Single Parenting Responsiblities and Challenges: A Pressing Issue in Modern Times. Vol. 3, No. 16

This is a new age of parenting. In Nigeria, the existence of a single parent was formerly unknown and where they existed, they were ignored as exceptional cases. In the recent times, practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is an increase of single parent in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the death of a partner, whereby a second marriage was not in the cards, was a major cause of single parenting but today, we could testify to the increasing incidence of divorce of a couple with children, a parent that never married but adopted a child or children, and also single parenting resulting from early pregnancy. Indications therefore emerge that there was a time when a single parent, divorcee or unmarried, was looked down as an outcast and scorned by the society. But today, since the statistics of the past few decades show that the divorce rates have skyrocketed, unlike yesteryears, the divorced women and men are no longer looked down by the society. Besides, there are many new age single parents who are able to strike a balance between their child or children, social life and work.
However, single parenting is a tough call. Raising a child or children as a single parent could be pretty tough, and in order to meet the increasing expenses and also to groom the children to be a responsible citizen, the single parent has to be a tough fighter.
There is no doubt that single parent could affect the child’s psychology as well as his or her human relationship, but then, the major determinant here is not actually the fact of coming from a single parent family but the approach and principle that a single parent applies to his or her family in the training of the children. Moreover, the worst mistake could be for a single parent to give up in his parental responsibilities.
Actually, there are common beliefs that the children of single parents are product of broken homes, that they display an underdeveloped emotional and behavioural pattern, and that they have a low self-esteem. Against these erroneous thoughts, children from broken homes can still get a stable and peaceful environment. There are cases, where separated parents are ready to take responsibility of the child/children. In such cases, a child gets the best of both homes. And even if the responsibility is left only for one parent, it only demands an iron determination and endurance for the single parent to conquer. Moreover, many studies and researches exhibit that the children of single-parent family could be healthy and as emotionally secure as those from traditional families. The actualization is dependent on home-formation. On the issue of low self-esteem of a child of a single parent family, the cause is more often than not pitiably linked to low level of income. This is true to a certain extent, as it is also true to children from both parents who are suffering to survive. Therefore, the feeling of low esteem could be eliminated by inculcating self-esteem and resilience skill in children of single parent. It has also been observed that children of single parents are better disposed to take greater responsibilities than children who have both parents because they are very much conscious of their family challenges.
Against this backdrop therefore, what constitutes a befitting home is not actually the fact of coming from a single or both parent family setting, it is rather the kind of home built for the children. Besides, children of single-parent families consider their parent to be their ultimate role model. Hence, it is the responsibility of the single parent to instill self-respect and respect for others in their child or children. And the children who found themselves in single parent home should try as much as possible to adjust to new situation at home and should try to relate well with the parent or relatives they are living with. They should try to be disciplined to instruction they are given at home.
In conclusion, I humbly wish that the Church leaders should be aware of this kind of large population group that has skyrocketed in these recent times due to certain family factors. The pastors of souls should extend their evangelization strategies and pastoral care towards them (both children and parents) bearing in mind that their parental experiences could be different from that of children who have both parents.

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