Single-parent families are becoming more common than ever, and if raising a child in our current pace of life is difficult, without a partner it is certainly more difficult. You alone are responsible for all aspects of your child’s daily care. You struggle to juggle work and childcare, especially as single-parent families generally have lower incomes, and you may face the stigma of society due to separation. (1)
Despite the high percentage of families headed by one father (mostly the mother) in Arab societies due to the increase in divorce rates, this phenomenon is invading societies around the world at varying rates and for different reasons. It is estimated that one in five children in the UK, for example, grew up in a single-parent family in the past 20 years, and there has been a significant difference in the average performance of children in single-parent families compared to their peers, a topic academics have insisted on. Not to pass judgment or blame, but to meet the challenges faced by many families this situation is imposed on them. (2)
Sarah Mc Clanahan, a professor of sociology at Princeton University in the United States, was a single mother, and she supervised a study on so-called “fragile families”, and its relationship to child well-being, and the study included five thousand children and their parents living in different American cities, and concluded in her research Even taking into account economic obstacles, family instability has an impact on a child’s life.
These children were more likely to fail in school, and even children who lived in a stable home with only one parent did worse in some respects than children who lived with both parents, which makes sense, since two adults cooperate in raising the child and giving him time and care It means having more resources than a child who lives with one parent. (3)
But another study conducted by “Susan Harkness” of the University of Bath, about ten years ago, delved deeper into the matter, and discovered different reasons. The study monitored the relationship between single motherhood and the verbal cognitive ability of children at the age of eleven, using the data of three groups of British children born in different decades in the fifties, then seventies and finally at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and the results revealed that the abilities of children in families with a single mother were worse than Peers who live with both parents, but this time it doesn’t stop here. Harkness notes that excluding external factors such as poverty, the evidence for a detrimental effect on a child living with a single mother appears to be scant.
Indeed, many similar studies have concluded that once factors such as low income and poor maternal mental health are excluded, the effect of family structure on cognitive outcomes is minimal, as single motherhood is associated with lower income and poverty risk, poor maternal mental health, poor parenting practices, and other problems. Related to the context itself, such as having to move from home or school and deteriorating family relationships, and often these reasons are behind the deterioration of the mental and psychological state of the child. (4)
It appears, then, that the most influential stabilizing factors were related to the ability to provide a good income. As Harkness’s study indicated, it was having a stable income that explained the decrease in depression rates for working single mothers in the past decade compared to non-working mothers whose mental health declined Flexibility in working hours is an additional positive factor. These findings contrast with studies of the 1990s that showed little association between work and positive mental health, as a single mother was at greater risk of depression, whether she worked or not, suggesting that something had changed over time (5), (6)
In a similar vein, a study by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology indicated that there was little difference in children’s well-being or development between those who grew up with a single mother and those who grew up with both parents, and that the negative impact on child development occurs more because of the troubled relationship between the parents and not It is believed that due to the absence of one of the parents, she stressed the importance of a social support network surrounding the single mother, and how it makes a difference in the success of her experience. (7)
But in all cases, managing the house in the absence of one of the parents is not an easy thing, and because the mother usually bears the burden of raising children after divorce, in contrast to rare cases in which the father does so, and this is evident in our Arab societies, the medical and educational guidance in general in this The range speaks to women, and experts advise some things about your dealings with the child in order to avoid – or reduce – the pressures caused by doing the task alone:
- Set rules and limits.
Explain to your child the basic rules of the house. Establishing a routine with your baby is invaluable. Setting regular schedules for eating, bathing, sports and sleeping will help you both thrive.
- Let him share with you:
When your child shows willingness to take on more responsibility, let him share with you. Little ones love to participate in household chores. Let him learn and develop his skills and appreciate the value of family cooperation and teamwork. Montessori rules can help you suggest activities to help your child according to their age. (8)
- Do not vent your anger with it:
It is not easy to be a single mother, but when you get angry, beware that the child is the one who pays the price, never vent your anger with your child, and do not let this feeling rule the situation, as it will have dire consequences.
Someday you will face the question:
Try to answer your child’s questions about his father within what his age allows, and without a lot of information that may not be necessary, but do not hide or ignore it. (9) – (10)
- Ignore the comments and ask for support:
A single mother is no different from any other, as she also gets up every day to feed, educate and play with her children. And in view of the challenges you face, experts advise that we always remember several things, for example, stop comparing yourself to anyone, this is a golden rule of motherhood, do not compare yourself to other mothers and do not compare your child with other children, every mother experiences motherhood in her own way and lives it in different circumstances and has different children So enjoy your motherhood and focus on the advantages that you enjoy and do your best.
On the other hand, ignoring bad comments is like a gold scale in this case, don’t let someone judge your motherhood by one situation, no one knows your story, and no one appreciates your suffering better than you, there will always be people who feel they have the right to express Opinion, ignoring them is the best solution, you are doing the best you can, and out of deep love for your child.
Also, it is always better to give yourself some time to rest. Allocating some time for you alone is important and will make you a better mother, and if you are well, your child will be fine, so try to get a group of friends or family members who you trust to leave the child with them for some time and do something you like, such as playing sports or having coffee with friends.
No matter how hard you are, perseverance, dedication, and courage, don’t get carried away so much in imagining that you can do everything and that you don’t need anyone. Ask for help when you need it, and accept that you are not a superhero who can do everything, all mothers need help. So that you find time to take care of the baby, you are more balanced and you have a better relationship with yourself and your baby.
In this context, it is important to find a support network in addition to your family and friends. There are many women living in similar circumstances, you can get to know them and share experiences, fears, pain and everything you need to share. Motherhood becomes much easier when we share it with other mothers.
In the end, make sure that you are enough for your child. What a child really needs is a responsible adult in good mental health to nurture, and the biggest challenge remains to normalize your lifestyle and understand that every family can be unique and special, and that although the absence of a father may have an impact Negative, giving the child a lot of love and affection and making him feel stable and calm at home helps him grow emotionally naturally. (12)