February 28, 2012

The Choice of Being a Single Parent

With the laissez-faire attitude of our generation towards monogamous relationships and the responsibilities that come with it, its no surprise that more women are open and comfortable with the idea of being single parents. As I am not a man, i cannot speak on their perspective on this issue.

Jessica Olien, a writer who wrote on the subject in Slate Magazine, has received some harsh criticism for her views. I find it ironic because there are single parents who are successfully raising their children, proving that it can be done. Difficult but possible. So what difference does it make whether the single parent had the choice or not? The concern should be whether they are skilled and have the resources to take on this role.

In her article titled " I Want To Be My Kid's Only Parent",  Jessica states that one of the main reasons she wants to be the only parent is to have complete control on how to raise her child.....control freak tendencies much? 

Regardless, she raises some important points

The reality is we do not live in the 18th century where men where gentlemen with honour and women had perfected the art of being ladies and housewives. In this 21st century, one doesn't need to look up the statistics  on marriages to know that our society has changed drastically on the value placed in this institution. 

Technology, decline in morality, the ability to instantly communicate with people across continents, sexual liberation and the media  have all become driving forces behind this phenomenon.

And lastly but not the least, credit most be given to the individuals who despite our best efforts to be selective of partners who share the same goals as we do, sometimes manage to fool us ,hence leading to unsuccessful relationships.

While it is not my first choice, I am open to the idea of being a single parent. The issue should not be about the number of parents a child has but whether that parent is responsible, able and willing to take on the task of being a good role model for the child, having their best interest at heart.There are many dysfunctional kids borne out of nuclear families as they are other modern family prototypes.

Yes, it will be more difficult without the help of a partner but it is definitely better than the nightmare that comes with sharing custody especially in situations where the parents cannot even manage to be "cordial" to one another. Ideally you want both parents involved but the task of chasing after someone to "demand" that they live up to their responsibilities just sounds very stressful and daunting to me. I cannot and would not be  bordered with such nuisance.

Yes, it is expensive to have a child. Which is why, like many others and unlike some people, have made the Choice to WAIT until I am financially, emotionally, psychologically capable of shouldering this  BIG responsibility. 

Secondly, this is why you go to school or learn a trade/skills that will allow you to earn an income so that you do not become dependent on anyone. You should not plan to live you're life based on the ability of someone else to take care of you, especially financially. Even if you intend to be a stay at home parent while your partner is the bread winner.

Having that education/skills is like having a first aid kit or a spare tire in your car. You cannot be naive and assume that your circumstance cannot change. The issue may not be a failed relationship. What if your partner loses their job? or becomes sick? This gives you the opportunity to become the breadwinner for your family.

Yes, I would prefer to raise a child with my significant other. But as we all know, you have no control over people's actions. We've all heard stories or know someone who's boyfriend/girlfriend has walked out of a relationship with no incline to maintain their parental responsibility. Where that to happen to me, I will gladly hold the door wide open for you to walk away. One of the reasons I work hard is to achieve financial freedom. Therefore if the above scenario plays out, I hope i will be in a position to not seek child support but in exchange request that the absentee  father legally forfeit their rights to the child so that I can be the sole parent. With 4 brothers and many other male relatives in my family, I would definitely not have an issue with providing exposure to a male role model if necessary.

Besides, nowadays there are many people who are single parents NOT BY CHOICE and they are not doing any worst in raising "normal" kids and those with "issues" as their nuclear counterparts. 

According to Jessica, most of the advantages stated for raising children in a nuclear setting have to do with the opportunities involved such as finance instead of the physical presence of both parents. Therefore, a candidate who is financially capable, works a regular shift with enough time to spend with the child  and has role models of the opposite gender to expose the child to, can sensibly choose to be a single parent and be successful at it as her mother was successful at raising her.

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