The media loves to point out the many disadvantages of single parenting. From loss of economic opportunity for the mothers to increased incidences of behavioral problems in school for children, we’ve heard plenty. However, despite all this dissection of the negative aspects of single parenting, the demographic is not going away. It’s actually increasing year by year, with many single parent households not setting the standards in their community as to the services they expect to see be made available to them. Despite the many disadvantages to single parenting, one may not have a choice and find themselves in that category one day. In which case, it is wise to learn what some of the advantages of single parenting are and whether they might be worth exploring.
While most single parenting households are created by divorce or death, there are some women who are becoming single mothers by choice. The reasons are that they consider themselves economically and emotionally ready to have children, but have not found an adequate mate. Rather than marry and risk a potential divorce, they opt for artificial insemination. The advantages of single parenting for these women is that they can cheat the biological clock and have children despite that they are not married. This makes the risk of growing too old to have children less of an issue for successful career women who are having difficulty finding a mate.
Another demographic of single parents is those that were in relationships that did not provide a good environment for the children. These partners may turn out to be abusive or who are chemically dependent or hostile. In such situations, becoming a single parent may be seen as the worst of two evils and the choice is pretty straightforward. It becomes evident that the spouse needs to be removed from the household for the safety of the mother and the children. In this case the advantages of single parenting are security, a stable household, and a chance to mold a family away from poor influences or violence.
Some advantages of single parenting are not influenced by demographics or culture. They’re inherent in the role of single households. For instance, a single household, in comparison to a married household, does not have two decision-makers. They also don’t have two earners, but there are no conflicts of interest as to how to spend the money once it is earned. The economic advantages of single parenting are that you are no longer tied to your spouse’s debts, as well as their assets. If you were married, you would share in the assets, but also be liable for the debts. So, although money is a key issue for single parents, it’s still easier to manage and plan for the future with only one person spending and making the financial decisions.
If you are single parenting and you child is getting ready to go off to college, there are advantages of single parenting versus being married. You may not have to claim the income of your former spouse on the FAFSA form. This might make your child eligible for need-based grants or other monies that have stringent income limitations.
Obviously these facts are for taking a bad situation and making it come out to your advantage. Most people do not go into single parenting hoping for advantages. They go into it because of lack of choice. But, once there, it is prudent to understand what advantages are available to investigate and use.