Parenting is not easy and single parenting is tougher as it entails added accountabilities. A single parent has to face continuous newer challenges every day.
A proper schedule if made will make the task much easier.
Here are some common challenges faced by single parents and the ways to overcome them. Read on.
Giving birth and raising a child is always a challenge. People all over the world are buoyed down when faced with the responsibility of parenthood. But when you have your partner by your side you feel a lot confident as you are assured of the presence of emotional support. Single parenthood is a huge challenge in itself as you have to deal with the situation where you have lost your loved one and at the same time, you need to take up the responsibilities of rearing the child and life as a whole. The challenges get multiplied by themselves.
The first challenge is to deal with the family all by yourself, where you need to fulfil the responsibility of both. You need to make all the decisions all by yourself, you need to ensure that all the requirements of your family are met, you need to deal with the overload of tasks that too efficiently, meet your career responsibilities and above all, deal with your emotional overload, not to overlook the emotional requirements of your baby.
For a single parent, these challenges appear in a series, in combination or even alone. Whatever the situation, there is no denying the fact that single parenting is full of challenges. You need to seek out options where you find a solution to deal with these challenges as they can easily lead you to anxiety and depression.
Single Parenting Challenges:
Have a quick look at the common challenges briefly explained.
Scheduling- As mentioned earlier, a single parent is flustered with heaps of responsibilities. They are thus required to juggle them all through a hectic schedule. Keeping afloat with the schedule is in itself a huge challenge.
Balancing– A single parent has to balance work and home all the more. The workplace is a whole new world of professional responsibilities. Then you need to take care of the child, provide them with all that they need, including your time and at the same time teach them to evolve as a disciplinarian by being a friend to them is an added challenge.
Financial– Financial problem is perhaps one of the biggest challenges faced by a single parent. You cannot be a stay at home mom or dad as you need to think of the expenses. Thereby you cannot spend all your time for rearing the child even if you believe that staying with the child throughout his growing up years is important. The challenge magnifies if you are not very well off. It is a tough job to plan your entire expenses and yet have savings through a single paycheck.
Finding childcare support – Since you need to go to work you need to make adequate arrangement for a childminder. The person needs to be reliable as well as competent. It is indeed a challenge to find such a person especially when you do not have a proper support system from your extended family.
Being there for your child- Apart from juggling with the regular household chores, you must be there when your child needs you. It is a challenge to adjust your schedule and be completely involved with your child’s school activities. Your parenting skills, patience and understanding will constantly be put to test and it is a big challenge to instil discipline in your kids while you have to spend most of your hours outdoors.
Further, you need to ensure that the child does not feel isolated or ignored as it can spell doom for their all-round development. But as the child grows up, your difficulties will fade away with the decrease of certain responsibilities which you can share with the child and as his maturity level develops, he will also act emotional support that a single parent so desperately craves for.
Around the world and especially in deeply patriarchal countries such as India, single — divorced, widowed, unmarried or single by choice — parents, especially women, are judged harshly and stigmatised for their personal, marital and parenting choices.
According to a recently released United Nations report The Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World, which analyses diverse family structures and their impact on women, ending a marital relationship typically entails far more adverse economic consequences for women than for men. “All too often, women lose access to marital assets, resources, and even child custody” and face societal censure if not ostracism, write the authors of the report.
Despite this spurt in the number of OPHs in India, prompted by numerous factors including meltdown of joint families, increase in the number of nuclear households, social emancipation of women, economic liberalisation, relaxation of divorce laws, among others, social attitudes have been slow to change. Most people are hostile towards single parents, especially women. From financial anxiety to juggling work with child care duties, single moms are under constant pressure to meet societal and their own children’s expectations. Moreover, in deeply misogynistic and gender-insensitive Indian society, it’s not unusual for divorced/widowed single mothers to be propositioned and harassed by men, who believe they are fair game for sexual predators.
“Being a single parent, especially a single mom is a hard slog in India. Though education and financial independence have empowered many women to break free from abusive and unhappy marriages, Indian society doesn’t readily accept single mothers who don’t have strong parental support. Although these attitudes are changing — at least in metropolitan India — where single-parent households are multiplying, single mothers are often judged harshly and labelled headstrong, obstinate and blamed for failed marriages. Being a single mother is emotionally draining and stressful,” says Sushma Ramachandran, a Chennai-based psychotherapist.
A new 21st century phenomenon is single parenting by choice. Increasingly, successful women and men who side-stepped formal marriage, are becoming single parents through adoption or surrogacy. In 2015, the Union government’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) relaxed its rules to permit unmarried women/men to adopt children. In July 2017, the guidelines were further liberalised to permit single women over 40 years of age to adopt legally with their waiting period shortened by six months — the average waiting period for prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) is two years. However, the rules forbid single males from adopting girl children.
According to CARA data, over the past four years, there’s been a 50 percent increase in the number of single PAPs, especially women tendering adoption applications. In 2015-16, 412 single women registered for adoption with CARA. By end 2017, this number almost doubled to 817. Seventy-five single women adopted children in 2015-16, 93 in 2016-17, 106 in 2017-18 and 121 in 2018-19.
Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears, but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride.