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Single parent, a person of all seasons

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Single parent, a person of all seasons

Beehive

Ugandan artist and single mother Mariam Ndagire.

Ugandan artist and single mother Mariam Ndagire.

For one reason or another we find ourselves raising children single handedly. The warmth of raising children under a good marriage is no longer enjoyed by both parents and their children. Today man and woman come together to produce children but never stay together to raise them. Society is now generating more single parents than the married ones. Vast majority of children being raised today are under this arrangement.

A single parent, sometimes called a solo parent, is a parent, not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children. A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver, meaning the parent the children have residency with the majority of the time. More women than men are now single parents. The growing lax attitude towards maintaining marriage and unintended pregnancies can best account for this new form of parenthood.

Even through historical times single parenthood has been common due to high parental mortality rate as a result of disease, wars and maternal mortality. In modern times the phenomenon has become rampant because of the high divorce rate among parents. There is some debate among experts as to what the important component of the family structure is, centering around whether or not a complete family or the love and affection of the children’s parents is more important. There are even some that argue that a single parent family is not even really a family.

The most pronounced challenge of a single parent, especially in developing countries, is the burden of shouldering financial obligations alone. Meeting financial obligations like in children education, medical bills, accommodation, feeding and many others is a challenge especially for women who may not have decent jobs where they can earn a meaningful salary. In some countries public policy debates have centered around whether or not government should give aid to single parent households, which some believe will reduce poverty and improve their situation, or instead focus on wider issues like protecting employment.

Society’s perception about single parents is also irritating. Even today, people make a lot of wrong assumptions about single parents. Many of these parents receive the worst things but continuously grow over them and can confidently respond to such ignorance. The rude and obnoxious comments they receive sometimes help them to get stronger and more focused. It is important for society to acknowledge that some people never wish to become single parents.

Despite the challenges there is something single parents have to be proud of. First of all you recognize your children as uniquely gifted and valuable individuals. You make breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. As the only parent you are the one who gets up at night when they are sick, you teach them the value of hard work and you demonstrate the value of money by spending carefully. Above all you have taught your children to be responsible for themselves. You are such a wonderful angel.

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