FACT: Chances are very slim in meeting someone who does not have at least one child. There is almost a guarantee children will come into play. You will be subject to viewing pictures proudly carried around of their offspring, in some cases, of multiple children. And while you examine them in all their cuteness, red flags flail right before your eyes. You may have a sincere interest in this person, but children may not be on your agenda.
An author, Jennifer Wolf, wrote an article entitled “Single Parent Statistics” on about.com. She reported that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, 21.8 million children under the age of 21 were being raised by a single parent. She also reported that single mothers represented 82.6% of all custodial parents, and fathers represented 17.4%.
See (http://singleparents.about.com/od/support/p/single_parent_statistics_us.htm) for more information.
So, here is the dilemma. Are you going to pursue the relationship despite your apprehensions? Or walk away not knowing if this could be THAT person? Before making that decision, there are some factors you should consider.
Be a role model. There are many studies that suggest that a child has a better chance of stability being raised in a two-parent household. The argument also exists that a child has the same opportunity being raised by a single parent, although a bit more stressful. The fact that remains prevalent is that despite the household make up, all children can benefit from being surrounded by adults who can be positive role models in their lives.
Biological parents. Always a touchy subject. Often times, arrangements between the parents are made and mutually agreed upon and followed through to a tee. Contrarily, friction between biological parents can be an issue that has always plagued joint parenting and quite possibly never gets resolved.
Child comes first. Any good parent will always put their children’s well-being in the forefront before choosing to get involved. They have grown accustomed to this being a part of life and a hard rule of thumb to deter from.
Child’s acceptance of you. Children can be the biggest skeptics. They tend to take on the role as the parent’s protector and want to keep them from harm. They also realize that some of the attention would be devoted to someone else, and to them, poses a threat.
Now that you have considered some factors, are you willing to deal with what lies ahead? If so, then perhaps you will be able to merge into a healthy, loving family. If you are not ready, it may be best to leave things as they stand and not get too involved in the child’s life before they grow attached.
Whichever road you decide to take, be as honest as possible with yourself about what you can handle. In the long run it will benefit you, the parent, but most importantly, the child.