Single parenting is a growing trend, which is becoming increasingly preferred and favoured, unlike earlier where it was the outcome of a divorce or death of a spouse. In some countries across the world, single parenting is looked down upon, and negatively portrayed with many stigmas and myths associated with the children of these parents.
However, as many of us learn to focus on, and respect our individual needs and spaces, leaving behind society expectations and rituals; single parenting seems to be a good option than others. Single parenting can be due to separation, death of a partner, modern technology based pregnancy like artificial insemination or due to issues of abuse, abandonment etc.
Many separated or divorced couples also make mutually agreeable arrangements for the children to be a part of their lives (bi-nuclear families), which also helps the child to stay connected to both the parents, even while living with either of them. The single parent keeping the child becomes the ‘primary carer’. He or she usually needs to be employed, so as to support the children and themselves. Worldwide it has been found that there are more single mothers than single fathers, a statistic that need conclude anything!
Some of the challenges faced by single parents could be – keeping society opinions at bay, taking care of the household chores and paying bills, working to well support the children, apart from any emotional or mental stress it creates on the single parent.
It may be useful to –
Develop a support network consisting of family, close and reliable friends, relatives and neighbours to fall back on in case of emergency or demanding situations.
Set up systems to ease household chores like paying bills, repairs and maintenance etc.
Involve your children in the household chores, and keep open lines of communication with respect to your professional and personal requirements and encourage them to do the same
Some of the myths associated with the effect of single parenting on the children are –
- A child needs both parents, and will grow poorly in case either one is not present
- Children from single parent homes have behavioural problems and are more prone to addictions and violence
- They perform poorly at academics and have low self-esteem and social inhibitions
While, there might be isolated cases where these outcomes may result out of single parenting, it is unfair to generalize and assume otherwise. There are as many good, highly qualified and successful children out of single parents as there are from both-parent families. There are many factors determining the result, other than merely the presence of both the parents.
Single parenting is accepted and acknowledged in many parts of the world, not only by the society, but also by being included in the legal systems like school admission forms, driving license applications etc. It is a matter of individual choice, values and belief systems that define the personality of the children with single parents.