‘Single mothers’ experience significant difficulties with raising their children alone, living without partners, and supporting their family financially, and so on. Here is the story of a single mother, Sue, who points out social problems that led to her current status in society as a single parent.
Sue came to my office to talk about the ‘stress’ that she had been experiencing for a few years. She talked about the responsibility of taking care of two children, 7 and 11, her full time job responsibility, and isolation as contributing factors to the ‘stress’. She felt it was very difficult to take care of and fulfill all the responsibilities alone.
Despite the reasons that lead to ‘single parenting’, we all know that ‘single parenting’ is not a desirable status for anyone in family; everyone in the family is affected by this phenomenon. For instance, children may grow up without fathers, mothers may take many responsibilities to fulfill family obligations; and fathers may experience further isolation and disconnection from their families and loved ones.
Sue shared the effects of ‘stress’ on her as a mother and as a person. She named the major source of ‘stress’ as the following: her responsibilities and family obligations, children’s lives and their education and their future. These have been significantly overwhelming to her. She was proud of herself to be able to provide a safe and violence- free environment for her children but she felt overwhelmed and exhausted by all responsibilities.
In one of our sessions, she questioned what society has been doing for men to address their personal concerns. We talked about the barriers for men to get help. We reviewed and reflected on the historical, cultural and social reasons that prevented men for many decades to avoid expressing themselves. We discussed the presence of invisible pressures, abuse and violence in young boys’ life and their effects on their adulthood.
Sue was very concerned about raising her two sons without father; she was afraid of the negative effects of not having any particular male figure in their lives.
We explored some pragmatic practical solutions to address her children’s needs. However, we acknowledged that she was voicing a very important concern in our society and her problems weren’t only hers. Those concerns are, as a matter of fact, our social problems. She said her dream is to increase social awareness and address this predicament socially.
I would like to share with you some ideas that we explored in our meetings as possible ways of preventing the expansion of ‘single parenting’ in our society. They are as follows:
▪ De-stigmatize and encourage men to ask for help when needed
▪ Support men to repair and develop ‘trust’ in their intimate relationships
▪ Support ‘fathers without father’ and assist them with their personal social concerns
▪ Promote non- patriarchal ways of connecting with women
▪ Discussion on equality and its impact on relationships between men and women
▪ Promote both genders to learn how to respond to one another in a non- confrontational and non- aggressive ways
▪ Support both genders resolve conflicts/ disagreements peacefuly
▪ Increase both genders’ understanding of their personal power and ethics
▪ and more …
Please share if you have some ideas in this regrad.
Hope to create a new pathway to healthy, connecting and trusting relationships!