The Yin and Yang of Single Parenting
Life is short, beautiful, and what we make of it. But, above all, life is nothing but uncertain. We all seek love and stability in our lives. The beautiful ever after once we marry, have kids. We want to get settled with unlimited happiness and a lifetime full of companionship. But guess what? Companionships are prone to be faded away, or worse, the demise of one partner takes away all that you believed. Although with time, more patrons of single parenting are emerging. What attracts these people to voluntary single parenting and what it can mean for the child…let have a look.
Pros of being a Single Parent:
Independence and Freedom:
How many people can imagine freedom and independence of ways and thoughts after you are married? Hardly any! We HAVE to work in harmony, adjusting here and there, compromising our wishes, will, and choices. The biggest reason for more people aiming towards single parenting is the high degree of freedom and liberty it provides. Admit it, we all strive for some independence when it comes to raising a child. As a single parent, we get to decide what to give our child, how to give them, and what all we are required to do for them, regardless of the matter in attention. From finances to education to value and ethics, we can shape our kids the way we want to. No sharing. No dividing. No suffering. No compromising.
No Arguments, No Stressful Enviornment
It’s obvious that two utensils kept together would create some noise. When two people, especially with different ideologies, attempt to bring up a child together, there are usually a lot of conflicts and arguments that can psychologically disturb both our child and us. Fighting daily over finances, living ways, and responsibilities can drain us and take the spark out of our life. While being a single parent, there’s no visual conflict, and we can provide a safe and stress-free environment for our child. Nothing affects kids more than their parents’ constant squabbles.
A Small World of only you and your Baby:
When we have one less kid (the other partner, of course) to look after and cater to its demands (fits the Indian context a lot), we can deliver more to your baby. We know that we are solely responsible for our child, and thus, we would do anything in our power (or even beyond) to be with them. We consciously tend to devote more time to them so that they don’t feel the absence of the other parent. Moreover, a single parent shares a special bond with his child as they only have each other as a family. It’s a happy small world where our children and we live happily. The undivided love and attention are rare in a two-parent setup.
Role Model and Great Teacher:
As we experience the world outside, we know that self-love, independence, individuality, and self-respect are some crucial qualities that make it easier to survive in this harsh world. As a single parent, we get an exemplary chance to show and instill such qualities in our kids. We can be a role model for them and show them that we don’t need to depend on someone to live happily when we love ourselves and know our worth. While battling all the uncertainties, challenges, and unique highs and lows, we teach the kids how to never give up or lose hope. This empowerment can’t be achieved in any other situation.
Kids are very receptive to their surroundings, and seeing their one parent struggle alone trying to meet both ends, taking care of them, the house, and literally, everything else in the world makes them more responsible. They tend to share a lot of responsibilities in the home on their own. Thus, such children become independent and efficient individuals who can be trusted with responsibilities involving themselves and the people around them.
More Emotionally Intelligent, Ethical Child:
Numerous times, the separation between the parents is based on mutual understandings. Even if they aren’t, the kids understand how to take on differences and value them. They witness their single parents struggle and hence have a very non-judgemental perspective towards people’s problems as they grow up. As the kids are more attached to their parents, they are more emotionally understanding and empathetic. They know better ways of dealing with conflict and respecting them. While it might seem alluring to live freely as a single parent, one must know that it has mammoth roadblocks that we must be aware of:
Pressure from Society:
Society judges us, single parents, more than anything. Even a small chink in the armor and they are ready with their weapons (more common in an Indian context). They might treat us unfairly, be unsupportive, and may make us feel less for seeking any help or assistance. This nature of society can affect the kid’s mindset too. They would be constantly reminded that they have a missing parent, resulting in the child being confused and full of negativity. The worst part is that you can’t do much about it.
Even if we as single parents are financially independent, multiple times, it’s really difficult managing the expenses on our own. From housing to leisure, the onus is on us. When there are two sources of income, your child is most likely to get the benefit of that money. It might take the child to get around adjusting his demands. You are more financially free to bring your child the best of the two words. It’s essentially more difficult when the kid sees other kids using expensive material goods. In a two-parent system, if things are good, the family is more financially stable.
Single parents are most likely to be subjected to the guilt of not being enough or being selfish—the guilt of ‘what if’ constantly looms over the parent’s head. We might feel guilty that maybe because of our free will, maybe the child is suffering, his childhood is suffering. This is enough to get anyone a good bout of engulfing guilt. That guilt can come in between your attempts at being a good parent. In the quest of being the better parent, we might spoil the child by over providing or overdoing things. Kids are pretty intuitive and can use our guilt as leverage against us. The guilt can destroy our mental peace if we let it take over us.
As much as we desire independence and a0 free lifestyle, nothing can replace the comfort and assurance of having a partner who can listen and understand you at the end of the day. The comfort of being together and collective responsibility is to vouch for. The lack of that support and the nagging loneliness can make anyone lose their mind. No one likes to be on their own and facing everything alone in such a vast, challenging world. Trust me; single parenting makes us crave for that companionship.
One Man Army:
We are responsible for every small or big thing in our kid’s life. From work to his activities to home, it’s all on us. It’s like being present at multiple places at once. It takes a toll on us mentally, physically, and socially. We hardly get any me time. With limited resources and all the plethora of chores, it might seem like climbing a steep mountain with slippery shoes. Playing many roles like a mother/father, cook, teacher, friend, counselor, artist, employee, house help, and so on, without any assistance, feels like a drop-dead task. In a two-parent setup, you’ve shared responsibilities, and hence, you’re no longer a one-man army.
Emotional Issues with Child:
It’s the child who’s the most affected by both parents’ transition to a single parent. The change in the atmosphere of home, societal status, financial status, and sometimes the parent’s behavioral changes is too much to take for an innocent child. They might altogether stop believing in the idea of companionship, love, family, and fidelity. Usually, when the divorce is nasty, the grueling effect of separation and its aftermath affect the kids on a much deeper level. As a child, they might be attached to the other parent and can accuse their custodial parent of the separation. The kids sometimes become more withdrawn and low on confidence and self-esteem too. If the other parent was not a bad example, the transition could severely affect the child’s overall development and his childhood too. As challenging as it is for a single parent, it’s equally empowering and liberating for the parent as an individual and role model. While it’s great for a child’s overall development that it gets the love from both the parents and gets to choose its own set of ideologies. Many Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities have voluntarily taken up the role of single parenting. It’s becoming a rage in the west, and unmarried individuals who want to be parents are eager to be single parents. After all, parenting is a choice, and we should be able to do it the way we please.