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Responding to unexpected ‘single parent’ jabs

Parenthood is one of the most personal processes an individual can experience. Therefore, a great deal of anxiety and even judgment tend to surround the interactions of individuals whose parenting experiences are significantly dissimilar. If you have recently separated or divorced from your spouse and are embarking on a journey of parenthood as a single person, you may feel the verbal sting of others who are confused or judgmental about your experience.

These verbal jabs may be intentional or unintentional. Oftentimes, words that sting are uttered by well-meaning individuals who either fail to understand your experience or who have anxiety about their own parenting style. You may not be able to control what others have to say about your experience. However, you can control how you respond to their comments and questions.

Some parents find it beneficial to stick to either one-word or otherwise minimal answers when responding to judgmental or uninformed comments and questions. For example, if someone says to you, “I would never allow my children to split time between my house and another house,” you could simply respond, “Okay.” You may want to rant or you may simply want to be dismissive and walk out of the room. However, uttering a single word acknowledges the other person’s comment without giving it any power or momentum whatsoever.

However you choose to respond to frustrating comments and questions about your single parenthood is ultimately up to you. Although, chances are that if you mentally prepare for such comments and questions, you will be less likely to respond in ways that you will ultimately regret.

Source: The Huffington Post, “7 Judgmental Things People Say To Single Parents And How I Respond,” Nancy Saunders, March 6, 2015

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