Being a solo parent, especially if you’re a mom, is quite challenging, even overwhelming at times. There may even be times when one would question her parenting abilities — “Am I doing a good job?” “Will my kids turn out okay?” “Am I to be blamed if my child turns out ‘bad’?” Questions like these may plague the single mom from time to time. Through this article, we hope to help assure all the solo moms (and maybe dads, too) that whatever challenges you may be facing, you are not alone.
Josefina “Nina” Quintos Era is a college professor and family counselor associated with the University of the East - Manila, Miriam College and RCW Foundation. A single mom to Kristia Ysabel, 16, and Raphael, 14, Nina shares her insights and thoughts about the question: Do single moms raise inferior kids?
“Personally, I don’t think single moms raise inferior kids. First of all, a family that is nurtured by a single parent does not make less of a family. Therefore, inferior kids are not produced just because the family is incomplete,” Nina explains. “Children from intact families could still feel inferior because of many reasons such as the love and attention that they are not getting from their own parents.”
Nina says that when it comes to her own family, she is “pretty sure” that she is raising confident children because “from the very start I have been very honest with them on why my marriage (with their father) failed.” Nina’s children know the complete story and she constantly assures them of her unconditional love and care.
“I have also told them that whatever happened between their dad and I have nothing to do with their relationship with their dad. I point out to them that it is okay to love their dad and me at the same time. They need not feel guilty about it. It is not a betrayal on their part,” she continues.
Nina says that sometimes mothers who are in the same situation as her would always cover up what actually happened with their marriages because they want to shield their kids from the pain that they have gone through. “But sometimes this does more harm than good because we belittle their ability to understand,” she explains. “Believe me when I say that children now are very sensitive and intelligent and they know very well what is happening in their environment. As adults we just have to be open and honest with them, avoid stories that deceive them, and trust that our presence and love would be enough to make them feel secure.”
Nina admits that single mothers face a lot of challenges aside from the obvious fact that you raise your kids without a partner. Finances are also a big factor — there are mothers who have to take on several jobs to be able to provide a decent life for their children. “When the children do not excel in school, people would always generalize that these children are mediocre because they are products of single-parent homes and that their mothers are not able to find a balance between work and home.” And then of course, there’s the emotional baggage.