Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What are your thought's on Single Parents?

As some of you know, last week I was in London taking part in the filming of a documentary presented by Mylene Klass. Its aim was to explore and debunk some of the ideas of what a single parent is and highlight the ins and outs of being one.
Four single dads and I were filmed discussing what it was like being a single dad. Amongst many different questions asked a few stood out for me; one of them specifically.

We were asked about people’s views on us being a single dad, good and bad, and what kind of reactions we have had.
I found it was interesting to see the different reactions everyone had experienced; which has brought me to writing this post.

From my own experience’s I have been seen in many different ways:
I have been seen and spoken to as a “low life” that clearly walked away from my children and do the bare minimum with them; despite people not knowing my true background.

I have also been seen as the one, out of the two parents, that must struggle with the kids; ideally having no idea how to care for them. Within this I have been questioned a lot about where the Boys mum is and why she has “allowed” me to have as much custody as I do; I have received these in person and on this blog.
In the opposing light I have been praised for doing what I am doing and showing what an active single Dad can be like. This, of course, is very flattering and to be honest I just do what I can for the Boys and try to be the best dad possible.

Within this view I have also received empathy from other parents offering comfort that whatever happens I should know that I am doing a good job.
There are a few more examples here of how people have reacted but this concept of what a single Dad is like has cemented itself in my mind.

Some people have good thoughts towards them and some have negative and here is what I want to know; what is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a single dad?
I would also like to compare it to your thoughts on what a single mum is like.  Is there a difference?

Hopefully this will lead to some useful comments and I can round it up in some future posts.
Don’t be shy either! I honestly don’t mind if there are negative comments on the first thought you may have, I think it’s these comments that are great to help single parents, like myself, to debunk the myths behind them.

Would love for you to help me out and comment on what your first impressions of a single parent, mum or dad, are!


Unknown said...

Great post as always Martyn.
On the whole, I get a lot of praise for bringing up 5 children on my own. Locally, most people knee their mum before she walked out which seems to just add to my praise but I'm sure I'm doing what any other parent in my position would. My dad brought 5 of us up too after mum left so I learnt from the best although I didn't figure that out until I was in the same situation. I think the only place I've had any negativity was at the church we used to attend. Some of the congregation and even one of the deacons felt it was inappropriate that the children resided with me. It's been over four years now and whilst I may never win dad of the year, my kids and happy, healthy and safe.
A neighbour of mine is a single mum but she feels people look down on her for being a single parent but again she does a grand job. I take my hat off to all parents that are there for their children or at least want to be. Being a parent isn't easy and it's a continuous learning curve. I wish my ex had more time for the children for their sakes but it will never happen so I plod on and do the best I can. There will always be opinionated people which is their right, but it doesn't mean they are right. Most single (I prefer the term lone parent) parents do a grand job. As long as the children are happy, nurtured and safe, you're doing it right :)

Unknown said...

I have previously been a single parent & subsequently went on to date a single parent too. I've seen it from all kinds of angles over the years. The first thing I think of these days when I think of a single parent is if they're happy and if they're child is happy, no one ever knows why someone is a single parent- some are happy some are less so, some are the single & only parent in the childs life whilst others are single but still Co - parents.

Unknown said...

Great post. As a single mum with Amelia not ever seeing her dad I've had my fair share of judgement. To be honest I don't really like anyone's opinions as like you said they range from people feeling sorry for me people telling me how amazing I am and people judging where Amelia's dad is. Unless they know the true background they can only comment on what they see so I've learned to take it with a pinch of salt and not be too fussed. I've been lucky that negativity hasn't been one to crop up as I'm a young single mum I'm very much open to it. I think families come in all shapes and sizes these days and whether your a single parent or not we are all just trying to do as much as we can for our children and be the best parent!

Gary said...

Great post Martyn, I can relate in some many ways unfortunately. The absolute thing that pisses me off is when I have to hear my lawyer say "You've got a great custody arrangement", Bullshit, there is no reason I shouldn't have my daughter 50/50 it is what she wants and what I want. I know you are all too familiar with the crazy drama I've dealt with, but it makes my skin crawl anytime some parent/lawyer says "You've got a great arrangement", no I don't I see my daughter 7-8 times a month!

Anonymous said...

Based on my experience I’d say the majority reaction when people find out you’re a single Dad is “Wow! You don’t get that very often do you?” … though to be fair, that response has diminished over the years. I think where courts / magistrates are involved they tend to try to focus on what’s best for the children before even considering what the parents think. Having said that, I’m sure there are people out there with other experiences.
I probably should have said this to start with, I’m a single Dad of two young men now I guess … 16 & 19 … and have been for nearly 15 years.
It was tough to start with but it got easier as the years went on. You never get over the challenges completely, you just swap old ones for new ones! I’ve shared my woes with many friends that are married parents over the years and they say they had exactly the same problems as I did and struggled just the same, even with the two of them. I think my biggest problem was that I had no one to turn to at home and ask the simple question “Am I doing this right? What do you think?”. The flip side is that I didn’t have to compromise with anyone over how I thought I should raise my lads. It’s a lot of swings and roundabouts I guess.
Personally, I don’t think it matters too much as long as the children are raised in a loving environment and are challenged as they grow. A single parent can offer as much security, love and caring as two parents can … sometimes a little more as they often over compensate … feeling guilty that their child only has the one parent. I think gender can be an issue for some things. Let’s just say I don’t know how well I’d have handled explaining periods and such like to a young daughter! … though I have a feeling that somehow I’d have managed.

Thismummylark said...

My first thought? I guess id be curious as to whether there are more single mums or dads that have custody. Id assume mums. I also wonder if more dads get sympathy/pity as when you hear someones split up it wouldnt suprise me if the dad left and the kids stayed with the mum i think more people would be suprised and appauled even that a mum would leave her kids and i dont mean nothing by that i think its just a generalisation that i wouldnt be suprised at. I like to read single dads stories as ive only known it from the mums side. I only know of examples where dads maybe see their kids for a few hours a week whether thats their choice or a court ruling i dont know. Interesting post and question gets people thinking.

Natalie Streets said...

I think the perception of single dads is a tough one, as I've said before there's so much difference between a single dad and an absent father.

Having seen my friend go through a crappy relationship and become a single mum at age 20 I know that it's better to have separate parents and a happy child. That dad became an absent father and that was better for them all. There was also another couple in our friendship group who broke up at a similar time and the dad was the more involved parent, so I guess I have seen it from all angles.

Anonymous said...

Really wonderful and inspired post! I liked it so much! I think if you are single you shouldn't be closed! You can read another good article . After reading you'll understand that life goes on) Good luck!)

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Tommy. It's interesting to see your views good and bad and the comparison to your neighbour. I think it's sad that people can make judgement on single parents. As you say, as long as the kids are happy and safe it shouldn't matter.

Martyn Kitney said...

It's interesting that you've seen it from different angles. I agree with the fact that you never know the set up either....single parenting comes in different forms

Martyn Kitney said...

Am pleased you've never had that much negativity with it. I suppose everyone's views are different. I agree though families all come in different situations and set ups.

Martyn Kitney said...

I hear you! I know the background. Sadly I think it's "normal" to think a dad had a good set up if they have any relationship. I, like you, would always want more because at the end of the day they're my kids too.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks for your comment. I totally know what you mean about having someone at home to listen or support you. But equally know that you don't have to compromise. I long as they're raised happy and loving then that's all that matters.

Martyn Kitney said...

You raise a lot of good points and some that ive experienced firsthand. I suppose it's getting less than it used to he with assumptions as families are coming in all shapes and sizes. I think that a lot of Dads have access as you described and more than the is rare. Glad it got you thinking

Martyn Kitney said...

I agree. I think there's a big difference between single dads and absent fathers but I sometimes think people expect that they're the same initially. I think there's lots of different set ups available.