By MA Iliasu
The current whispers in our society would want you to believe that children who are raised by single mothers are generally undisciplined and bad-mannered. Especially the female child. It’s assumed that by being raised by a single mother, a female child would suffer from lack of constant presence of an enforcing figure who will go out of his own depth to lay down for her the emotional and cognitive measures that’ll leverage her exercise within the ideal behavioral depth, understanding of sociological roles and what’s expected of her and other children while interacting with their inner circle and the society generally. Most especially during the critical phase for cognitive development. Enforcing figure in this regard, is assumed to be the father. With mother obviously relegated to a secondary role. And with usually no further explanations provided, the presence of a father when raising a child, no matter which type and of which behavior, is borrowed a significant cultural relevance beyond the question of logic and common sense. While his absence, despite the nature of the mother, is restricted along the boundaries of narrow assumptions, put generally against or in favor of women. The objective of this long piece is to attempt looking into this parental, child-raising dilemma, to see where the society is wrong on its stand on single motherhood and where it’s right, to dissect the technicalities associated with the phenomenon and suggest a way forward. For while I believe being raised by a single parent can indeed have undesirable effect upon child-upbringing, the assumptions being made regarding the impact of single motherhood are at best, shallow generalization by employing outrageous cultural badmouthing to pressure women into staying in their matrimonial homes after childbirth, and at worst, a sinister slander to the maternal institution.
The nature of father and his relationship with the household is the most important factor that makes or breaks a family. Men are behaviorally very different in nature. The traits and exercise of masculinity are more powerful, efficient and revealing in some men, while some have theirs less powerful, efficient and revealing, with some even possessing some traits that are considerably unmanly. A man with revealing masculinity acts manly and efficiently in his management of household responsibilities. And that equips him to pursue his rights as the alpha and omega of the family with immense command, peace and comfort. This kind of man is strong. He makes the rules and everyone follows. And it’s due to this reason that he’s more likely to nurture the family through the cultural demands of the society without breaking a sweat. However, a man with less efficient and revealing masculinity is more passive in his exercise of household control. And in one way or the other, he doesn’t enjoy as much influence upon his family as the first type of our man. Meanwhile, a man that’s compromised by too much femininity sits at the lowest point of the curve when it comes to the exercise of power and control. This type of man has little or no influence on his family.
Unquestionably, the nature of these men manifest greatly upon the actions of their women. A women that’s married to an alpha for example would have it easy raising her children adrift of any moral or behavioral corruption, simply because their father sets disciplinary boundaries beyond their own childish breaching. This type of woman would always have respect for her children’s father, because he has taken his role very well. He’s there when he’s needed, offering support – both physical and emotional, protection – both sociological and economic, and being the leader when it matters. This woman is less likely to misbehave because she has no reason to. She’s more obedient, abiding by the cultural rules, and more prolific and efficient in operating within her feminine depth. And that would have direct effect on the children. They’ll grow more disciplined and would have higher tendency to abide by the social rules.
A wife to the second type of man would however be less obedient, and would sometimes try to operate outside her behavioral depth. Her husband is less enforcing, his role not so well-taken, his support underwhelming, and not being the best of leaders when it matters. This ensures that she has to take some matters to her hands, despite them being the responsibility of the man. Which would consequently have direct effect on the children. Because when they see their father as the less capable man he is, which is inevitable no matter how hard the mother tries to cover up, that’ll be the beginning of all behavioral corruption. Respect for parents is the foundation of all discipline.
A wife to the third type of man would have it extremely difficult, simply because her man is, from every angle of masculinity, a good for nothing. He’s nonexistent. Which subsconciously forces her to take over everything. The dictates of her husband’s weaknesses makes her a doer. And being overly occupied by responsibility, on top of the natural emotional fragility associated with women, flawed upbringing is bound to occur. The children would grow so fond of her, but not so fond of their father. They’ll mentally have no reception or intimate space for him. If they are male children, they may grow violent and angry. If they’re female child, they may grow disrespectful and spoiled from the prism of social role. And especially the female, who’ll be under the control of someone after getting married sometime later, they’ll possibly take that perception of marriage to their matrimonial houses – less controllable, a bit rude and disrespectful – which would never cease to cause conflict in the marriage.
Going back to our initial analysis, which deals with the perception of the society upon the impact of single motherhood, the above explanations would be very relevant. A single mother is either a widow – who lost husband to death, a divorcee – who was divorced by her husband, or an unmarried woman who birthed outside the wedlock. It’s mostly the first two cases in our society, for hardly do women have sex, let alone birth outside the wedlock. To be candid, a widow to an alpha – a strong and our first type of man, would have no problem raising her children despite being single, mainly because she understood what proper children upbringing means to her man before his passing. A women who stayed married to an alpha for more than twenty years is more a female version of him than she’s a version of herself. That’s how much an alpha can have influence on his family. And hardly you encounter a divorce in this type of family. Her children would always be alright. Some of them knew and understood who was their father and what he demanded behaviorally when he was alive. The mother would hardly ever settle for lesser man. And even when she does, the impact could hardly change. Therefore, including this type of single mother into the degradation of the current cultural stereotype isn’t only wrong but amateurish. For those women are as much a father as they’re mothers.
A wife to the second type of man would however encounter some problems when raising children as a single mother. The sheer incapability of her husband has probably ended the marriage. She feels she deserves better, while he couldn’t do any better. Making her feel shackled by his idiosyncrasy. Death or divorce, this type of woman would have it difficult reshaping her children from the experience of their incapable father when raising them as single. They were forced to disrespect the ideal roles of the household. Their father was weak, forcing their mother to go out of her depth, along the line making them weak too. Male children may encounter difficulties with their manners. While female would encounter the same, and even more because they’ll have problems recognising any matrimonial power apart from themselves, just like their mother in her past marriage. This type of single mother risk raising children whom the society may totally disagree with.
A wife to the third type of man meanwhile, has totally become corrupted. She’ll hardly demand a divorce, because she sits on the throne of the household. She does what she want, when she wants and upon whom she wants. She is a ruler who is ruling without principles. She’s mismanaging the household because she’s exercising power that’s absolutely unknown to her behavioral depth. No matter how hard she tries, taming children during that crucial time would be difficult. She’s a destabilized mother. And it’ll remain the same if she was to become single. The children would become wayward, unless the ones that are lucky. Female of them would have difficulty staying in marriage. The male usually engage with drug abuse and other morally corrupted social vices. This category of single motherhood ruins the outside perception of other single mothers. And it’s mostly the only one our society consider to deliver judgement on single mothers. Which is right upon them, yet not only wrong upon others but outrageous.
The institution of maternity is a very tricky institution to understand. It’s function depends so much on the function of paternity. Weakness in maternity usually trace roots from weakness in paternity. Which is why a strong father is usually a husband to a strong mother, giving birth to strong children. And vice versa. A single mother who was in the past a wife to a strong man, is better equipped to raise a child than any married mother who is corrupted by managing with an absolute good for nothing of a husband. A strong single mother is very much better than a weak father, and the impact isn’t even close. This type of women raised many wonder kids who later grew up to conquer the world. They don’t deserve to be mixed with their weak counterparts. That’s not fair. And that’s why, instead of judging children by the marriage status of their mother, it’ll be better if the role of their father when he was alive or married to their mother would be studied carefully. Absence of husband in the life of woman isn’t always the determinant of the rot in her children’s moral upbringing. The same way his presence isn’t the main determinant behind them becoming well-raised. Many times he may perhaps even be the orchestrating factor behind their weakness. And I think terming this a fact would be more cogent than fallacy.
Iliasu writes from Kano.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily