An alternative situation: Having a single parent throughout high school

Shermar Price with his single mother, Taronda Hall. (Photo Courtesy of Shermar Price)

Shermar Price with his single mother, Taronda Hall. (Photo Courtesy of Shermar Price)

By Larissa Hageman, Reporter

Many teenagers in high school heavily depend on their parents for support and guidance, both academically and socially. However, often overlooked are the teenagers who depend on one parent for much of their needs.

A study done by New York University in 2015 found that by the age of 24, individuals who come from single-parent households as teens received fewer years of schooling and are less likely to attain a bachelor’s degree than those from two-parent households. This is largely attributed to aspects that add to the stress of being the sole provider for a family, like finances, limited time and added responsibilities.

Nicole Tran, Div. 979, credits her maturity to having a single mother. 

“I learned to be extremely organized and on top of my own stuff,” Tran said. “Since I don’t have another parent available to help me deal with school, I took that into my own responsibility.” 

This has allowed Tran to help her mom at home as well as take care of her younger sister.

Shermar Price, Div. 969, considered how his choices would affect his single mother throughout the milestones in his life. 

“I feel like a lot of the decisions I made were influenced by me having a single mother. I chose a CPS high school so that my mother didn’t have to pay much for me to go to school,” Price said.

Most recently he has chosen to go to college close to home to help his mother financially.

“I didn’t want her to have to pay a lot for me to go to college because she already has to pay so much with just her little salary,” Price said.

Craig Garfield, the author of the Fourth Edition Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, believes that some issues are unique to single-parent families. 

“Two parents usually share responsibility and monitoring of the child, and provide encouragement and discipline as needed,” Garfield writes. “When only one parent is consistently present, that parent must be the sole economic and parenting resource and must stretch to cover both domains.”

Tran experienced economic difficulty in her family as her mother had a harder time covering necessary school fees. 

“Lane and many other CPS schools require you to pay a general fee and it was hard to cover those fees,” Tran said. “My mom had to pay for two high schoolers.”

However, finances did not hold her back when applying to college. 

“My family was definitely concerned about the tuition but my mom pushed me to apply to colleges and not to pay too much attention to the tuition since scholarships were available,” Tran said.

Tran believes that her mother’s hard work and positive attitude have helped break financial barriers. 

Additionally, Price feels that this has resulted in a stronger character and has pushed him to excel in and out of school.

“By having a single mother, I was instilled very strong values and I had a positive role model,” Price said.

High school students with a single parent, like Price, often feel the need to set high expectations for themselves.

Rex Wu, Div. 956, believes that having a single father contributed both positively and negatively to his high school experience. Although he wishes that he had more of a mother figure; he didn’t let that hold him back from setting goals and accomplishing them.

 “My father has pushed me both academically and athletically by holding me accountable for every mistake I made big or small,” Wu said.

Tran believes that having a single parent has changed her for the best.

“I have become responsible, organized and helpful to others,” Tran said. “If I had a chance to change my situation, I wouldn’t just because the person my family raised me to be has worked out.”