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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Stewart-Williams, MDR

Single Parent Situations are Not Created Equally...

There is an assumption that seems to loom in the perception of family dynamics that single parents situations are equivalent or interchangeable. We know this looming perception is ever-present due to how many times in Family Court determinations are blindly applied in family court cases. So let me help debunk the myth: Single Parent Situations are not Created Equally. If you understand this basic premise, then you will understand why it is so important for you to take the time to identify what type of parent you are and establish a personal plan of action to benefit overall your family and operation as a single parent.

You need to identify, what type of single parent are you? If you do not understand where you are in this journey, you will take on or operate in a way that will not benefit you. I had an Ombudsman session with a single parent that revealed that she was causing the drama with her ex. I gave her my personal handout that I created to help her identify what type of single parent she is:

She was very honest and realized that she was operating as an "HOA Single Parent", for she was still upset that he wanted a divorce. She was making it difficult for him to be a father to his children. She could not say that she did not have support from him or family so the sob story that many times she presented was untrue. So now she is operating in her truth and working towards a more positive relationship as a "VIRGA Single Parent" evaporating drama. Identifying your parenting situation is vital to healthy living. And for my Dads, you also have your own. I recall a Dad's situation that had a history of Domestic Violence.

He was the "Court TV Single Parent", consistently forcing his ex back to Court because he wanted the freedom to "co-parent" with the mother. The issue is the restraining order and protective orders in place that limits such ideals. He may be different but forcing his ex to see him differently may not be the answer. We had to work on acknowledging where he was authentically as a single parent. His ex did not want to engage with him due to their volatile history, so he had to accept that limited interaction with her and focused on possibly creating more of a parallel parenting plan. He begin to recognize that maybe operating as a "CDC Single Parent" will give him more positive interaction with children and establishing new memories than what was witnessed years past. He was able to mediate things that ended up being beneficial for the family.

Single parents are so diverse. I love the series of ABC's Single Parents (2018-2020). I believe they embody the diversity and reality of many single parents. If you are going through this single parent journey take the time to identify what type of single parent system you are operating under. If it is not beneficial, change it. If you need more support, reach out and find out. If you have not scheduled your free Ombudsman/Navigator session to date, schedule now. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. This is your life no matter the season of change. As always, be blessed!

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