Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Cold Cup Of Coffee: Bitter Single-Parents

This is a special edition of A Moment With Morris. This is part of an ongoing series I affectionately titled "A Cold Cup of Coffee". Bringing you real life without the sweeteners, a cold and sometimes bitter, but always necessary sip of reality. This time we're looking at, Bitter Single-Parents.

This truly is, “A Cold Cup of Coffee” edition, some of you will be angry, some upset, some confused. All of which is okay, these are my thoughts…read responsibly.

Let me first begin by saying, that I myself spent my adolescence and teenage years in a single parent household. I believe that my mother did the best job she was capable of doing. To her credit, she had a lot going on within herself and still managed to raise me into being someone I am proud to be today. We made it through some rather tough times, and some low points, but we DID make it through. I appreciate her for everything, the good and bad, all helping me to be who I am today.

My parents couldn’t make it work but my mother never kept me or turned me from my father. Regardless of what happened in their relationship she made it clear and stressed his importance to me and my development.

Now have a seat at the bar and take a nice big swig of this cup. We’re pouring cold and sugar free all night…

Growing up in a single parent household, (divorce, baby mama/daddy, death) is a very difficult place and space for a child, and by child I mean under 18. Please don’t think that you’re 16 or 17 year old goes unaffected by a change like that. We’ve become so accustomed in this society to people having children and not staying together that I feel like we have become desensitized to the damage it creates. If you’re under 35, most likely you and many of your friends are products of a single parent home. It’s so common that I believe we take on the notion that since “we came out fine” we don’t see the problems that surround it, and yes there are problems.

Children of single parent households are drastically more likely to suffer from emotional issues (depression, anxiety, low self esteem) than if their parents stayed together. They also have a tendency to be more aggressive and disruptive. Girls are more likely to be in abusive relationships and experiment sexually at a younger age. This coincides with increased probability of molestation. Boys are more likely to drop out of school, get involved with drugs and alcohol, and engage in criminal activity. Close to 70 percent of male inmates in this country come from single parent households.

In other words, children need active involvement from both parents. This isn’t designed to throw statistics at you, let’s look at real life…

A man’s first relationship with a woman is with his mother. Her presence or lack of will set the table for the type of relationships he involves himself with. A boy with no mother will have him dating every emotionally distant, damaged or unavailable women, all the while trying to fill the mold of a woman that wasn’t there.

His father is there to teach him behavioral traits. We learn how to respond and deal with things from our same sex parent. A boy raised with a mother but with no father will have him reacting more like her; emotionally. Women have become the new male role model in our society, and it is killing us. Men need to learn how to be disciplined, and responsible in a way that a woman can’t teach. It’s a visual lesson.

Girls need both parents even more than boys. Girls without a father, grow up with incredible insecurity issues. (See “Daddy Dearest) They grow up in a state of panic, exhibiting high levels of anxiety which are often expressed through aggression or sexual behavior. In real life, they are more likely than not to be in abusive relationships, have issues with drugs and alcohol and battle depression. They attach themselves to men quickly and create non-existent relationships within their minds to fill that void. It’s a damaging process often leading them to experience extreme highs and bitter lows. Girls that have a father but no mother tend to grow up with trust and intimacy issues. They are being raised by men… They need their mother to teach them how to respond and process emotionally in ways that a man can’t teach…a visual lesson as well.

Let me top off that cup for you…

A lot of you are selfish. You let your own feelings of hurt, anger, betrayal and pettiness cloud your judgement when it pertains to your child. You made the choice to have a child with the person that YOU went out into this world and found. If you no longer love them, want them, whatever, those are YOUR feelings. You don’t get to make that decision for your child. If the other parent is difficult, if you can’t stand their new girlfriend/boyfriend, if you can’t stand to look at them, if you hate the fact that they’re still breathing…suck it up! Don’t take that parent away from that kid. Your child’s best interest is not contingent on your comfort.

This “Moment” is brought to you by the self-centered, immature, and bitter parents, (men & women) that with-hold their children from their ex’s because of their own issues of hurt. If she cheated on you with an NBA player, she still has the right and need to be with her child. Yes it sucks seeing them in matching jerseys, but so what. It’s not about you it’s about what’s best for your child. If he left you for your best friend, he still has the right and need to be there for his son or daughter. I know it hurts to know the three of them are at the park, but you don’t get to remove him and his importance in that child’s life. (However, I’m not saying you should beat her down…but I understand).

Get over this belief that a child is the rope in your little game of emotional tug-o-war. In your quest to hurt your ex, you are preventing your child from growing and being all they can be. Your B.S. is stunting their growth.

Personal responsibility goes all the way around…understand that if you screwed her over, maybe she’s going to make things a little difficult for you. No it’s not right, but neither is what you did. If you lied to him and he left you, understand that maybe he doesn’t believe you when you say you need him to come over “for the baby”. Your credibility is garbage, and you have to accept that.

There are so many men and women out there who are struggling day to day who wish for nothing more than for the other parent to be involved. If you are fortunate enough to have that option and opportunity, don’t waste it on your own petty non-sense. You will never get the response or satisfaction you are looking for and your child will be the one to suffer in the end.

I would like to hear from the B.S.P’s out there or even just the Single Parents, so leave a comment.

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  1. Yeah. I'm going for full custody asap my BM already failed to comply with court orders in our custody battle so guess who's winning now! Me and my daughter. I don't want her around a women daily that has a sailor mouth and no job history.

  2. I hope it works out and the BM gets it together. I know it's usually men that are labeled as the 'flighty' ones but that's not always true.

  3. A great comment left on my Facebook page: "so true- I grew up 1/2 with my mother and 1/2 with my father. But my mother would play those games. And when i was older i came to hate my mother for it. It emotionally scared me. I went to live with my father and i never herd from my mothe...r. she resented me for leaving her. Ive allways felt like my life was better off without her. She died last year and i hadnt spoken to her in 10 years, and i didnt regret that. Ive been told im like a man. I was rased by my father through my teenage years, and looked to my girlfriends mothers for that missing piece, as well as really bad/loser boyfriends. Its hard for me to relate to other females, and I rather have male friends. I do think i would be a different person if my parents got along and i wished they did- Im still a daddys girl but i allways wished i had a mother around that actually cared and wanted to see me and not just use me as a pawn to hurt my dad."

  4. Another great comment via Facebook: "The point about not denying a child a relationship with their other parent based on your own comfort level with that person is one of the most profound points you made: "it's not about you, its about what's best for your child". This is true, but I actually believe this applies less often to single parents than it does to 2 parent households, if for no reason other than 2 selfish people are more damaging than 1. I also grew up with a single parent; its more like being raised by an older sibling than anything else. But I always closely scrutinized 2 parent households, to see what i was missing i guess, and i scrutinized the children they produced. True, they appear to be more confident and calm and "planned out" from an earlier age than I ever felt, but they are also hugely emotionally dependent on their parents by comparison. To be honest, I have never met a person raised by two parents who didn't seem to be constantly going through emotional "traumas" much much later in life than when I faced them. I know this is more likely the result of the "unnaturally" early age at which I had to face certain problems, but the obvious question is: if 2 parent households have been arbitrarily presented to us as "natural", then we thoughtlessly assume that our single parent experiences are "unnatural". For example, I have a close friend who always experienced his mother as "too emotional". He has a short fuse for any emotionality, and it has (long story short) kept him single by making him more detached emotionally (defensive/isolated) and giving him almost no tolerance for women making negative emotional displays. His parents are still married. He grew up viewing his father as a pillar of stability, unemotional, etc. He "hates" his mother for damaging everyone in the family with her "chaotic personality".

    The point of sharing this is to display just how similarly two different situations produce the same result. I disagree that the problem you identify, and articulate well, is exclusively the result of a single parent. How often does a parent leave/die, and the remaining parent remarries, only to a person who never has a relationship -- or develops an outright rivalry -- with the child from the previous relationship. Every friend I had growing up, except one, was lucky enough to actually be close to the stepparent; the majority were wedged out of their relationship with their biological parent through conflict. If the other parent is unavailable, this leaves the child an orphan by default.

    But I understand your point: it's too important to have as many parents as possible in a childs life; this can't be overshadowed by petty shit. I would only add the emphasis that pettiness, self-absorption, self-centeredness, etc., are the most damaging things to expose any person to -- adult or child -- but especially children. This is true regardless of whether anyone is single or not.

    Women and men that are single parents shouldn't feel shame or that they are unnatural and broken by being single. Children instinctively seek relationships with the adults they need, regardless of biology or the composition of the household. Worry about your child having access to a community that is positive. Don't hate yourself because you didn't fulfill some kind of formula that society has held as "normal" just because its traditional. Traditional environments damage kids the same ways that non-traditional ones do. We wish fixing problems was as simple as counting how many parents live in the same house, but its not.

    Everyone gets damaged in life; we should stop thinking its not normal and start dealing with the fact that life fucks us all up, and we all have to figure out how to deal with that."