Kids in single-parent households do just as well as others, according to new research
There’s no disputing the fact that navigating through parenthood as a single mom is some serious work. Single moms weather every parenting storm solo, including pulling double duty with the worry and guilt that comes with being a parent. For all the single moms out there reading this, know that you’re doing a great job and your kids are living proof: a recent study found that kids raised in intentionally single-parent households (where the parent is single by choice) thrive just as well as kids in two-parent homes. Because a lot of love goes a long way, no matter how many parents are giving it.
The study, conducted by the Centre of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, looked at comparing single moms by choice with moms from heterosexual two-parent families. Both groups had a child between the ages of 18 months and six years. Results concluded that kids of single moms were doing “just as well in terms of their well-being” than children of two-parent homes. There were no significant differences in each group of children’s emotional and behavioral problems.
“The assumption that growing up in a family without a father is not good for the child is based mainly on research into children whose parents are divorced and who thus have experienced parental conflict,” explained Mathilde Brewaeys, an investigator with the center conducting the study. “However, it seems likely that any negative influence on child development depends more on a troubled parent-child relationship and not on the absence of a father.”
Being a single mom means constantly fighting an uphill battle in a world that doesn’t celebrate them. Everything surrounding parenthood is geared toward the “traditional” two-person home, despite the fact that 12 million U.S. families are managed by single parents. Thanks to research like this, we know that all kids really need to thrive is a loving parent who cares deeply about them — it doesn’t matter if it’s one parent, two parents, or more.
While single moms may not need a partner to raise happy, healthy children, Brewaeys suggests they should try to surround themselves in a village they can rely on. “A strong social network is of crucial importance,” she said. “So I would recommend that all women considering single motherhood by choice make sure of a strong social network – brothers, sisters, parents, friends of neighbors. And to never be afraid to ask for help.”
This study in particular focuses on mothers who choose to parent solo, and is actually the first of its kind. Let’s hope it’s not the last, considering how many women parent alone whether they intend to or not. Single moms have less independence, less social support, and often less financial means than parents with partners. So yeah, they deserve all the credit and assurance they can get from research like this.
And wine. They deserve allll the wine.