Being from the Caribbean, I can speak to the reality of the family there. I grew up in a nuclear family with two parents. However, my family dynamic changed when I was a teenager, and my mother became the head of the household.
This is commonplace in Jamaica, seemingly the norm, but it shouldn’t be.
Almost immediately our lifestyle changed. We moved from a multiroom house, where our extended family lived and had our amenities to renting a shared house.
Single-family homes are at a great disadvantage culturally, socio-economically, socially, financially, and psychologically as well as scholastically. That’s a lot of disadvantages down our ‘ally’ and it is a real handicap that many people do not overcome.
Regardless, we must fight harder to dig ourselves out of this progressing pit of poverty. Many are not so lucky to achieve that in their lifetime or their children’s lifetime.
Consequently, Jamaica is plagued with elevated levels of crime and violence, unemployment, incest, and discrimination. This essentially adds limitations to the mother’s ability to provide for her children. As such, single-parent families usually have high rates of absenteeism and dropouts, because children need to earn a living to help support the family.
The eldest child is usually expected to make this great sacrifice so that the younger children can eat and at least complete primary school. A responsibility that should be shouldered by the absent father.
Growing up in a single-family home robs a person of the fulsome benefits that a two-parent household can provide. This is discussed more in-depth in the book The Caribbean Family.
The absence of the father means added stress and demands on a mother. It means potential disadvantages in future relationships for a young girl. It means not having an example of how to be a husband and a father, for a young boy. That is the main reason, why there is a proliferation of single-family units in the Caribbean. Because the example that is left, for boys, is that of an absent father; never seeing a man, in the home supporting his spouse. It leaves an indelible mark on the conscious, and subconscious minds of young children.
For more information on The Caribbean Family, get a copy of the book, which is available at online book retailers.
Check out her book The Caribbean Family
The family is the genesis of all societies. Every culture has its distinct rules by which a family is governed, and the Caribbean family is no exception. Those rules differ within each group; for the Indians, Chinese, and Africans. Making up most of the population in the Caribbean, African families have spawned several sub-units or types; some of which are unique to the African culture. This book explores each family type and their history within the Caribbean.
Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com