It takes a village to raise a child. Ours might be the first generation with such a large number of single parent families. Historically it’s really unheard of, you know. The pressure on a parent to stay together “for the children” was pretty considerable in previous generations. Options for divorce or separation were limited – limited by church rules, by family traditions, by cultural norms and most importantly by income. A single mother living alone with one or more children is likely to be living in poverty, or on the verge of. Even though the gap between male and female incomes is slowly collapsing, a sizable gap still remains even today.
The ability of anyone, male or female to raise a really well-rounded, psychologically and physically healthy child, are, sad to say slim. No? Look around you, how many perfect parents do you know? When you have 2 parents trying to make the best decisions for their offspring – well even then there are lots of 2 parent families that make major mistakes there, ending up with traumatized, psychologically damaged children. But to put all the responsibility of raising a new human being on just one individual – well, you get the point.
It always astounded me that all women I know line up quickly to take the latest pre-natal course, once they’re pregnant. But once the child is born – very few of them take any chid-rearing training. So the default position is that you raise your children the same way you were raised – good, bad or ugly.
Our knowledge has advanced considerably in the last 100 years – and one could say that we do have it in our hands the answers as to how to raise healthy, happy children. But lack of commitment, the high rate of unsupported single parent families, large income gaps and many other factors contribute to producing children who are irresponsible, without a solid moral and ethical base, lacking the right skills for moving forward in what they want to do.
As one suggestion I would put forth the possibility of several like groups to live together, instead of single moms/ dads living each in their own small apartment by themselves, to band together – for safety, for sharing of resources, and possibly entrepreneurial ideas, for sharing of child-rearing ideas, for company. It does take a village to raise a child – let’s start expanding our private homes idea to more communal modes of living & sharing &raising our children.