Lone-parent families: strengths and vulnerabilities

Lone-parent families: strengths and vulnerabilities

Today there is a great diversity of family structures that have little or nothing to do with the more traditional concept. One of the new emerging typologies is single-parent families. Theycharacterized by the absence of one of the adults originally forming this traditional typology (father, mother and children).

The single-parent family has, like other family types, its own particularities that differentiate it from other archetypes, such as the nuclear family. One of these features is that manyBefore accepting it, children had to live in a situation of conflict created and supported by their parents. But there are many other differences. These differences reveal the process of adaptation that this type of family has had to make in recent decades to fully integrate into society. As well as those that had to be realized by society, with more or less resistance, to accommodate them.

Subtypes of single-parent families

This type of family structure is made up of an adult who has been responsible for one or more children.The concept is however very broad. It encompasses a large number of conformational forms.It can be:

  • A father or mother who has separated and lives in the same house with one or more children
  • An elderly, widowed man who lives with a child in his teens
  • A single woman or man who decides to adopt
  • A teenager having a baby and decides to stay in the family home to raise her child
"Divorced people are people who have not made a good marriage, but they are also people who would not accept a bad one."
-Paul Bohannan-

Strengths of single-parent families

The absence of one of the parental figures often reinforces the emotional bond between the mother or the father and the children. In addition, independencein making decisions about education and the lives of children is more important in the absence of a reference figures. It also extends to the lack of discussion about the educational criteria used in the growth of children. This more relaxed and flexible environment can create a more pleasant family atmosphere.

People without one of the attachment figures are generally more independent in this type of single-parent families.Many adopt the role of this absent father or mother. They thus acquire responsibilities greater than those required by their age.These demands or forced adaptations often help them to mature. But this can also become a weak point, as we will see below.

Weaknesses of single-parent families

One of the main difficulties faced by this type of family is the exposure of young children to the conflict between parents. We are, in consultation, direct witnesses of howproblems occurring within the couple have a direct impact on children.An impact often leaving a deep trace echoing beyond childhood. It is sometimes necessary to add the rejection that children may suffer from not belonging to a traditional family.

Difficulty maintaining dialogue and reaching agreementsalso facilitates unilaterality when making important decisions.This loneliness in education increases the daily workload for caregivers. This parents therefore has less time for himself. It relegates its needs to the scale of its priorities.

This parent also has no opportunity to compare opinions, discuss solutions to potential problems, or simply delegate responsibility for some decisions to another.This compensation and the shared space created in the couple is also nonexistent.

Less privacy and more permissiveness

Childrendo not generally respect the privacy of adults in single-parent families. This is because they do not know or do not know, in practice, what privacy is.This is why they often interrupt telephone conversations or interfere in decisions that do not concern them in relation to their stage of maturation.

There is also an increase in the permissiveness of children. These lattertend to take advantage of this dual role of father and mother.However, as we mentioned, the child can sometimes assume the role of the absent figure. For example, strongly opposing the mother going out with friends, defying her father or demanding to share a bed.

The most negative of this situation is that the adult lets it go unconsciously.There is no spouse (or other person, in his absence) involved in the education that can act as a mirror so that the father or mother can understandthat he does not favor his child.

Single-parent families, however, are still united by the same "glue" as any other type of family.These pillars are love, protection, security and ongoing care.The fact that they have certain strengths and vulnerabilities simply adds a touch of singularity to their situation.


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