Single Parenting Isn’t a ‘Dangerous Concept for Society’

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Aug 13, 2018

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On Friday, during a hearing, Justice N Kirubakaran, of the Madras High Court, remarked that single parenting is a “dangerous concept for society,” reported Times of India.

From the TOI report and others, it appears Kirubakaran was attempting to note that lack of parental affection could result in negative behavior that threatens the moral fabric of society. The antidote, parental affection, must come from both mother and father, he argued; one cannot compensate for the lack of the other.

It’s unclear what this statement had to do with the hearing, which was a contempt petition against the Ministry of Women and Child Development for failing to comply with a court ruling to combat child abuse and spread awareness around crimes against children; a best guess is that Kirubakaran was looking for an excuse to weigh in on the changing nature of Indian families (from joint, to include nuclear and — gasp — single-parent families) and his disapproval thereof.

We won’t argue the importance of parents; it’s a given that parents, regardless of gender, are important in a child’s life. And we’ll only note in passing how insulting that statement is to any parent whose spouse is deceased, who must work through their own grief and shoulder responsibilities they likely never expected to navigate alone.

Instead, let’s just focus on how patently false Kirubakaran’s statement is.

Single-parenting is not a dangerous concept for society. There is no legitimate evidence that single-parenting leads to the kind of asocial, presumably criminal, behavior that Kirubakaran suggests. In fact, it’s arguably better for children to be raised by one parent, if the alternative is to be exposed to chronic conflict or abuse (directly or vicariously) when the other parent is in the picture. Which suggests Kirubakaran’s comments speak more toward an outdated bias against divorce, than it does to concern for children’s well-being.

The truth is parenting is never single. The old adage that it takes a  village to raise a child is true. Parents — whether married, committed partners, or single — are supported by family members, nannies, day care workers, friends, co-workers, teachers and more to make sure their child is loved and learns and grows appropriately and safely. The stigma that prevents single parents in India from tapping into a broad network of support is what is dangerous for society, not the act of single parenting.

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Written By Liesl Goecker

Liesl Goecker is The Swaddle’s managing editor and has been living and writing in Mumbai since 2010. She is passionate about women’s rights, everyone’s health, and caffeine.

  1. Forced Single Parent

    Dear Liesl Goecker,

    You may have misinterpreted the basic context of what Justice Kirubakaran said. What he actually meant to say was that forced single Parenting is dangerous to society.

    By forced single Parenting, I mean where a willing parent is denied his Parenting rights by the actions of the other parent. In such cases, not only are both the survivor (denied) parent and the deprived child robbed of their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, they are also brought up in a way that standardises single Parenting as a norm rather than an aberration. This reinforces the stereotype and leads to further breakdown of families.

    Do note that single parents lean always on to their families which comprise both their parents as their support system. So, isn’t it hypocrisy and stark child abuse when a single parent who derives support from normal families with both parents DENIES the same to innocent children.

    I am surprised how an espouser of rights and freedom can become totally oblivious to others’ rights when they are pitted against their ideals/interests. Food for thought and some sense of objectivity next time. Please.

    Best Regards,
    A Forced Single Parent.

  2. Sandip Chakrabarty

    Dear Liesl Goecker,

    You seem to have misinterpreted the significance of Justice Kirubakaran’s statements. When single parenting is unnecessarily forced upon a child by one parent forcibly separating it from its other loving, available and fit parent, then it most definitely is a social cancer. Please note that i used the words loving, available and fit parent, as opposed to a proved abusive parent. This type of forced single parenting, which to most reasonable minds would constitute child abuse in itself, unfortunately is an increasing phenomenon in India with increasing divorces and skewed custody laws, often taken advantage of by unscrupulous lawyers and only too willing litigants, who are perfectly happy to delete such a loving, available and fit parent from the helpless child’s life. If you’d read up on the adult outcomes of such “Parental Alienation”, some statistics are truly shocking, as they would be expected to be by them being forcibly deprived of the invaluable input of a perfectly fit parent, whose only “crime” was apparently to get separated/divorced from their custodial parent. Lets spare a thought for those helpless children of forced single parenting, and see Justice Kirubakaran’s statements in that light.

  3. Dinesh Chandel

    Hi,

    1. From your name and picture it is clear you are not an Indian and even if you are one, you have zero understanding of what you writing. I have seen your other articles, which are all devoid of intelligent perception, rationality and understanding of issues for which you write.
    2. The Indian society has least divorce rate in the world, which means, the society(targeted audience) for which you write is lost in the woods. Refer divorce rate, rapes etc of so called civilized world.
    3. I am forced to even respond to your mindless article but it is necessary as you are white skinned and have an english name, which can give you some mileage which you are shamelessly deriving.
    4. Indian society is one which is marked by happiness and joy, which basically means the children are cared, pampered, brought up in such manner which you cannot understand, which anyways is clear from the articles you write.
    5. Forced Single Parent concept is for the society where women has zero commitment to her own child(kindly leave aside exceptions) and what the Ld Judge has said is based on understanding of culture, mindset of Indian society. The role of parents is a must for healthy growth of a child, this does not require any intelligence unless one doesnt have it.

    By any chance have you written an article on why it is easy to open a brothel in germany than starting a business or why the length of skirt while playing badminton/lawn tennis should keep decreasing? Or why petitie german/irish girls had to do public sex scene with big dogs and it was ok? well, well,……..reading your article shows you are more interested in poisoning the Indian society with your shallow perception and understanding.

    I shall be watching your article from now on.

    Dinesh Chandel

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