As a single mom who was raised by a single mom, my new favorite teen is Selena Gomez. Why? Because the undeniably successful and so far seemingly level-headed (she was hospitalized for eating too much candy) celeb is speaking out on behalf of single mothers everywhere. Gomez, whose parents split when she was 5, says growing up in a single parent household does not a damaged kid guarantee: "I grew up like that, and I was fine," she says.
There, you hear that? She was fine. If I sound a bit defensive, let me explain why. See, when you're a single mother -- even a single mother whose kids' dad is a huge part of their lives, like me -- every time one of your children exhibits the slightest bit of bad behavior, you get the judgment-disguised-as-pity treatment: Oh, well, of course she's going to act out. Things have been so hard at home ...
Excuse me, but why do people assume that teens of single parents have had it so "hard at home"? Sure, there are challenges to deal with that traditional nuclear families might not have to face -- maybe money is tighter because mom and dad have to pay two mortgages instead of one or scheduling activities is trickier because kids are at one parent's house during the week and at the other's on the weekend. But to assume that single parent households are inherently deficient or damaging is a tremendous insult to single moms everywhere, not to mention just plain wrong. And I don't know about you, but I've known plenty of troubled teens who came from two-parent households where mom and dad fought like cats and dogs. You can't tell me it's healthier to have your parents arguing constantly than it is to have them relate amicably on a more limited basis.
So I'm grateful to Gomez for outing herself as a perfectly fine, no more screwed-up than anybody else teen of a single mom. It's high time we stopped playing this particular round of the blame game as a society. Last time I checked, Reagan was out of office.
Do you think teens from single parent households can turn out great?
Image via Loren Javier/Flickr