A family unit consists of a father and a mother at the realm of all family affairs, that primarily entails children, finances, and overall house management. With changing social scenarios this unit is either breaking up, or has progressed to a stage where, bringing up the child on one's own is a personal choice. A single parent could be a male or a female, and is the primary caretaker and the provider for the child or children. Why an individual chooses to do this can sometimes be attributed to unavoidable circumstances, or through an informed choice.
An adult may be a single parent because of a death of a parent, divorce, adoption, surrogate motherhood, extramarital pregnancy, or out-of-wedlock pregnancy, etc. The life of a single parent is more challenging, and calls for more adjustments and dedication than a household that consists of both parents. Such parenting revolves around legal, social, economical, behavioral, and personal aspects of the parent in relation to the upbringing of their ward/s.
Some of the facts revolve around the startling statistics, that is ever-increasing. In the U.S. alone, there are about 15 million single parents, raising over 22 million children all by themselves. This group mainly consists of divorced or unmarried women, and a small percentage of widows/widowers, surrogate mothers, or adopters. A three fourth of this figure also shows that the role of a single parent is played more by women than men. World over, the incidence of such parenting is higher in the western countries than Asian or Oriental regions. However, with evolving times, and better economic status that most women enjoy, the figures of single parenting, at least out of choice is on a high, world over.
The life of a single parent is very hard, as it is difficult to play dual roles, and satisfy economic responsibilities as well. Traditionally, this concept has been frowned upon, not without good reason though. Children brought up in broken family units, or one that has only one parent in it right from the start, tend to have more social and behavioral problems as compared to those who were raised by both parents. Statistics show that individuals, who are single parents have a higher rate to slide towards poverty, especially women, and/or unmarried parents, as they are significantly younger, hence, less educated and with a lesser chance of productive employment. Lower levels of income further add to their list of problems.
But this is not to say, that children of single parents do not grow up as responsible adults, they do. These children grow up faster than their counterparts, as the parent tends to involve them in decision-making, giving them a greater understanding of how freedom of choice is entwined with responsible behavior and accountability. As they are more involved in the day-to-day running of the household, it helps to increase the bond between them, and enhance their concept of a support system. Children who come from broken homes, especially ones scared by abuse, tend to see a positive side when left with the caring parent.
Effects of single parenting revolve around the parents understanding of allowing the child to be a child at the end of day. Although for a single parent, responsibilities and workload increases manifold, they should ensure that the child's space is not to be intruded upon. It would be preferable to seek support from other adults, rather than offloading all your problems on your children. For children whose parents have been separated, a settling transition period should be given. Discipline is a major concern area for these parents. Rude and problematic behavior needs to addressed as a part of growing up, and growing up alone without the support of another parent.
A single parent will deeply impact the life of the child, positive or negative ultimately lies in the parent's hand. Although, it may be difficult to come around many circumstances, a better understanding of what entails the issues, and acceptance of support systems around you, will ensure a better life for your child, which is an ultimate goal for all parents, single or otherwise.