don`t punish the child for such manifestations – it`s his own way of expressing his sadness. Show him compassion and understanding, support him and communicate with him Explain him that what he`s feeling is something very normal and don`t avoid discussions about death or about the deceased parent. In time, these signs of pain will pass.
The Problems of a Child Parent with a Dead Parent
On the long run, there are problems that appear in case of a child who has a death parent. From an early maturing to substance abuse, from relationship problems or nonconformist behavior, all these can be resolved and avoided, although it may be difficult for a single parent. A close relative or family friend will have to take the place of the missing parental figure, so ask a trusted person to approach the child to avoid certain inconveniences.
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The child will feel the need to replace the missing parent, trying to protect the one is still alive. As mentioned above, this will mature him when is too early, and even though this might seem as a good idea at first, will actually not be. The more time will have for this process of replacing the missing parent, the less time will have for the activities appropriate for his age.
A lot of single parents tend to try to make up financially for lack of the missing parent, thinking that doing this will be enough. It`s not! Due to the fact that this will make him work more and, thus, miss more from home, the child may feel abandoned or alone. Try to spend as much time with him as possible. – Read this!
A state of anxiety may take over the child, given that he now feels “different” than children in families with 2 parents. Anxiety is manifested by fear, phobias, dramatic mood, sadness, but also by physical symptoms, as dizziness, heartburn or headache. Untreated, this may lead to depression, relational difficulties, phobias, antisocial behavior and others. That`s why, it`s recommended to pay attention to your child`s behavior, even a few years after the death of his parent. If he`s manifesting anxiety or depression, seek help from a doctor or the school`s psychologist.
What to Do If You Are a Single Parent?
Statistics show that over 25% of third-world countries raise their children alone, mostly single-parent families, being very hard to live as the help from the state is very small. Although seems impossible in such situations to ask for professional help for your child, there`s the possibility to reduce expenses by taking your child to the school`s psychologist. Offer him the moral support that he needs and don`t forget that most problems can be solved by communication. If even it`s hard, and the daily issues throws a lot of pressure that a lot of times leaves you with no energy to do anything, try as much as possible to come to the aid of your child, and don`t think that he`ll get used to the change or that the situation will pass by itself. While us, adults, have a defense system already developed, our children become vulnerable in front of such trauma, and may be repercussions that can mark him for his entire life. – More info!
There are a few stage of pain through a child without a parent will go through after hearing the news – no matter if this is about a divorce or death. Try to understand him and accept the situation, even if you`ll also be overwhelmed by your own pain. These are normal behaviors that every one of us goes through in our darkest moments.
The Stages of Pain through which your Child Goes Through
- Denial: “No way, that`s not true!” – The child will refuse to believe is true. This stage can be characterized through crying, denying the reality, a behavior as before.
- Anger: “It`s your fault!” – This stage can be the most painful for the remaining parent. A lot of times, the child`s anger will be pointed towards the remaining parent, saying painful words that will be hard to forget. Don`t hold it against him, it`s sometimes normal to try and blame others for something that is inevitable. – Check this!
- Bargaining: “I`ll be better!” – If in the death of one parent, the child know that bargaining cannot help (although in himself, he may pray for his parent to be brought back), when a divorce is concerned, this stage will be a lot more obvious.
- Depression: “Nothing is good!” – Fortunately, this stage will pass after a while, and is a lot more superficial than a real depression. Now it`s time to communicate with him and explain the situation to him a lot more better.
- Acceptance: When the blood pressure will drop, compliance, understanding the reality – this is the sign that will tell you that life went on and things are on track, from the emotional point of view.
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Advice for Single Parents
- Communication is often the level that saves every situation.
- Don`t be afraid to ask for help from a psychologist to help your child overcome critical moments.
- Accept your child`s manifestations and try to understand him.
- Talk to him and help him understand what`s happening.
- Have patience; the time will pass, the pain will diminish and things will calm down.
- Don`t try to refill the absence of your partner through material compensation.
- Be honest and answer your child`s questions, even if these answer may be painful.
- Don`t unload your own stress on your child, even if sometimes you feel you`ll “explode.” Remember that it`s not his fault.
Indeed, it`s a real challenge to raise a child on your own, but if you`ll know how to manage the situations and keep your patience, nothing is impossible. A common mistake that single parents make is to keep this status their entire life for “the sake of the child” or because they are afraid about “what the child will say.” Talk to him and ask for his opinion. Don`t assume from the start that he won`t agree for you to restore your life. A lot of children don`t understand that soon “they`ll leave the nest” and you`ll be left all alone. It only remains for you to understand this and when you`ll feel prepared, you would be best to think about making this step.