Friday, December 15, 2017

Plight of a single parent

Lately there’s a lot of talk among our citizenry about single parenting.  I am a single mother with two daughters.  I was ordered to attend the co-parenting workshops offered by Social Services Unit attached to the  Family Court. I live in San Fernando with my two daughters as I have sole custody of them.

These co-parenting sessions are held once every year at Port of Spain from 5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. for a 14-week period. 

Can someone explain to me why these sessions are not strategically held to accommodate single parents from other parts of the country? 

If Social Services need to offer support, then please consider Saturday sessions as many single parents have no one to look after their children at nights. 

Furthermore, the timing of the sessions requires me to take time off from my job, which means I need to either make up the time or take a cut in my salary, both of which are difficult at this time. My employer has been gracious enough to grant me “flexi” time on mornings to drop my kids to school.

Can support units that are established to provide support and not be burdensome, be more sensitive to the demands of single parenting in determining what’s best for “society”?

  In my view, it wouldn’t be responsible of me to leave my children at home on two evenings for the week for a 14-week period, homework undone, to drive back from Port of Spain to San Fernando in the night for such a lengthy duration. Not only is it burdening physically but also mentally and emotionally as a single parent now has to balance this additional challenge with thoughts of the little ones awaiting mummy to come home to start homework or give them the attention they require, particularly at nights. 

This additional demand will add undue stress to single parents and one should look at the situation with a holistic view. 

I hope these concerns will reach someone with understanding and wisdom and when these workshops are being organised. The facilitators will also recognise the demands on single parents and be ready to offer their services at various locations and times, preferably on weekends, to accommodate the already tight schedule of the single parent.

K Ali

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