WHEN it comes to identifying problematic behaviours or reasons for crime and other unjust practices within our society, single mothers often seem to get the brunt of the blame. “Single mothers”, “teenage mothers”, and especially “mothers with children by multiple men” are frequently the target of public scrutiny. Far too often men are left out of this conversation. Are we saying that there are no single and teenage fathers? Are there no men with children by multiple women, or are we just okay with that because they are men? Do these men get a pass when it comes to their contribution to these same social ills mothers are accused of, simply because we do not place enough emphasis on the need for equal responsibility in the creation of these situations in the first place?
The inclination of persons to allow women, mothers in this case, to carry the weight and responsibility for societal problems is not so surprising in a society that still has ways to go in the attainment of equality between the genders; a place where it seems for some that women are as useful as furniture, or meant only to cook, clean, and bear children.
When discussing topics related to the contribution of single motherhood to the root causes of crime, it must also be noted the significance of the role men play in the whole dynamic. Women often take on the majority of responsibilities as it relates to their children from the day they are born; some are even unable to return to work for years as they lack family and other support. These are the women who don’t have the option of dropping their children off at a grandparent, which has become the norm, or paying for a nanny or babysitter, which nowadays can cost upwards of $800 a month. Surely in this time there are persons who offer child care services for less, and there’s always the option of daycare, which can be more affordable, but all of this still comes at a cost. It must also be considered that just as soon as a new mother sends a child off to daycare, they must be prepared that the child will get sick, as the common cold and other ailments seem more prevalent at schools and child care facilities than nearly anywhere else in the country, hence the aversion of most mothers!
If a conversation about the root causes of crime must be had, then it is necessary to ask, what has become of our core family values? Where are the men who are supposed to be the father figures in these situations, teaching children everything from responsibility, to discipline? If fathers being present or even the desire of fathers to be present is lacking, then how do we expect things to change? If something must be fingered as the root cause of crime, then let it be the breakdown of family values, and society’s acceptance and complicity in what has today become the norm.
With that said, women and men must seek continued education, and the government must advocate for these avenues, for real change to be seen in this arena. A more educated population where men and women are concerned will undoubtedly lead to people making more informed decisions. More education and skills can also lead to better jobs, which means less reliance on defiant behaviours and illegal activities to make a living. With that education, there must be a more holistic acceptance of morals and values from the preschool level and upwards, so that people do not depart from these ideals once they are older, which will result in them making better choices.
The onus is on all of us to fight the root causes of crime that affect us in one way or the other. It may not be our family today, or our friend tomorrow, but we do not know what next week, next month, or next year will bring!