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Monday, October 1, 2018

Why Is Being A Single Mother Stigmatized In Nigeria?


single mother stigmatization

Some African women are also choosing to have and raise children on their own.
Are you a single parent? How difficult is it to bring up children alone? Did you grow up in a single parent family? Do you feel you have missed out at all? Have you decided or would you consider raising a child alone? Can the stigma that sometimes exists about being a single parent be eliminated?

If you would like to debate this topic please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Joseph Patrick Abu wrote: I was brought up by a single parent (my dad). This was really difficult for me as I do not cherish such an experience. I lost a lot as I did not have the motherly love my peers will normally enjoy. I have since vowed that my child will not go through this experience.

Afemnui Chantal wrote: Single parenthood is not still a taboo in the African continent; the issue here is if the parent is able to raise the child or children.
Afemnui Chantal, Cameroon

Yemi Ayodele Ayeni wrote: Single parenting is undoubtedly a menace that affects children psychologically and emotionally. It is significantly stigmatized in Africa because of the accustomed culture in African society. It is always assumed as a conventional norm for a woman to remain in her husband house for the rest of her life regardless of the challenges encountered. It is now regarded as a disconformity for a woman to return to her parents' house or remain single by taking care of the children alone. This act obviously deprives single parents some basic societal respect and dignity. This is quite opposite of how single parents in western world are being assessed. The circumstances that lead to single parenting may range from conflict, abandonment and natural disaster(death). The adverse effect may be at minimal level or the view of the people may be very light if the cause is natural such as death.

The adverse effect of this phenomenon is always on the children. It may even affect the development of the child, the future, career and behavior. I may not have a statistical figure to justify my point but it is a fact that most children with challenging behaviour are product of single parent. They develop negative behaviour as a result of their inability to be taken care of by both parents and most of them become aggressive as a result of their lack of parental affection.

African or non-African should have a re-think in parenting children alone before settling down with single parenting option because of the adverse effects on the children. African parents that are opting for such are being westernized.

Chukwudozie Duru wrote: Single parenting is something a child has no control over, however it is abnormal in African traditional setting to be a single parents without the circumstances of death or divorce(even after divorce the children still go back to the father in most cases) by either of the parent.
Sinlge parenting in the west is quite different from that of African,
African family system gives a child a wholelistic family life while that of the west is more of choice by women or men which in some cases has to do with economic empowerment.

Another factor that may be affecting single parenthood in Africa is because of the lineage and inheritance issues, most of the people raised by their mothers eventually find their father and join their father's family for a society that follows such system , again because everyone believes that he has a home and the fact that urban centre is a place of business not a place of retirement makes it easy and necessary for men to seek for their father, ladies also will seek for their fathers during marriage because of custom/ tradition and no lady would want to go and live in a man’s house without the man doing something in form of dowry or anything at all.

Fau75 wrote: Although some isolated cases are happening now where some ladies are having children of their own without living with the man, this situation will eventually fizzle out because it is not easy for one person to do the job of two people and yet pursue a career.

I believe that with these factors, no one would ordinarily want to be a single parent because it does not give him/her joy and the child so raised would feel that he is lacking something, our way of life made it complicated for us not to see that as normal and thus it is indeed abnormal otherwise don’t just get involve.

Zack Lwanga wrote: I think the issue here is that if you are financially stable and able to take care of your kids then you don't face stigma. I have been a single parent for my 2 kids for 14 years! I was never stigmatized but felt people were always talking about me and frowning behind my back, never upfront!! The father of my kids never took responsibility or care for his kids. But I was able to, thank God!

I have worked with various charity organisations, one of whose direct focus was single parents and their children in Africa. From my work experiences, I concur with Yemi Ayodele (above) on how this phenomenon affects future child behaviour and also with Chukwudozie Duru on this being a situation over which the children do not usually have much control. There is also the stigma that is indirectly brought about by people in the communities associating single parents with laziness and an inability to amount to 'anything' in society reducing them to passive members of their communities who have no say in the formulation of policies and legislation that most often affect them directly. To address this stigma, the charity I worked with focused on empowering members of single parent communities with practical vocation skills and business knowledge to enable them provide better for their families and also provided them opportunities to orient themselves with knowledge of their human rights and other charters that could affect them. This cocktail of opportunities usually provided a lethal injection to the stigma faced by single parents in their communities by proving to them how productive single parents could be given the right factors in their environment. When a single parent sewed the uniforms that the community's children wore to school, it usually reflected well on the single parent who would then be seen as a productive individual in the society. This also worked to boost the single parent's morale and self confidence to go out and talk about other issues facing them. Hopefully, this can be a good model to reduce the stigma facing single parents and their children in Africa.

There is a differentiate between being single parent because of divorce or death of spouse, and being a single parent by having a child outside marriage, the latter is not acceptable in many African societies. I believe there is moral to it. A father must be known and bear full responsibility for raising the child. Why marriage first? Because it is a legal contract binding a father to take responsibility, a contract, which enforced by local village elders, t religious leaders , and the state!

Yes, I would say single parenting is still frowned upon in Africa because traditionally and ethically marriages supposed to last a live time even in the bible marriages are said to be “for better and for worse”. Yes, before we start having family people suppose to know with children come responsibility, but the bad apprenticeship in us African forbids from learning things properly. We are always in a hurry to abandon what we know for we don’t understand, whatever goes on in the west is of interest to us but the effort invested eludes us.

Mac-noel wrote: In the west people champion issues with the last drop of blood in their vain, issues such as freedom of speech was fought for by some people for decades (determined individuals) others champion women liberation and the issue of single parent ship did not just come to the westerners on platter of gold, people fought for it above all Western leaders listen and find ways to accommodate their citizen’s request. When funds are allocated to certain causes there is accountability.
Through the Welfare system unemployed, single parents and less privilege people are funded in the in the west. Privilege people engaged in charitable causes to help the needy and some African states benefits from this good hearted people. But has African leaders learn anything from their colonial masters? I suppose the answer is NO. No planning, No accountability, No sense of compassion. These leaders forgot that without their citizen there can’t be government.

All we have is GREED. Greed brought about by senseless wars. Long-throat of men marrying more wives and having more children than they can cope with, some men and women abandon long standing family to start new ones only to abscond again our way of life complicates the life of our children.
Even in the west families don’t have more than two kids this enables them to have quality time for themselves.

Single parenting and others issues will remain frowned upon in African until we all accept our responsibilities.
Children need both their parents. There are psychological and behavioral effects that comes with growing up with only one parent. Feeling insecure amongst peers and the desire to know what really happened between your parents and who wronged the other. There are times you may think that the parent you live with is too harsh, inconsiderate, and mean and maybe the other one unknown to you could be better.

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