Photo: American Psychology Association
In our last article on parenting we talked about parents’ negligence on their children and the resultant effects in the family and the society at large.
In this post, we will discuss single parenting and illegitimate children.
What is single parenting?
Single parenting simply means raising of a child by one of the parents, either the mother or father. In single parenting, a mother or father takes sole responsibility of an offspring or a child. It could result from a number of situations:
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Widowhood or widowerhood
- Sole adoption of a child by an unmarried person
Unwanted pregnancy resulting from juvenile delinquency
Youthful exuberance with adolescents could result in unwanted pregnancies, if they do not utilize their youthful energy into good use.
Another factor that contributes to unwanted pregnancies in adolescents is lack of sex education. Most parents do not find it palatable to teach their children sex education, and most teens fall victims of unprepared parenthood. Often times, the child is left under the care of the adolescent mother. These immature single mothers do not have what it takes to bring up the child to become responsible children. Children borne out of such situations are illegitimate as their parents are not married either by custom, law or religion.
Divorce is another cause of single parenting. Separation of spouses by divorce leaves the children to the mother or father. Children brought up by divorce face a lot of challenges. The emotional trauma and societal stigma of the divorcee have untold effects on the children upbringing. The children do not have a balanced view of life, and most times, such children grow up to take spinsterhood or bachelorhood or get married and divorce like their parents. This becomes a big problem for the society.
Also natural occurrences such as death can cause single parenting. In this case, the parent did not choose to be the sole parent of the child/children. Bringing up children as a widow or widower needs support from the extended family and the society at large to ensure that the children grow up to be responsible adults in the society.
Another group of single parents are unmarried adults who legally adopt a child. Such people have different intentions of adopting children – like having someone to carter for who would in turn take care of them when they are old. Most of these unmarried single parents are unaware of the roles of the father and mother in a child’s life.
Now, let us look at the significance of the father and mother in a child’s life.
A father is the head of the family. A father sees the family as his niche; as his colony. He sees the family wellbeing as his responsibility. He is like an umbrella over the family. He provides for and protects the family. The presence of the father in a family boosts confidence in the mother and children. A father directs the members of the family. The father is like a driver. Whatever direction the driver steers the car, it follows.
A mother is the mother of the family. Like the neck, the mother connects the head of the family with the children. A mother cares for and protects the father and children. She brings the family together. She keeps the home clean amongst other home chores. Like the engine of a car, the mother is the powerhouse or energy-house of a family. A mother energizes the father and children through her character and actions. A mother builds the family; she uses raw materials which the father gives her to make finished products. Think of how children come about; think about the family food; think about the morals and values she inculcates in the children.
A mother is a wife. A mother is a nurse, a teacher, a cook, a home maker. Think about the various works to be done in the family and you would see that the absence of a mother in a family is a big disaster, so also the father.
The father and mother work together to create an entity that is complete; a human being that has a balanced perspective in life.