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Taking My Hat Off To Single Parents 1-------There Goes I But By The Grace Of God

Updated on March 7, 2014

Single Mothers- I Take My Hat Off To You

Preamble

Parenting is not the easiest job in the world. This is why it has to be given careful consideration. Much of what I would say in this article is based on personal experience, observation of others and the commonsense and wisdom that has come out of it. I need to declare that I am not a psychologist, social worker or counsellor. I am just an observer with pieces of advice I feel obliged to share. So, what qualifications do I have? Well, maybe having raised six children, successfully, (with the grace of God, of course) in a notorious area in London who are now accomplished in their various fields.

Becoming a Parent

One needs to be certain that one is ready for the commitment to parenthood. A child is not for a day or a season, a status symbol, keeping up with the Joneses or what-to-do-next? If done properly, you literally disown yourself from the moment the child is born. One should now be thinking of somebody else besides oneself. Remember the child did not ask to be born.

One Proposes the other Opposes

Having said that, it needs to be noted even the best laid plans to raise the child in a loving family setting, with both parents and sufficient income, can sometimes go wrong. One party can back down because they are overwhelmed by the demands of parenthood, selfishness and having to share their spouse- who hitherto was fully attentive to them. Changes in circumstances such as illness, death or divorce can also have an input in how the child ends up being raised. To those who have a snobbish attitude to single parents saying they had it coming or did not plan their lives well, I say, ‘there goes I but by the grace of God.’

Is There a Typical Single Parent Family

Becoming a single parent is difficult to balance. Many would consider the single parent’s family to be dysfunctional because it does not tick all the boxes of a ‘normal’ family. Often the single-parent family is blamed for majority of the children that grow into societal misfits. It is worth noting that sometimes the child is better off in the single-parent family than in the so-called ‘normal’ family. Where to the outside world, all appears normal but in reality, one of the parents has become abusive, causing the family home to become overwrought, unhappy and frightful. The child, subsequently, grows up a nervous wreck with low self-esteem. In this environment, if they identify with one or the other parent, especially by their gender and they unconsciously adopt that parent’s role in the relationship and their parenting style in their future relationship. These could range from an inability to relate effectively with a future spouse or partner, becoming a bully or adopting a submissive victim attitude. Then another generation is raised with the same mentality, attributes and family life. And so the cycle continues.

My Experience

I have been down that road, having been raised by a single-parent, myself, and in spite of my determination not to allow my children to experience this, I ended up becoming a single-parent. None of this was planned either in my upbringing or in the rearing of my own children. How we went from being raised by a pathologist and a nurse to ending up with just Dad was as much a change of circumstances that life throws at you. It runs parallel to my becoming a single-parent when we (my husband and I) started off raising our children as two professionals (computer programmer and teacher). So what should seem an apparent recipe for success can develop some obstacles along the way and change drastically.

Bravo Single Parents

It takes two to produce a child. If one parent ends up with the total responsibility of raising a child then I take my hat off to all single parents out there who are doing a great job of standing in as father and mother in their attempt to raise their children right. This article is to honour single mothers and fathers who have either by choice or destiny had to juggle raising children with living their own lives. As I have a really good perspective of the single mother’s life, many of my references are drawn from a single mother’s perspective. This is not to say there aren't any brilliant fathers out there, after all, I was raised by one. However, very often mothers are the ones left holding the baby. I imagine that many of the experiences I will refer to, will be felt by the fathers too. I observed my father go through some of these issues.


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