Single parents and Society

Introduction

Single families face various challenges as they try to bring up their children like other families. They also face stigmatization in some societies where they are rejected and disapproved. In addition, some religious sectors like Islam and Christianity do not show open support for single parenthood, especially if its causes are contrary to their beliefs.

Single parents therefore face problems from all corners, ranging from schools, government positions, and society at large. Caring for their children is also a challenge as they have to ensure that children grow just as the others who have both parents.

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One of the most difficult problems facing single parents is how to integrate into the society with their families. Most societies only recognize married couples as able to raise children in an effective way. Furthermore, children find themselves isolated when in learning institutions as others embrace both parent while they glare in awe (DePaullo 1).

Causes of single parenthood vary and usually lead to different societal views. For instance, single parenthood arising from death of one partner is usually considered correct. However, it does not shoulder the responsibilities that come with it. On the other hand, single parenthood arising from separation and divorce face integration problems in the society, apart from the increased responsibilities.

This disparity in how the society and community at large treat single parents has raised concern all over the world. Their isolation in some States has led to poor development of their children as they are left to offer parental duties to the children. This paper will try to argue out whether societal judgment of single parents based on its cause is justifiable. It will also endeavor to explore the problems faced by single parents in detail (DePaullo 1).

Single parent

A single parent refers to one who cares for one or more children without the help of one of the biological parents of the child or children. Different nations have varying laws related to single parenthood.

These laws determine how those families are treated or served by their respective governments. Single parenthood may be caused by either of these, choice or unexpected circumstances. The latter include death of one of the parents, abandonment which may occur in tough conditions, parents who neglect their children may cause them to rely on the others for both needs, teenage pregnancies or children born outside marriage.

Single parenthood caused by choice includes scenarios such as surrogate motherhood, child adoption, divorce and separation between biological parents as well as artificial insemination, among others. These factors that cause single parenthood also influence their way of life. It is estimated that most single parent families face prospects of poverty given the increased responsibilities (DePaullo 1).

Some Governments like the United States, UK, Australia, among others, in which there is high rates of single parent families have devised ways of assisting them.

For instance, United States had about 13 million single families in 2006, among which those headed by females were about 80%. This is quite a high rate and the effects are real as they try to make homes for these families. The UK estimated that 52% of single parent families lived below their defined poverty line in 2009, with over 3 million children raised by single parents.

This survey estimated that the UK had about 1.9 million single parents, a very high rate comparing its size and population with the United States. Australia also had over 14% single parent families, a very high number to work with. This has forced government to come in with strategies to assist them given their exposure to poverty and stigma (DePaullo 1).

How society views single parenthood

Society is very instrumental in helping single families integrate well with other members of a community. Of great concern is the fact that most societies categorize single families based on the causes of their status. In most cases divorcees are seen as a bad influence in societies without considering its causes, the church shuns divorce and this makes it very difficult for divorcees to integrate well in the society.

This makes them look like sinners among other congregation. Also, society considers these families as failures and do not approve of their dealings. Some sectors of religion even disapprove integration with such people as they assume that they are bad influence to the supposed ‘clean’ society. This has cause stigma to such families as their children face all sorts of scorn and unanswered questions from their parents (DePaullo 1).

Furthermore, those single families that are caused by unexpected circumstances like death still face some sort of isolation although not to an extent of those caused by choice. In most societies, isolation comes in facing and shouldering of family responsibilities for these single parents.

Schools are areas of challenges for children and parents from single parenthood. Even single parent teachers face discriminations in schools, making it much more difficult for mere students or parents. The stigma that comes with such problems are likely to leave them isolated in community projects and other societal activities.

That is why it is quite important to address such problems as single parenthood, which in most cases, rarely comes out of choice. Most people find themselves in such situations and therefore need communal support as well as government assistance to help them become important channels of development in the society (Richards 277-285).

Discussion

The paper discusses whether it is right or justifiable to judge single parents based on the causes of their status. Conservatives usually consider single parenthood caused by choice as a taboo in the society. On the other hand, modern societies have continued to embrace single parenthood irrespective of the cause.

Nonetheless, Religious sectors feel that these developments cause societal degradation and pollution of a once ‘clean’ society. These sentiments are usually shared by most religious sectors which abhor such actions. Should society judge single parents based on causes of the status? The following discussion would provide a clear answer to that (Richards 277-285).

Single parents should be judged based on causes of their status

There are several reasons that would make one believe that single parents need to be judged based on causes of their status. For instance, those parents who decide to divorce knowing very well the coming repercussions that would overwhelm them and their children should be discouraged from doing so, when the community or society makes divorce a taboo, this discourages unnecessary divorce.

When these families are not discouraged the society will be polluted and derailed. Such behaviors, on purpose should be discouraged as they may lead to distortions in family values. The world is full of various events and problems, people should be ready to persevere, and this would help in uniting many families (Richards 277-285).

When children have both parents, then their development is well taken care of. Children without one of their parents often end up in mix-ups such as early marriages, teenage pregnancies, stereotype against other genders, which is very destructive to a normal society.

Drug abuse in teenager is mostly connected to child negligence or abuse. Societies will never tolerate child abuse, and negligence. Therefore in that regard, it is important that single parenthood by choice is discouraged in the society. This will help in ensuring good moral values in the community (Richards 277-285).

In that respect, parents should be discouraged from making difficult choices for their children, in divorcing. As much as life is quite difficult and full of distrusts, parents should try as much as they can to avoid such issues, this will be good for their children. It is very important to have children in marriage with both parents fulfilling their responsibilities. Most single parenthoods are as a result of parents neglecting their responsibilities.

This has to be discouraged at all costs, because those who suffer in such situations are children as well as the single parent. Therefore, society is justified in dictating pathways that its members should take, without which; they should be held responsible (Sacks 10).

Single parents should not be judged based on their status

Single parents are just like other people in the community; their status is mostly due to happenings that are beyond control, for instance, when divorce occurs, one of the divorcees usually ends up disappointed or victimized, we cannot judge victims as this would be contrary to societal beliefs. In that regard, single parenthood caused by divorce should not be condemned.

Moreover, some parents neglect their children due to family burdens; some people cannot afford to adequately provide such services to their children and without intending to do so, ends up neglecting their own children. Society should consider these children as their own, with responsibility for their protection lying on their shoulders.

Single parents also need full backing from governments and other related agencies, to boost them both financially and emotionally. In addition, it is important to note that children that suffer from such situations are never at fault, society should therefore endeavor to provide adequate support for these children, physically, and most importantly emotionally by backup their parents (Risman 1049).

Summary

Single families face various challenges as they try to bring up their children like other families. They also face stigmatization in some societies where they are rejected and disapproved. In addition, some religious sectors like Islam and Christianity do not show open support for single parenthood, especially if its causes are contrary to their beliefs.

Single parents therefore face problems from all corners, ranging from schools, government positions, and society at large. The argument above emphasizes the fact that single parenthood should not be done at will, through careless divorce or neglect of children.

The first argument for society’s justification in judging or isolating single parents, especially those caused out of choice argue that when this is encouraged, people will neglect their responsibilities out of simple problems that can be solved amicably (Richards 277-285).

The second argument, against society’s justification states that even though some people neglect or divorce out of small differences, there are victims of divorce who need to be protected by the society and provided with necessities to enable their children succeed in life.

It goes on to state that these children need protection and love, which only the society can provide. Neglecting them is suicidal for a community that needs to focus on the future.

Moreover, as has been stated above, neglected children tend to enter into bad groupings that would eventually cost society its gains. The society is there to safeguard its members and this cannot be achieved if children are neglected irrespective of the cause. It is therefore important to note that society is not justified in their treatment of single parents (Quinlan 376-390).

Conclusion

It is important to state that single parenthood is a difficult task, as the needs of children are shouldered by one individual. It is also imperative to note that most single parent occurrences are never out of both parent’s wish, but unexpectedly, or out of situations that are quite difficult to understand.

The complexity of such situations ends up in divorce leaving children to one parent, who may or may not have the capability of providing all the requirements. In this regard, as much as society may be justified in their judgment, single parents need support both from the community and government.

They are isolated and feel deprived of social pleasure. These should be accorded to them as required since they too are citizens, who works hard for the good of the nation. They should be allowed into high positions without questions as to their single parenthood; this will boost their morale and have a positive effect on their children (Pong 23-42).

Works Cited

DePaullo, Bella. “The Scientific Study of People who are single: An Annotated Bibliography”. Association of single People. 17.05.2011.17.05.2011. http://www.unmarriedamerica.org/ Spectrum/Bibliography/single-parents-and-their-children.htm

Pong, Suet-ling. “The School Compositional Effect of Single Parenthood on 10th Grade Achievement”. Sociology of Education 71:1 (1998), 23-42.

Quinlan, Robert. “Father absence, parental care, and female reproductive development”. Evolution and Human Behavior. Volume 24, Issue 6, November 2003, Pages 376-390.

Richards, Leslie and Schmiege, Cynthia. “Family Relations”. Family Diversity. Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 277–285.

Risman, Barbara, and Park, Kyung. “Just The Two of Us: Parent-Child Relationships in Single-Parent Homes”. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 1988, 50, 4, Nov, 1049.

Sacks, George. “Boys without fathers is not a logical new idea.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Little Rock: Arkansas.