A few days ago, we had a conversation in our Facebook community that caused an uproar as regards single parenting. Some people felt we were castigating single parents and all that. Single parents ain’t just doing a good job, they are doing a fantastic job.
However, you need to also know the kind of war you are fighting, so you can understand what it is that you need to do per time. Remember, you can’t fight a war that you know nothing about. There are single parents who chose to become single parents. Lately, we are having more people choosing to become single parents. It’s their choice. However, they need to also recognize that there are downsides to it and understand how they can manage it. There are also single parents who didn’t choose to become single parents. They saw themselves become single parents. Maybe they are widowed, divorced or separated. These are real and relevant issues.
Effects Of Single Parenting On Children
There are common issues associated with single parenting, some of which are:
Financial Strain: It is difficult to parent alone. The financial strain is enormous. This financial strain will also affect the children. One of the effects of this financial strain is that you will begin to indulge your children. You feel like you need to prove to people that you can do it alone. Financial strain can also result in undue hardship or cause you to make decisions that won’t give your children the opportunity to learn. –Low Parenting Quality: Low parenting quality is also one of the issues of parenting alone. I’m saying all these so you can understand that there is a war to fight and also learn how to go to war well equipped, instead of going to war without having what it takes to go to war. The statistics of single parents having low parenting quality in their home is higher than having two parents together. Parenting requires time. You might even miss your child’s important school function or even spend time with your child. You may react more if your child has behavioural issues because you are dealing with issues yourself. You may also disclose your issues with your child. Many single parents begin to see their children as their friend. Many of the times, parenting isn’t about becoming friends with your child because you are lonely, you are looking for someone or family to talk to, so you give your child the emotional trouble of carrying your issues which doesn’t help your child emotionally. The child cannot carry it. These are one of the things that bring low parenting quality.
-A lot of children raised under single parents have behavioural and emotional issues: Children raised under single parents are likely to suffer self-esteem issues. If you’re parenting alone without a father, many of the times, confidence and self-esteem is built with a male figure. Your children may crave attention which would not be enough because you have a busy schedule. The self-esteem issue is a big deal because you do not have time to help the children as they are going through the journey. Statistically, absentee fathers create a vacuum in the lives of their children. Remember, parenting is spelt as time. So you will need time to correct behaviour and do a lot of things. -Loneliness: Many people who are parenting alone are lonely. Companionship is part of the psychological needs of man. Many times, loneliness is a challenge for many people who are parenting alone.
Another thing that can happen is that your children will have adjustment difficulties. Children also face issues along with their single parents. They may have a sense of loss, poverty etc. Your sense of loss as a single parent is because you are missing a spouse. But a child’s sense of loss is because they are missing a guide.
Having looked at single parenting, let’s also look at the way forward. What can you do?
1– Deal With Guilt: This is the number one thing every single parent needs to deal with. Most single parents feel guilty for many things. You feel guilty for the time you don’t have to spend with your child, you may also feel guilty for the things you can’t afford to buy for your child. Sometimes, you even feel guilty for your loss. Guilt is a key thing when it comes to parenting alone. A lot of people who are parenting alone are constantly in the game of blaming themselves. When you don’t deal with the guilt, you are constantly fighting. You are fighting a fight that doesn’t exist. You need to look for help to deal with it.
2- Shame: You also need to deal with shame. Over time, I have observed that because of shame, single parents are constantly trying to prove a point. Most widows feel ashamed and society isn’t helping matters when they shame them too. Shame rubs off on your child unknowingly when you constantly project your shame unto your child.
3-Hurt: I have seen widows who feel hurt because their husband died. This is a valid reason. Either you are parenting alone as a result of rape or death, it’s okay to feel hurt. Hurting people hurts others. So when people are hurting, they just want to hurt you so you feel their hurt as well. This is one of the side effects of hurting. You are most likely going to become a bitter parent with your child and others if you don’t deal with it. The first point of call for single parents is to deal with hurt, shame and guilt. To deal with these three things, you need to put your emotions in check. If you don’t handle your emotions well, you will keep fighting a war with nobody. You keep getting angry at everything. So when you see yourself trying to prove a point to people or convince them that you are doing a good job. There is something wrong with what you are doing.
4- Get A Parent Role Model And Model Family: Don’t kid yourself, you need one. Your children need to see a role model in that other parent isn’t available. Get a role model for your child to fill the gap and vacuum. Your children need to see what works in other families and learn from them.
5- You Need Support Groups: You need a support system that is going to help you. Don’t do this alone. Get into a system that helps you to keep you accountable. The tendency of you missing it is high when you parent alone. You need to seek support and help. You can look at groups and books that can help you.
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