The challenge of single parenting

By Daily Graphic

Today, the majority of marriages break up. We also see many unplanned pregnancies. In some cases a woman who has difficulty finding a husband decides just to have children and take care of them alone.

We also know that separation and death are common in marriages. Any of the above situations may give rise to single parenting a situation in child training in which only one parent cares for a child or children.

Sadly, single parenting is fast increasing everywhere in the world. In the US for example studies show 80 per cent of black American children live with single parents. It is also known that in the vast majority of cases the single parent is a mother.

Women are more humane than men. They gave birth to their children and, therefore, see them as intimate part of them. A mother is prepared to sacrifice all she has to ensure the holistic development of her children.

The challenges
Single parenting is difficult. A parent may be overwhelmed as he or she does the work meant for two mum and dad. It may create loneliness, panic, depression and financial constraints. You always have the feeling of guilt that you are not doing enough for your children.

Some face stigmatisation. In Ghana, an unmarried woman with a child may be given names as ‘born one ‘or ‘pulling a trailer.’ Many prospective husbands want to start a family on a clean slate and not with step families. Single parenting, therefore, significantly reduces your chances of getting highly priced bachelors and you may be forced to settle for less.

Single parenting reduces family resources. It is hard to support your children single-handedly. If single parenting comes from a bitter divorce or an unwanted pregnancy, many men simply refuse their responsibilities and leave everything to the woman to handle.

Studies also show that children in single parenting develop low self-esteem, worry, fear and withdrawal symptoms. They tend to perform poorly and have emotional instability.

How to handle single-parenting
Develop positive mental attitude. Come to terms with your situation. Never blame yourself, the other parent or your children. Move on with your life and do the best you can. Resolve to win.

Set reasonable goals. Keep yourself busy with what you enjoy because your children can easily read your emotions and they will be affected emotionally.

Have good time management. Make room for your needs and the needs of your children. Your children need you badly in their condition and you need to assure them constantly with your presence that you will stand by them always.

You must, however, make sure you do not spoil your children. Teach them discipline.

Take good care of yourself. Many in single parenting develop fear of the unknown. Some keep eating to deaden the emotional pains. Soon some of them may become obese or ‘obolo’.

Watch your friendship with the opposite sex. Some may see you as easily available and attempt to take advantage of your situation. Avoid taking a friend of the opposite sex home until you see it may mature into marriage. When children lose a parent, they form an emotional bond with the surviving parent and anyone coming close may be seen as an intruder. Assure them they remain topmost priority in your life.

Our parents and grandparents were wiser than us. When faced with challenges in their marriages, they would say ‘mmofra no nti’ or because of the children and stay on.

Never let your children suffer for your actions or inactions. In normal or single parenting give them your best to make them useful to themselves and society.