Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Single Parent

From Adyar Times issue dt. 0ctober11-17,2015   
My first article published under a  new fortnightly column  titled `Rajan`s Random Reflections` . Adyar Times is a free  community paper popular in South Madras  reaching about 50,000 households.

                                                        SINGLE PARENT
I had gone to stay with my daughter in Bangalore for a couple of days. I was moved to see the extremely busy schedule that she maintains, looking after her home and the two school going kids  besides some creative activities she is pursuing as a hobby. After the school hours, driving the children to special classes or some sports/cultural activity in the maddening traffic of Bangalore can be quite nerve wracking by itself.  The task has become even more daunting because of the absence of her husband who is away in Delhi on a short transfer depriving her of his support during the children’s growing years. I must say that like millions of Indian Housewives, she is coping with the challenge  very well, albeit with some impact on her health & moods!
While my daughter has the moral support of her husband who regularly calls & keeps in touch with the happenings at home, I was wondering what happens to the growing number of single parents, in our country. How do they cope without the active support of a life partner? Their  single status could be because of a broken marriage, or loss of a husband due to illness/accidents. And of course there are young women, very successful in their careers  and financially  independent, deciding  not to get hooked on to any one through marriage but still deciding   to bring up a child. Such women go for adoption and are willing to take on the challenging task of performing a dual role – that of a mother and father.
I met a lady recently,  who,  after two broken marriages ,  decided to bring up her two  children on her own. Talking to her, I realized that our  society can be very cruel to women who choose to be single parents.
She was narrating some unpleasant incidents she encountered while dealing with the teachers and the management of the school where her kids were studying. Besides  the children too  had to face the jibes, taunts and insensitive comments of their peers as well as teachers.  Making them feel very insecure,  leading to psychological problems, affecting their lives.
Though I have not come across  a single parent who has adopted a child, I am sure such women also must be facing similar problems. The adopted children  must be facing more humiliation than the biological children of single parents because they don`t know who their father is.
In the West it is common to find children of single parents- could be either the father or the mother, studying in schools coping well with their lives, because Western society has accepted such situations as normal.  In our country we still have a long way to go in addressing this growing problem,  resulting from increasing cases of divorces. Apart from developing counseling  for such parents and schools,  the society must also consider providing support systems to enable the hapless women to manage their lives with dignity.
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