A single parent family is just as good as a normal family
Overcoming initial hardships members of single parent family bond better with a greater sense of responsibility
Manasa Gowda, Assistant Professor, St. Claret College, Bengaluru
Coming from a middle class family, I always feel proud of my mother because she brought me and my brother up as a single parent. It is amazing the way she did it, especially as she came from a traditional family. I personally feel she is so strong as no one supported her when my father deserted us.
Looking back, I wonder at her courage as she handled the difficult times that she faced as a single parent. She never sought anybody’s help during difficult times when she had to provide for our education. That is when I decided to help my mother and took up a part time job. As I began to grow as an adult, my mom began to share her sorrows and used to feel very sad for going through “such a phase” in her life.
Initially, I used to envy other friends of mine who got their father’s love and affection. But, I also realised that there were many children, including girls, like me who did not know what a father’s affection or love was. It was in those growing years that I began to abhor men. I may be wrong as all men may not be like my father, but I somehow felt I can’t trust men so easily.
Now that I (with the strongest support from my mother) have transcended those phase and am a successful professional, my mom feels it’s time for me to think of matrimony. But I have a sense of fear thinking of the travails that my mother went through and have a sense of trepidation, again I may be wrong, when the subject of marriage is broached.
I am listing below a few disadvantages and advantages of being brought up by a single parent:
Fewer arguments. With little or no parental arguments at home, environment in a single parent home is less stressful and gives a sense of a more secure feeling.
Good role modelling. For children whose parents are in an unhealthy relationship it may be easier to understand that life can be managed without a partner and there is no reason to be in a relationship for fear of doing it alone (or differently).
Teaches independence and responsibility. Because a single parent is so busy, children should be encouraged to work like members of a team and do some things by themselves. Working as a team at home helps children consider others, establish a good work ethic, and improve self-esteem as well as self-worth.
Easier to understand expectations. Expectations are clearer when there is no one to contradict. (Discipline can still be a problem for parents who share custody, so they should discuss their expectations frequently).
Sense of community. A single parent often needs to rely on others to help in caring for their children; introducing children to unknown organizations, friends, and family members can help teach them that they can find support outside of immediate family.
Close feeling. Children can learn a shared responsibility for family members. In fact, children from single parent families are usually closer to their family than those from a traditional family environment.
Decrease in income. Amidst the other disadvantages, a decrease in income can affect how much time and money a single parent can spend with her children.
Schedule changes. Children may need to adjust to changes in time management. A single parent will be busy filling roles of two parents, and everyone’s schedules will be affected.
Less quality time. A single parent may find it difficult to spend quality time alone with each child.
Scholastic struggles. Perhaps children’s decreased motivation is to blame for high rates of absenteeism, low test scores, and high dropout rates.
Negative feelings. Some children feel so upset about the situation that they will blame their single parent for problems in their relationships.
Sense of loss. Children may feel they have lost a protector or a guide. This sense of loss could lead to high rates of anxiety and aggression and children using their upset feelings to manipulate the parent.
Relationship difficulties. Children of a single parent usually have unresolved feelings of anger. These children usually find it difficult to form successful relationships.
Problems accepting new relationships. Children may find it difficult to bond with potential partners of a single parent.
Parents and children undergo some difficult changes when they go from being a traditional family to a single parent family. However, disadvantages can be managed and countered with the advantages. A single parent family can be just as successful as dual parent families; it may just require a little more work.
By: Manasa Gowda