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Lacking adult company and support, single parents sometimes find themselves trying to make their older children into adult companions. In such circumstances, it is possible that an unwelcome burden is being placed on the children by expecting them to share their parent’s preoccupations, especially if they hear embittered damaging revelations about the departed parent. Children who have been encouraged to take a great deal of responsibility at home and who are pushed into a kind of adulthood by staying up late to keep mummy company’ and sharing in family secrets will find it particularly hard to readjust if their mother remarries and they are then firmly reallocated to the children’s generation once again.
Parents who bring up children on their own are often particularly anxious about how their children will develop without the missing’ adult figure of the opposite gender. Their worries are of two kinds. Single fathers may feel powerless to help their growing daughters when, for example, their periods start. Barbara described her son’s problems with shaving: