Biblically, a family comprises a husband and a wife, jointly responsible for raising their children. However, unforeseen circumstances like death, divorce, or unwed situations can thrust the role of both parents onto a single mother. This discussion delves into the nuances of being a single mother, exploring both its merits and challenges.
Mackay notes that mothers assuming the dual role of caregiver and provider find it challenging to meet the obligations traditionally shouldered by fathers (2). In households where a father was the primary breadwinner, sudden loss can leave children in distress, as mothers may struggle to seamlessly step into the father’s responsibilities.
Historically, widows, confined to childcare, faced severe financial hardships as they were barred from working. Some resorted to begging or relied on family for sustenance. Unfortunately, poverty’s grip can lead mothers to desperate measures like prostitution, inadvertently imparting moral degradation to their children, creating a cycle challenging to break.
This scenario poses disciplinary challenges for children, as the absence of a father figure can result in a lack of structure. Miller and Ridge argue that boys may particularly struggle as their mothers might not grasp certain aspects of male development (1). Without a father’s influence, children may lack the protective shield against immoral behavior and could face academic hurdles, contributing to an environment where bullies may thrive.
For daughters raised without fathers, Bergman suggests a potential lack of understanding of the importance of marriage as they grow older (1). The absence of a paternal role model may inadvertently expose them to unhealthy relationships, where males may not prioritize their well-being.
Despite these challenges, children of single mothers often exhibit resilience and independent thinking, making decisions on their own. Many excel academically due to a strong motivation to uplift their families from poverty. Unlike their counterparts, they enjoy a harmonious environment devoid of parental conflicts.
In contemporary times, many single mothers, empowered and financially stable, can adequately provide for their children, ensuring all needs are met. This changing narrative challenges the stereotypes associated with single motherhood, emphasizing that, with proper planning, children can thrive.
While acknowledging the potential benefits of independent thinking and academic success, it remains imperative for parents to plan for unforeseen circumstances. The study underscores the significance of minimizing causes of separation and loss, recognizing that the disadvantages of raising a child without a father can outweigh the benefits.