Rising Culture of Single Fathers and Taboo Associated
Parenting is a tough job but the division of service is often equal. Our preconceived notions about what a mother is responsible for and what the father does depends upon the long back traditions of parenting. Especially in a country like India most of these jobs are divided based on family background, but as the world moves towards the tradition of separations and divorces, certain boundaries have crossed the threshold of this thought.
We have a crisis in our culture. It is simple; distinguishing parenting on the basis of gender stereotypes, which is wrong because the standard of our future is hampered. But the rising culture of single parents has just revoked our principles about parenting. Peculiarly, it is the single fathers that we often fail to give recognition to. Why? The concept of single men is always deemed as pathetic, or that the women are much better at being parents. The society’s expectation always unfolds towards women as a parent and side-lines the male counterparts, even fathers feel insecure about this reality. And this game is influenced by the role of expectations; it is thus time to question the ground of such notions and from where these thoughts got encouraged and spread.
Single Fathers- The Unsung Heroes
It is first important to understand that fathers play an enormous role in the upbringing of their kids and men parent differently than women. Because of the growing racism on women around several fields, mothers championing the sectors above all, we somehow managed to unconsciously push the dads to the sides and they become marginalized. And then the concept of single fathers, especially those who are not even married became the laughing stock of the conversations. We need to emphasize that Dads are the central figure in the identity formation of a child and that dads are as equally important as mothers.
Single mothers are gaining a lot of momentum yet appreciating the single dad’s remains void. While a single mother is never doubted on the upbringing of a child, a single dad’s upbringing is not even recognized but also is debunked as not ‘up to the mark’. Being a single father is uncommon but rather odder from a financial standpoint because in India it is the men who the breadwinners of the family and thus juggling between home and office might take a toll on one. While the research on single fathers is limited, studies show that children in single-father families fare about as well as children in single-mother families on many outcomes, although there are differences. Moreover, in the absence of the mother, it is believed, fathers tend to overcompensate both emotionally and financially which is not seen as prudent. One belief is that fathers usually raise their child under the guidance of either their grandmothers or a nanny and they are only responsible for the finances of the duo. Now let’s understand fatherhood from the personal experience of our own fathers. Think, when as a child your father came home after office, what was your first thought? Your first thought is always ‘how was his day’- not because you care but because whether you should stay in the room or not. Apparently, in most of the families, it is the father whom the children are most scared of. These experiences are not false; the only problem with them is that these individual experiences are portrayed as the collective experience which gained promotion from media and television. Among the crowd of arrogant and rude men, we are ignoring the vulnerable sides. If a person doesn’t fill the preconceived notions about the ‘gender requirements’ we cannot justify them as inappropriate.
Nowadays, men are coming out and taking the non-traditional practices of engaging in child caring. And this new feminized fatherhood identity is characterized by the rejection of traditional concepts, but also by a devaluation of their own position as marginalized men. This is the biggest breakthrough in the concept of parenting in India because the conception of fatherhood is changing. The study suggests that the kids that grow up with their dads in the home under his full attention and guidance are less likely to suffer from depression, learning disorders, anxiety, complete high school, and far less likely to be involved in drug addiction and other illegal activities. So it’s clear, that fathers’ influence on their kids is phenomenal.
What Can We Do?
We are the change-makers; we are the one that can change the stereotypes and create new traditions. If you are a single father, make an effort. Raising a child as a single parent is monumentally more difficult than doing it as two people. But things can improve when people start understanding the position of a mother and a father and that a father should just be a father and a mother be a mother. A growing child need both of his parents, even if you are a single parent, they never wish you to take the position of your missing counterparts. What motivates them is seeing your efforts to be the best parent- that’s enough. If you are a single father, be a father that is emotionally informed about your child and the same goes for single mothers. By fulfilling the responsibility of both you are overworking yourself as well as devaluing the value of the other.
Parenting is a beautiful work – be it a mother or a father, what matter is how your child turns out to be.