Not living with parents adds stress to students’ lives

Adapting to tough situations teach lessons on perseverance

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photo or infographic by Wildkat Media on Canva

A NEW NORMAL. Students who don’t live with their parents face challenges most students could never imagine.

When Nikki Robinson walks across the stage in 2024, she will not look out in the crowd and see her mom snapping a photo or her dad with tears in his eyes. Instead she will look out and see her best friend, her manager from work and maybe a few more people there to support her. She will not see the family she was born into, but a family she created.

A mother, father and sometimes even a dog, is the “normal” American idea of a family. A number of students live with someone other than their parents, and life is different from their friends.

“Not living with my parents sometimes makes me feel like an outsider,”  junior Ashley Boseman* said. “I can’t relate to my friends when they talk about their parents.”

Students who live with their siblings, friends or grandparents not only have a completely different life from their friends, but some have gone through tough situations to get them where they are now.

“The reason I live with my grandparents is because my father is in prison and my mother passed away due to mental illnesses,” Boseman said. 

Students often struggle with living with someone other than their parents for many reasons. Grandparents often have different standards and morals for their grandchildren, so living with them may cause a few issues. 

“The hardest part about living with my grandparents is that they have a different way of raising me and sometimes don’t understand how to raise a kid in today’s age,” Boseman said.

Having an absent parent or no parent at all presents an unusual situation. 

“Everyone has a dad and I don’t, so that has always made me feel different,” senior Mercedes Taylor said. “And everyone with a family gets it so easily. Meanwhile I have to work hard for everything I have. Living with someone else and having to drive an hour away to a different school and never knowing if you have a place to stay is the hardest part.”

In contrast to the tough parts of living with an aunt, Taylor feels like there are some positives as well.  

“Living with my aunt gives me more freedom,” she said. 

Children and teens are often passed from family member to family member for reasons beyond their control or understanding. 

“Due to my parents’ drug abuse, I now live with my aunt,” senior Reagan Morris said. ”The hardest part of not having a mom or parental figure in general is the lack of financial support.” 

Even though the struggle of never being able to relate to their friends is a part of the harsh reality of this life, it’s not the hardest part. 

Due to my parents’ drug abuse, I now live with my aunt. The hardest part of not having a mom or parental figure in general is the lack of financial support. ”

— Reagan Morris

“I only have one parent, my mom,” senior Nikki Robinson said. “Her husband, my stepdad, was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and he is dangerous. I told her to pick me or him, and she picked him. She has never been a good parent anyway.” 

Robinson has often relied on others to help her through the tough times with her mother. 

“My sister pretty much raised me anyway,” she said. “I am living with my sister this week. Sometimes I live with my manager from work. There are other foster girls there too, and sometimes it is really hard to go to school because no one wants to go. I work for all my money. Food, clothes, school stuff is all bought with the money I earn. I also pay for my sister’s wi-fi, and I always give gas money to people for rides to work.”

Regardless of every person who has let her down, Robinson tries to never let the situation get the best of her. She is the model of surviving a hard life and still maging to look at the bigger picture. 

“I want people to know I am not sad about my living situation,” Robinson said. “It is an adventure. I will be the first person in my family to graduate. My mom, dad, sister, brother – none of them made it through high school.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: *due to the nature of the subject matter, this student asked to remain anonymous.