For most families today, single parenthood was common. The majority of solitary childcare is for women or more for mothers. One parent raises a child without the other parent’s support. Research shows that one out of two children in the United States are raised in a single family before 18 years of age. The single parenthood has many causes. Divorce is the most common. For a woman I interviewed, the case is no different. She is a single, two-year-old mother who did not finish high school but got her GED and had no chance of having a husband who was abused. She, therefore, divorced him and is living with her two kids: an 8-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy (who has autism). She has numerous duties because on top of raising her two kids, she is orphaned and has two brothers who reside in California, and who she probably needs to support. Her life is a struggle between balancing work and single parenting. She works as a patient care technician and unfortunately finds it hard to pay her bills.
Research Review and Discussion
Research says that alcohol and drug abuse are a major driving force to men being abusive to their wives. This goes a long way in affecting the children’s emotional well-being since most men under the influence of drugs tend to abuse their wives in the presence of their kids or isolate with the wife, for instance, in the bathroom, and shout loud enough so that the kids can hear the life-threatening fight their mother goes through. This was the main cause of divorce for the interviewed woman. She did not want her kids to suffer with her suffering at the same time. She would rather have them miss their dad and probably visit him on different occasions than bring them up with habits she would not want them to acquire once they become of age.
It is a good thing for parents to take precaution with matters related to abuse and domestic violence especially when raising children under the age of 18. Kids should grow in a friendly environment that is calm and refreshing so that to develop characters that reflect the same. Research shows that children brought up in an abusive setting and one that is not friendly tend to be depressed and develop self-esteem issues as they grow older.
Is Single Parenting a Good or Bad Thing?
On the positive side, a single parent has time to bond with their kids since children have no divided attention in the house. All they know is their single mother or dad. Further I am going to focus mainly on single mothers since my interviewee was one of them. This feeling is mostly created in emotional moments, for instance when the baby is sick or requires special attention. Fact is that the single mother is the one who will walk the painful journey with her baby, offer a shoulder to lean on when they need it. This will definitely create a great bond between the mother and child. For this mother, for instance, being a parent to her son is something she is grateful for and her son is truly happy that she does anything that is required to be done for him to be happy, comfortable and feel loved (Contributor, 2012).
Single mothers will also pay attention to their children a little bit more because they have no partner to engage them with other roles or attention. This, in turn, strengthens the connection between the parent and children.
Mothers want to instil discipline in their loved young ones. Being a mother with little children in the house will allow her to teach them a few chores they could help her with, and ways the children could do some of the things on their own. In return, the kids become independent and in this way, according to the research, their IQ is polished, they become smarter and more organized people while growing up.
For this particular family, the mother explains that her major satisfaction is that the family works as a team and not as a kid-to-parent way of doing things. She, however, notes that there are cons that come with single parenting, at least for her, despite the fact that she has not a well-paid job with a hundred and one responsibilities around her.
The woman’s other main challenge is bringing up her son in the best way possible, even with limited finances. She wants the best for her kid; therefore she sometimes goes out of her way to get help for him that is required at times. The woman also points out that despite having her difficult moments, the children have been supportive regardless of their age, since they always feel happy and content for what she manages to offer and accomplish for them.
This family has a 5-year-old son with autism. Autism can be generally described as a developmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism can be lifelong and is most times considered chronic. There are different types of this condition some of which could affect speech and even non-verbal communication (Vahabzadeh, 2013).
My interview with this single mother clearly demonstrated that having a child with a certain disorder such as autism makes the parenting process even more challenging than it already is. She explains that she fully understands what her son’s condition means but at some point she might feel frustrated when he overreacts and becomes too angry or unresponsive over a little home punishment. She is also at times confused regarding the punishment she should administer to her son when he misbehaves, as it supposed to be both corrective and friendly at the same time. The woman overcomes such frustrations by being a part of a group of other women with children with disabilities with whom she can share her fears and struggles. She can also get advice from the experienced lot that makes her go a long way.
The sister is also very supportive and is slowly getting to understand what her brother likes and does not like as well as what he is capable of doing and what he cannot do. This creates one loving family that is helpful and overcomes the odds with their superhero, the mother.
The woman loves inviting her California brothers to spend time with the kids so they can have a father figure or masculine love, since the mother is not in good terms with the father. However, she knows that she needs to figure out that really quick so they can co-parent and their babies have both parent figures in the picture.
The young boy just started school this year and their teachers have been very helpful and understanding. At first, the mother had to pay a lot of visits to school because her son was too afraid of everybody and new surroundings. Luckily, she has an understanding supervisor who would give her quick breaks to go check on how her son is doing at school. The woman was grateful that the facility was not far from work. The school was also concerned and supportive regarding the health problem of her son and how she had taken steps to keep him well and treated. “That was a sigh of relief for me,” she explains, since it gave her an assurance that her son is in the right hands while she is out, working.
When I asked the woman about having the right services for her son, she explained that it was a miracle that she worked as a patient care technician. She says that the health centre she works for has been at the forefront to help out parents with children with ASD autism spectrum disorder and being a worker there, she is one of the beneficiaries. The hospital works in partnership with the ATN autism Treatment Network to provide the affected children with quality healthcare services which mostly include psychological and skill-building activities in the hospital facilities. Since autism cannot be treated, at least today, the healthcare does team collaboration with parents to improve the behavioural changes in their children as well as sharpen their speech, cooperating skills and other characters that revolve around children with autism.
From my research, I understand that children with disability are a growing part of our population. The parents of such kids have been on the forefront to fight for the rights of their children and be emotional and physically present for them. The parents are the main determiners of how well the child with the disability will adapt to the world and changing things around them. The way they are raised will as well determine their level of self-esteem. What they learn from home especially in their early life stages is what literally carries them through most part of their lives (Brazier, 2016).
Conclusions and Recommendations
Some points I could summarize from dealing with a child with a certain type of disability could include being a good role model. Children with disorders are most likely to do what they see people around them do. In the presence of such a child, outweigh your character and be a person the child can emulate. Be optimistic in your speech and words you tell the kid. Be persistent in performing your tasks and you will surely see the child wanting to do the same in any undertaking he or she might lay hands on. Focus your energy on identifying their strengths. This will boost the child’s confidence and self-esteem, and also contribute to promoting a winning spirit. That way, the child could actually surprise you by overcoming some of the barriers the condition may have limited, such as being active and social.
Learning the ways the children with disabilities acquire knowledge can significantly assist in teaching them different skills. Some kids would prefer seeing while others would opt for reading. The earlier you get to know what is good for the child, the better. This will also improve their learning speed and they will feel a sense of belonging since you will incorporate them in the best way possible.
Single parenting can be overwhelming. Working as a team with your children as the single mother I discussed could save the parent in a big way. Let all the parents strive to make a happy home for their families and at the same time observe that their rights and respect are upheld.
Brazier, Y. (2016, November 2). Newsletter. Retrieved from Medical news today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com.
Contributor. (2012, June 12). Pros and cons of single parenting. All 4 Women. Retrieved from https://www.all4women.co.za
Vahabzadeh, A. (2013, November 27). Autism health care. Retrieved from Huffpost: https://www.huffingtonpost.com