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Life with a single parent

It does not help to assume that a single parent will not be effective in handling the family reports Samir Parikh

education Updated: Jan 27, 2011 09:22 IST
Samir Parikh

Family is an important and integral aspect of our being. Each one of us has an ideal view of how life should be and how things should happen. Many of these views and ideas tend to revolve around how families should be. We tend to have notions about a family, such as having a mother, father and siblings. But many a times, our families may not conform to these conventional structures and that can be a source of stress for us. This could be due to a number of reasons ranging from personal to social, societal and familial. In such a situation, one needs to keep in view a few things.

A parent is a parent
Always remember that a parent is a parent, whether single or one who has a spouse to support him or her in parenting. Being a parent has its responsibilities, which she or he tries to fulfil to the best of his or her abilities. It does not matter whether one belongs to a conventional family with two parents or one, because the same emotions, concerns, love, commitment and care are associated with both. These do not change with the structure of the family.

Don’t go by stereotypes
A lot of stereotypes regarding single parenting exist in society. It is very easy to stereotype and typecast your parent into a traditional frame. Adhering or propagating stereotypes will not aid the well-being of your family. It does not help to think that a single parent will not be capable of handling the family efficiently and effectively.

Build a bond
Forging a bond with your parent is very important. Remember, he or she also has anxieties about his/her responsibilities. Unburdening your parent by talking, discussing and sharing can make things smoother for the both of you. Remember, this is essential to ensuring better communication within the family.

Be responsible
Being responsible and sharing household responsibilities and being a part of some decision-making can go a long way in enhancing the overall environment in the home. This is extremely essential and a prerequisite to making things work. A number of problems can easily be avoided by sharing responsibilities actively, which would also help take care of your parent’s anxieties and worries.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare