Single Parent Homes

This website is going to discuss how Gilmore Girls portrays family through different mother-daughter relationships and how the show breaks single parent home stereotypes.

There is a lot of research showing that children who are raised by only one parent are worse off than children who are raised by two.  Because of the fairy-tale and uncommon close relationship that Lorelai and Rory have, they break a lot of the standards that go along with single-parent homes.  Maybe it is because they are a fictional duo on a television drama, but it is possible to have a positive outcome from a situation like theirs in real life.  A lot of it has to do with their individual personalities and people that Lorelai surrounded herself with when she first moved to Stars Hollow.

One possible reason that children who grow up without fathers present are worse off is because the mother is less likely to have a social life.  Therefore, she will not be involved in the community, and she will have no one to support her emotionally or socially (Jackson et al. 418).  Lorelai’s friendly personality helped her to fit right in when she moved to Stars Hollow, where she was immediately welcomed.  A woman gave her a place to live and a job, and the woman, along with the townspeople like Miss Patty, Luke, and Babette, helped her along the way.  She made friends and found people that she could lean on while raising a daughter and trying to grow up herself.  Because of this, she never lacked in social engagements and friendships while raising Rory.

One of the most obvious reasons that single parents struggle to raise children, which leads to less successful children, is that they only have one income.  They struggle to make ends meet and often don’t have time to go to work, or they work too much and neglect the children because they are trying to provide for them.  Often times, single mother homes where the mother is struggling financially lead to “family disorganization” (Jackson et al. 418).  This can have negative impacts on children, like lack of responsibility, because such things as chores and routines are not properly assigned and accomplished on a regular schedule (Jackson et al. 418).  Again, maybe because Gilmore Girls is a show, it is unrealistic, but Lorelai never seemed to have this problem.  Money was tight, but she was never unable to support herself and Rory.  Granted, she didn’t have many expenses because she was lucky enough to have a place to stay, but she worked hard.  For years, she saved her money, worked her way up from a maid to the manager at the inn, and eventually bought her own house for her and Rory to live in.  She was very young and independent, and she did everything and anything she could to support Rory in any way that was necessary.

Most situations, whether good or bad, can have different outcomes depending on the person that they involve.  Personal traits and character play a big part in how people approach unfortunate situations.  Senior fellow at Brookings Institute, Isabel Sawhill, wrote, “It may not be the divorce or unwed birth that causes the problem but instead the underlying personal attributes, mental health or competencies that produce both a broken family and worse outcomes for the child.” (Sawhill 2014).  Lorelai made the best of her situation, took control of her own life, and never forgot what the most important things in life actually are.  Rory’s personal traits also made their situation, and Lorelai’s job as her mother, much easier.  From a very young age, Rory was responsible, trustworthy, organized, driven, and extremely intelligent.  She worked hard in school, made straight A’s her whole life, and strived to be successful.  The personal characteristics that both women possess made Rory’s childhood and future better than the typical children who are raised in young, single mother families.

So, like the research shows, the majority of children who grow up without fathers may struggle more if life than those who do grow up with fathers; Rory is an exception.  It can be blamed on fiction, but Gilmore Girls shows that there are exceptions to every case.  If a mother works hard and catches a few lucky breaks, her and her child’s future can be bright and successful.  Of course, there are times when it is difficult for Rory and Lorelai, and Christopher does make quite a few appearances, sometimes with positive outcomes and sometimes with negative ones.