Cases of single parenthood have been on the rise in recent times in Kenya and beyond. So much so that during the 59th Madaraka Day celebrations, President Kenyatta called for concerted efforts to save the Kenyan family as a way of saving the children. Concerned about what he called the evolving face of the Kenyan family, Kenyatta said the increase in single-parent homes is a threat to our traditional values and the family.

The following are 8 factors leading to the rise of single-parenthood in Kenya according to a recent discussion on social media:

High cost of living

One user lamented that sometimes partners tend to choose the easy way out, instead of talking to each other and looking for solutions to their financial problems when they get kids. Thus, they walk out and abdicate their responsibilities. Ideally, both parents should work and share financial responsibility to beat harsh economic times and to reduce the unforeseen pressure on one partner.

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Infidelity

Many marriages are breaking with the core factor being unfaithfulness . After discovering their partner is cheating, many will opt for divorce or separation rather than sticking together, thus leading to single-parent homes when children are already in the picture.

Gender empowerment imbalance

The current notion that the girl child has been heavily empowered while the boy child is neglected may also be another reason, according to yet another user. They opined that men have not been taught how to handle the contemporary outspoken, outgoing and likely career woman. Apparently, society has reached a point where the men are feeling out of place because nobody is mentoring them to be good husbands, protectors and providers. Such an imbalance in the society, so to speak, has led to broken homes and increased single-parenthood

Unplanned pregnancies

In some cases, partners are usually not ready to commit to each other after pregnancy,especially if it was unplanned. This is because the fact that their is a child never really predetermines whether the two are capable of being together in a marriage. Therefore, they choose to raise the baby albeit separately.

Retrogressive customs

Norms that do not support the existence of healthy unions such as patriarchy are detrimental to families. This is because it may lead to abuse in marriages thus leading to divorce and separation. Practices such as Female Genital Mutilation have been known to also break homes or even lead to instability in homes. In such cases, it is important for the victim to seek refuge even though it may lead to single-parenthood.  

The untold turmoil of being brought up by a single mother
“These are things that ate me up from inside and created an emptiness within me, worse than even financial struggle. In my adolescent years it became worse, and I remember starting to lie that my dad was dead just to avoid many questions.”

Lack of societal empowerment

The society is no longer preparing young people for marriage and parenthood as it was in the past. It has assumed the narrative that getting education and having money leads to finding a good partner and hence a good parent. According to one user, "No one is ready to teach our kids the importance of marriages and family, all we teach them is money and success."

Social Media

Availability of digital channels has provided a platform to easily disseminate information. Some of the information shared can be helpful while some can cause problems to families. For instance, social media can fule comparison which may cause problems for families. It can also be a source of harmful misinformation that can lead to families separating.

Lack of role models

A lack of the 'right' role models has so many people accepting the notion that marriages nowadays do not work and hence people leave their families after a challenge arises. In such cases, it is the children that suffer as they might not get the support of both parents.

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