Raising a #FutureScholar as a Single Mom

I never saw myself being a single mother. The stigma behind children raised by single mothers is so degrading and I never wanted my child to be seen in that light. According to this study published in 1994, children who grow up with only one of their biological parents (nearly always the mother) are disadvantaged across a broad array of outcomes. They are twice as likely to drop out of high school, 2.5 times as likely to become teen mothers, and 1.4 times as likely to be idle -- out of school and out of work -- as children who grow up with both parents. Children in one-parent families also have lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, and poorer attendance records. As adults, they have higher rates of divorce. These patterns persist even after adjusting for differences in race, parents' education, number of siblings, and residential location.

Do you see what I mean?!

Statistics like these were all I heard while growing up in the 90s. 

Now, as a single mother raising a son, I feared Romeo would fall behind because that’s what the statistics stated. "Children raised by single moms have lower grade point average, lower college aspirations, and so on..." My heart ached for what Romeo would endure in grade school and I knew Romeo would be disadvantaged because he had to come home to me… only me.

Today, two quarters have passed for Romeo’s kindergarten year and during both quarters Romeo received awards for scholastic achievement and displaying great character . It shocks me because this disagrees with the statistics. THE HORRIBLE STATISTICS that state Romeo should be struggling! Romeo should be giving up! Romeo shouldn’t be successful. But no! After more research,  I found that those 1990s statistics are outdated and there is new research proving that single moms are breaking barriers in raising Future Scholars!

According Psychology Today, a nationally representative sample of many different kinds of households - two-parent biological households, single-mother households, adoptive households, stepmother, and stepfather households – showed there were no differences in academic achievement for the children at all. What mattered was NOT how many parents there were, or whether the parents were biologically related to the children. Instead, whether children had problems with their grades or with their siblings or friends depended on whether there was a lot of conflict within families, high levels of disagreements between parents, or endless arguments between parents and kids.

Even the New York Post posted a study showing that previously, some studies have found that single-parent households run by mothers can make life more stressful for kids without a father figure and can negatively impact their behavior. However, latest research presented shows kids of single moms are no more likely to show signs of behavioral disorders than their counterparts raised in traditional families. The article added that the incorrect assumption that growing up without a dad is bad for children is simply based on research into divorced families who have experienced conflict. “However, it seems likely that any negative influence on child development depends more on a troubled parent-child relationship and not on the absence of a father.”

And lastly, a Cornell Study found that 12- and 13-year-olds raised in positive single parent families showed no negative impact on their social and educational development. In fact, these kids were more responsible, because they often helped out more at home. And they formed closer bonds with their single parent and extended family members who raised them.

From the three studies above, one can see how single mothers are changing statistics and breaking down barriers when raising #FutureScholars. These studies empowered me and showed me that I am doing the right thing with raising Romeo to become successful. I wanted to share four tips below that have aided in ensuring Romeo has Academic Achievement.

Read to your child every single night!

I remember being told this and I thought the person was crazy! I thought it would be impossible to read every single night but it can be done with books, youtube, iPhone, etc! Reading to Romeo has completely transformed the way he pronounces words and his conversation skills. Romeo can now read me books and I strongly believe that this nightly routine played a huge part in his scholastic achievement in reading and writing.

Talk money with your child!

Romeo has a solid understanding of money and this has empowered him to learn how to count, add, subtract, and now multiply. He is so focused on how much more money he needs to save to get that new toy from target and that influences his scholastic achievement in math.

Encourage Creativity!

When you see your child passionate about something, fuel that passion! Romeo wanted to paint so I started buying canvases and painting with him on Friday nights. Romeo likes building things, so I bought him a bunch of legos and enrolled him in a mini engineer program. Romeo likes music, so I bought him a guitar and let him youtube music lessons. All of these extracurriculars fuel your child’s mind and challenges them on a different level so that they become innovators and think outside of the box when problem solving.

Most importantly, establish a network of love!

Many children living with single mothers have other important adults in their lives, too. Romeo has grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers, family friends, and others who care about him and they make sure that he knows it. Establish a network of friends and relatives and neighbors who care about your child. The most amazing feeling for a child is to walk outside their door and have other adults who believe in them. Adults who have cared about them for as long as they can remember.

Thank you to all who have taken this journey with Romeo and I to ensure he becomes a success. Two quarters down, and atleast 50 more to go! Join me in congratulating Romeo on his achievement…YOU GO BOY!!!


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