1) Define the term single parent?
The term single parent means a household where there is an uncoupled individual who is the sole carer and bears most of the responsibility for raising a child or children.
2) Tell me about the circumstance that led to you becoming a single parent household (i.e. one parent left, death, immigration, etc)
I became a single parent when my husband and i divorced. There was a breakdown in our relationship and I decided to leave the marriage.
3) Why do you think the population of children/young people growing up in single parents home is very high within BME communities?
There are a lot of stereotypical ideas as to why this is happening. However in my opinion I do not believe it is because of race but more relates to gender. There are more single mums than single dads and the traditional view that a woman should bear most of the caring responsibility at home is sadly still ingrained in our society.
4) In your view why do you think some mothers/fathers leave their family home (if applicable)?
There are a lot challenges and responsibilities that come with raising a child. There is a point where you realise that it is a lifelong job. This reality can be too much for some people.
5) Tell me about your experiences as a single parent? (Both positive and challenging experiences)
- Realising that your life is no longer your own and assuming additional roles.
- Feeling doubtful and insecure about your parenting when managing behavioural changes.
- Lack of time and financial constraints. Having to get your child to school on time whilst getting to work on time.
- Limited time to rest and finding child care when I need some time to myself.
- Having a strong parent and child bond. Although the role is stressful this bond keeps you going.
- A sense of achievement when my child learns something new and knowing I was responsible for teaching him.
Things you learnt?
- I learned to be patient and this skill is essential as a single parent.
Things you would change?
- The cost of childcare.
9) Reflecting on you your personal experience, what impact has the circumstance had on you personally (emotional, social, psychological physical impact)?
I experienced a great deal of self-doubt. I never planned on being a single parent and I didn’t think I could do it and sometimes when things get hard , I still feel this way. However I can say that the experience has made me stronger and I have matured in a lot of ways.
10) Do you think that the absence of a father/mother has a link with self-esteem, emotional and psychological distress on children and why?
Yes I do because I have seen it in my own child. Many media images portray a two parent family. A young child growing up with this influence would wonder why they are not in a “normal” household
11) In your view do you feel there is an obvious difference between a child growing up with both parents or a child growing up in a single parent home? If so what are these differences?
In my view a child in a single parent household would tend to have behavioural difficulties as this parent has to play the part of both mum and dad. A single parenting disciplining their child may be less effective than if both parents were a part of it.
12) What advice will you give to any growing up without a father/mother in the home?
I would advise them to try to understand the difficulties of a single parent but it is important to understand that they are loved and wanted.
13) What advice will you give an absent mother/father?
The most important thing is creating a bond with your child. There are instances where you have to be absent from the home, however I would still encourage the absent parent to get involved in raising their child.
Charisse, London UK