Single parent genie gives you three wishes

By Peter Ehrlich

Have you brought home two or three love interests to seriously meet and hang out with your child?

If "yes," read on, because your child's developmental well-being will likely start to be compromised after they meet your next.

A study out of Johns Hopkins University has shown "that a child who had experienced more than three transitions had more behavioural problems than those who had no transitions."

The research, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was published in the April 2007 issue of American Sociological Review and was peer-reviewed. In it, 2,097 children ages 5 to 14 had been studied since birth until 2000.

Behavioural problems mean delinquent behaviour, including skipping school, vandalism and crime.

The authors also observed that "children who experienced multiple transitions in family structure have lower average scores on tests of mathematics and reading skills."

That's a heavy price for children to pay for their parent's libido.

Think of the transitions our children have gone through just to get to today. First, your children (hopefully) got to experience the "happy family period." Then they perceived that their parents were falling out of love. That hurt.

Then they couldn't understand why their parents were less patient with them. Finally, "why is Daddy (or Mommy) moving away?"

Many times I have encouraged you (and myself) to go out and meet someone. But life's passion-swords are double-edged; its orgasms, sexual or not, carry a price.

The price of multiple transitions is heavy – a dysfunctional child who will become a dysfunctional adult, marooned on an island surrounded by stable people.

Most single parents know it's unhealthy for children to have unnecessary transitions, but not all.

There are still stories of parents bringing their kids on first dates. Unforgiveable. That's extreme, but over the course of a dozen years, it's easy to meet three people who will affect your children.

Life is fragile.

It doesn't take much to upset the balance – a wrong word, moment of infidelity or violence. We can easily create a situation that will result in a "forever haunting."

When we choose to bring a new person into the lives of our children, we risk the tipping of that delicate balance our children desperately need – defined by consistency and peace.

Why do children hide behind your legs when strangers approach? It's because they're children and strangers are strange by definition.

To go from hiding behind your leg, to meeting your new friend, to feeling comfortable, revelling in the company of, to never seeing again is an arduous journey and children rely on us to take them there with discretion.

When "we" break up with someone, "they" break up with someone. That combined with the back and forth, the lugging of their "stuff" is a helluva lot to ask.

The single parent genie grants us three (transitional) wishes. After that, we bite the bullet and revel in our celibacy until our children can create their own transitions.

Then we're free to make all the mistakes we still need to make on our karmic wheel.

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