Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court has observed that single parenting could be dangerous for the society. According to an article in India Today, he reckoned that a child needs the affection of both mother and father, and one cannot compensate for another. He said, “Behavioural changes triggered in a child from lack of affection from one parent could be detrimental to the society.”
While children’s welfare may be at the heart of Justice Kirubakaran’s comment, it doesn’t seem in sync with the times we live in. When the very concept of marriage is under scrutiny from both genders and most couples are feeling their alliance to be more of an obligation, is it healthy to bring up a child in an unhappy marriage? Should parents stay in a deadlock because they have a child to bring up? Moreover, upbringing in an unhappy household can also affect the psyche of a child. Besides, there are so many other reasons why a parent opts to raise the child alone. Criticising them for this decision seems thoughtless.
Single parenting needs to be socially accepted today
If anything, a single parent deserves social acceptance, support and empathy. It is not easy to perform a task designed for two.
But that doesn’t mean single parents are inefficient. Moreover, there are many reasons why some parents may be raising a child on their own. The untimely demise of a partner, marital discord and estrangement or even long-distance relationships are to name a few. The assumption that single parenting is dangerous to the society shows how the society doesn’t understand the circumstances around this issue fully.
- Justice Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court has observed that single parenting could be dangerous to the society.
- While it is true that a mother or a father is irreplaceable in a child’s life, must parents opt for unhappy lives, for the sake of their kids?
- There are many reasons why a parent might be raising a child single-handedly.
A father and a mother each have a distinct role to play in upbringing a child. But should a couple stay in an unhappy marriage because of that? Must a widow or widower remarry or settle for an incompatible partner? Should a mother stay in an abusive marriage because of the social stigma around single parenting?
Also, this observation once again puts the onus of bringing up a child as only parents’ responsibility.
The behavioural problems which we see in children are also a result of our social negligence. We as a society do not work together to give our children a healthy and happy environment. Children with both the parents are also facing troubles due to our oversight.
Thus, instead of blaming single parenting to be detrimental to children, let us first look at what role do we play in this equation as a society. How kind and considerate are we towards single parents? If children are being bullied or pried upon because they are under the parenting of just the mother or the father, what are we doing to protect them?
It is true that no one or nothing can supplement for a mother or father’s love, but it shouldn’t force single parents into making undesired choices. Their unhappiness will invariably affect the well-being of their child too.
As for the society, there are a lot of practices and beliefs which are detrimental to it. Single parenting is certainly not one of them.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.