Single Parents

By: Anum Shaikh

   Single parent
A single parent or a lone parent is a parent not with a spouse. Death of a partner is the major reason of single parenting or it can also be the result of either separation or divorce of a couple or it can result from the parents that never marry each other.
  About 16% of children worldwide are brought by single parent. Single parent are less common among Indians i.e. only 10%, Bangladeshis 12%, Pakistanis 13%, Chinese 15% and white people 22%. The 1980's United States census reported that 19.5% were single parent households. From 1980 to 2008, the percentage of lone parent households jumped to 29.5%. The jump was caused by an increase in births to unmarried women and by the increasing ratio of divorces among couples. 14% of all Australian households are single parent families and 17.8% of Newzealand. In United Kingdom, about one out of four families with dependent children are single parent families.
   The mother is considered as a primary caregiver of her child, that is why nine out of ten single parent families are headed by mothers only. Fathers are less commonly primary caregivers. The reason is that the father is working all the day resulting in less bonding with their children. While the father works, the mother is considered more suitable for a child's care. The other reason is that most of the fathers remarry and restart their life.

  The main problem faced by single parents across the world is financial constraints. In a country like Pakistan, where jobs are hard to come by, money issues can be a real problem. The burden of financial instability is not only limited to single mothers, infact, many fathers also worry to fulfil the children's needs in similar situations.
 In many countries, there exist social structures that support single parenting and offer financial assistance to those who are doing it. In US, there are government programs like HUD which is a national government agency that specializes in helping single mothers by providing their household needs. While in Pakistan, there are no such government policies for the welfare or support of single parents. Here every single parent has to do self help to dwell.
  There is another type of single parenting appeared in rural Sindh in which both the parents live under the same roof yet living as strangers to each other. Fathers mostly have only one target in life that is just to take rest and mothers have to do all the works and earn money to feed their children.
  Researches have shown that lone parents suffer from the feelings of self-reproach  for the deficiency of a complete father/mother figure in their children's lives. To overcome such guilt, a single parent plays both the role, the role of a father and role of a mother as well which leads the things to become twice difficult. A single parent has to have four arms, four legs, two hearts and double the patience and love. There is nothing single about single parent.
 In our part of world to live as a single parent specially a single mother is quite difficult as compared to other societies. Here a single mother not only has to raise the child alone but she also has to face taunting comments of people. People criticise the single mother as if she is the apple of all the discards.
  A single mother devotes her life for her children. Her children become her first priority. She places herself on number two, sacrifices all her feelings and try to fulfil the needs of her children at any cost. She fights for them, bears all the problems alone and in return she just wants her children to respect her and understand that how tough her life is with all the hardships and troubles.
   Madam Shamim, a retired teacher, separated from her husband due to some clashes between them. She says 'life has its ups and downs no matter where we stand. All we have to do is to stay firm, set our targets and stick to them unless we achieve by neglecting all the hurdles which come in our path. Most important thing is to create a bond between you and your child'.
 Rukhsana Qureshi, a widow with a son who lives in a joint family of her brother. She says 'Though I live in my brother's house but still I have to deal with negativity. I did not have to face financial problems. I am a self made person. I provide all the facilities to my son who is a teenager and this stage of life hangs between maturity and immaturity. I have to deal with him patiently and sometimes aggressively.Yes, it is a really difficult time but I know God is with me and He will help me to get through this. One day my son will be an example for all to see'. She adds 'single parents should make their children realize that family with both the parents is not always a happy one. His feelings hurt whenever he sees his cousins spending quality time with their fathers and so do mine whenever I see women with their husband. What else we can do other than just living the life and facing its challenge.'
  There are so many single parents living a miserable yet a strong life to keep their children happy and make them live a contented life. Instead of crticizing them, our society should encourage them and consider them the equally as a part of our society.