Forming A Family: Single Parents


A mother and child in India
Photo by Mark Nye via Flickr

Adam Navis and Liz Waid talk about families that are formed when there is only one parent. What obstacles do these families face?

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Ella Scott was 22 years old. She was a university student. A few weeks after a wild night with a man, she discovered that she was going to have a baby. She did not know what to do. Many people told her she should end the pregnancy with a medical abortion. She even decided that this was the right choice. She was young. She needed to finish school. She was not ready for a baby. She decided to have a medical abortion. But she told the Guardian,

Voice 3  

“The day before it was to happen, I cancelled it. I decided I would not enjoy travelling the world and dancing all night if I had got rid of a baby in order to be able to do it. I did not want a baby. But I did not want that guilt either. I had been a wild girl. But I was 22, not 15. I would have to deal with the results of my acts.”

Voice 2  

The father of the child was not happy. He did not want Scott to have the baby. He stopped talking to her. He even moved away. Ella Scott was about to become a single parent. Today’s Spotlight is on forming families with a single parent.

Voice 1  

Raising children is a difficult job. It takes money, time, and energy. Two parents can share the work. And yet, around the world, there are 320 million children being raised by a single parent.

Voice 2  

In the past, single parent families were usually created when one parent died. Now, single parent families are often caused by divorce. One parent may leave the family. In some cases, a single parent family forms because of rape. A man forces a woman to have sex, and then leaves her with a pregnancy and child. In some cultures, this can bring extreme shame to a woman. Her family may even leave her or refuse to help her. In these places, being a single parent is even more difficult. But some people, like Ella Scott, can decide to have a family on their own.

Voice 1  

In most of these situations, single parent families include the mother and children. This is because fathers are more likely to leave their families. Also, in cases of divorce, legal systems often give children to their mothers.

Voice 2  

Being a single parent can be difficult. There are many things parents have to do every day. They need to feed their children, get them clothed, make sure they get to school — and many more things! Doing this alone adds pressure. It makes single parents very tired. Parents may be too tired to guide children about how to behave. Also, many single parent families have less money than two-parent families.

Voice 1  

Experiences of single parents can be very different in different countries. For example, it is very difficult to be a single parent in Japan. Most single parents in Japan are single mothers. Generally, men are expected to work and women are expected to raise children. When people divorce, men have no responsibility for the children. They do not even have to help with money. Today, women are less likely to stay in a bad marriage. This means that divorce rates have increased in Japan. There are now more single mothers in Japan.

Voice 2  

Child care is a serious concern for single parents. The Atlantic told about Shinobu Miwa. She is a single mother in Japan. She works five hours every day in an office. But she struggles to pay for rent, food, and school supplies. But she is thankful for her job. Jobs in Japan require a lot of hours of work. Many companies do not want to employ a single mother because they know she will have to leave work to care for her child. There are government programs to help, but they do not do enough. This is a common situation in places around the world.

Voice 1  

One country working to solve this problem of expensive child care for single parents is Kosovo. In Kosovo, several cities provide free child care for single parents. In 2012, Arta Tahiri was an elected leader in Ferizaj/Uroševac. She wanted to help single mothers in the city. She began a program to provide free child care to single mothers. This has helped both mothers and children. Nerimane Hashani was one of these mothers. She told USAID how the program has made a big change in her life.

Voice 4  

“This was a very big thing for me. It means I can use my money on my son instead of child care. It is also great to know my son is cared for. He cannot wait to come here and see his friends. And the school encouraged him to eat more healthy foods, when he sees that the other children do.”

Voice 2  

There are many studies that show that children with two parents often do better in school, relationships, and jobs. But this does not mean that single parent families cannot be good. Life is complex. All parents usually do the best job they can to provide love, safety, and encouragement to their children.

Voice 1  

But there are some methods single parents can use to reduce stress and help children. First, it is important to show love to your children. Spend time with them and let them know they are important. Second, set behavior limits. Agree on rules everyone can follow. Third, find resources in your area that help single parents if they exist. Finally, like everyone who takes care of children, single parents need to take care of themselves too. Ask for help when you need it. And stay positive. Remember that no parent is perfect.

Voice 2  

Remember Ella Scott from the beginning of this program? She is happy with her decision to become a single parent. She went back to school. She got a job. She told the Guardian News organization,

Voice 3  

“My pregnancy felt like a terrible dream. But it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me... I get a lot of support from family and friends. I cannot wait for what comes next. Life is still exciting and sometimes difficult, but now I have a bright, loving, happy son who will always be with me.”

Voice 1  

Do you know anyone who is a single parent? Tell us about your experiences! You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this programme was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this programme and voiced by Spotlight. This programme is called ‘Forming A Family: Single Parents.”

Voice 1  

Look for our listening app in the Google Play store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight programme. Goodbye.

Question:

Does your community support single parents? How?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on November 20, 2017

I think raising children as a single parent is difficult, complex highly at all events. Primarily in a case of too young mothers who are often not able to take care of their child therefore those children mostly are given to adoption early after they were born. Women who decide to raise children themselves have the exceeding responsibility for children universal development for many years so that they need urgently the significant support from their relatives, communities and authorities as well. In this respect single mothers in my country the Czech Republic are provided the considerable special help as medical so financial too. Personally, I believe a family formed with only one parent can be just as functional and successful as a common family with both parents.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on February 08, 2019

In Brazil there are a governmental aids, the public nursery, for single parentes who doesn’t can take care for their children and work at the same time. But the aid fails all the time. A pregnant woman rarely has support in her community and must to do everything alone. Be a single parent is a big problem in our country.