Have you ever noticed that the Hindi Film Industry has always tried to glamorize the tragedy of a single mother, be it ‘Jaya Bachchan’ from “Kal Ho Na Ho”, or the hard-working ‘Nargis’ in “Mother India”, or the unwed ‘Vidya Balan’ from “Paa”; whereas, on the upside, the SRK classic, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” shows the quirkiness of an adorable single father. These stories are not always a clear depiction of what happens in real life. Whether you loathe it or love it, the depiction of single parents has always been a deplorable one. Nonetheless, a lot of people in society may agree likewise too. Necessarily, being a single parent isn’t that bad at all (yes, we did hint at Bhaskar Banerjee from Piku!).
Though having dual parents is an established norm in our society, we need to realize that sometimes it cannot work out. Sometimes it’s the universe, and sometimes it’s us. These unforeseen situations cannot be avoided and we just have to make our peace with it.
In the midst of raising your kids on your own, you might definitely not think of your situation as an opportunity, but there are some overwhelmingly positive angles of single parenting that deserve attention.
Positive Benefits of Being a Single Parent:
- Stronger Bonds: Having the luxury of spending quality one-on-one time with your kids allows you to develop a strong and unique bond that may actually be stronger than the status quo of parenting. Certainly, this holds true for many of the custodial parents, but it’s also true for a number of non-custodial parents who have the opportunity to play a unique role in their kids’ lives. Let’s simply consider the example of Bhaskar Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) with Piku (Deepika Padukone‘s character) in the film. The bitter-sweet relationship surely was a unique one, but yes, a very strong bond too!
- Imparting Responsibility at a Young Age: Children raised in single-parent families don’t necessarily have a choice when it comes to dodging the responsibilities but it’s something that they learn at a very young age. Most of these children also end up becoming very responsible adults. They learn valuable lessons from facing hard times and having a different lifestyle from many of his / her surroundings. No, no we aren’t saying the children who aren’t raised by single parents can’t be responsible, simply that these young adults can be more responsible at times. (Oh, we are totally not talking of Piku!)
- Understanding the Importance of Relationships: It may seem unlikely that a child with a single parent will never feel the void of having the other parent; It is often said that the importance of the things are only felt when they’re not around you. You, being a single-parent get to fill that void by playing both the good cop and the bad cop. Single parenthood for a child not only bring the child closer to the single parent, but it also gains a lot of respect for them – they’re raised right. Remember Rhea (Rani Mukherjee’s character) from Hum Tum? That responsible and respecting adult that she is? Yes, that’s what we are talking about!
- Be their Role Models: For children whose parents are in an unhealthy relationship, it may be easier for them to conclude that life can be managed without a partner, and there is no reason to be in a relationship. But, being a single parent – you can set out an example for them, that it is not necessary for them to be in a relationship to have or help the child grow. The child will definitely reciprocate to your hard work, that you put in his early ages. Trust us, we all know how little Anjali from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was so enthralled by her father!
- Expectations are in Check: How often have you went up to your mother to ask her if you could go for that trip with your friends – and her answer was would always be, “Go ask your Dad.” It is easier for the child to communicate his heart with a single parent. While, it does depend on how friendly one is with their child, but as a single parent – expectations are often unambiguous. There is also less chance of a contradiction with single parenthood. Yes, we did mean Savitri Rathore (Ratna Pathak Shah’s character) from Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na.
Don’t ever let people tell you otherwise, single-parent families can and are just as successful as dual-parent families. They are still bound by the same “glue” as any other family, the glue of – love, protection, security, and constant care; it may just require a little more work from your side.
Omkar Kulkarni is a self-proclaimed art appreciator, a certified film reviewer and someone’s favorite human being.