The substantial increase in the number of single parents in Europe and the United States has compelled the governments and involved stakeholders to consider implementing new strategies to ensure improved upbringing of the children. Children face major setbacks psychologically, educationally, socially, and financially due to the lack of adequate support from their families. A small number of studies have been performed to investigate the effect of divorce and the death of a partner on the lives of the children. Research studies demonstrate that children raised by single parents are likely to have low academic achievements, limited financial support, reduced psychological development, increased aggressive behavior, and reduced well-being among others.
Low Academic Achievement
Children from single parents perform poorly in Kindergarten and elementary levels of educations. Research demonstrates that approximately 50% of children born today are raised by single parents (Abudu & Fuseini, 2013). In fact, this trend is likely to continue because of the increasing rate of divorce. Some of the disadvantages facing such children include low high school graduation rates, greater risk of drug abuse, and low GPAs. Children from single parent families perform poorly compared to those from both parents, especially in standardized tests and cognitive functioning. In fact, regardless of their race, children from single parent families exhibit poor performance in almost all spheres. Even after controlling for other factors, such socio-economic status and race, a study carried out in the United States indicated that children from single-parent families have low academic achievement in mathematics and reading tests.
Since 1960s, the number of single parents has been increasing steadily. For instance, only 9% of the parents in the 1960s lived alone. By 2010, the number of single parents had reached 28% of all parents in the United States. As a consequence, the welfare of the children has been affected greatly. Based on the fact children are raised by single mothers, who are mostly poor, they might be subjected to child poverty. Certainly, parents provide important contributions to their children, such as social capital, emotional support, encouragement, everyday assistance, and help with homework (Abudu & Fuseini, 2013). Notably, many children from single parent families may have suffered from disruptions due to divorce and domestic violence. Additionally, they are compelled to endure family transitions, as their parents move from one relationship to another. Therefore, they end up in problematic outcomes which include low level of academic achievement and school performance.
Due to the active involvement in economic activities, single parents do not spend quality time with their children. As a result, they have limited time to supervise and monitor the activities of their children on a daily basis. Additionally, such parents do not have time to communicate with their children concerning their needs and career aspirations. Some studies link the absence of the mother or father to behavioral problems, which include drug abuse and aggressive behavior. Therefore, the overall effect is the reduced psychological development of the child. Children from single parent families engage in risky sexual behavior, delinquency, smoking, and violence. In most cases, the lack of positive psychological development can be attributed to the fact that mothers and fathers are absent. For effective socialization of the children, it is pivotal for both parents to be present (Amato, Patterson & Beattie, 2015). In single families, the children face deprivation and denial of basic rights due to the low income of the parents. Current researchers argue that the unavailability of the parents leads inadequate psychological support. Thus, they increase the chances for the child to develop personality disorders which may affect the child later in life. Parents have the obligation to meet the specific needs of their children until the time when they can live without adult supervision. Parenting requires the care provider to possess interpersonal skills. Research indicates that many parents learn parenting skills from their own parents. In fact, most parents do not intend to expose their children to circumstances that can make their lives difficult. Therefore, they envisage the kind of people they would like their children to become in the future. For instance, parents can model the kind of behavior or attitudes that they would like their children to attain. For example, if they want their children to achieve self-actualization, they should be able to attain that level themselves. However, the death, separation, or divorce may leave such roles in the care of a single parent. Due to the lack of time to model such behavior and attitudes, a single parent cannot offer the required support for the child to attain self-actualization. Therefore, single parents should be able to sacrifice a considerable amount of time to interact with their children to enhance their psychological development and well-being.
Parenting styles and behavior have a direct effect on the children and adolescents outcomes. Parenting styles include permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian. Studies suggest that parents who exhibit authoritative parenting styles cause positive effects on their children. Conversely, permissive parents may cause negative effects on their children. Noteworthy, many single parents employ a permissive style of parenting, thus, allowing the children to experiment with various things, such as drugs. Typically, single parents are uninvolved; therefore, they fail to supervise and monitor the behavior of their children (Amato, Patterson & Beattie, 2015). According to a research performed by Hoskins (2014), the authors noted that such teenagers may engage in activities which include petty theft, vandalism, and rape. Also, the researchers established that unsupervised kids drank alcohol and smoke close to three times higher than those from authoritative families with both parents.
In a study carried out by Bogenschneider et al. (2000), students from single families obtain only a few years of study, and drop out of school at a higher rate than those from traditional families. Bogenschneider et al. (2000) adds that such children are likely to be poor six times more than those from traditional homes. Also, children are compelled to receive welfare benefits because of the increased poverty level. As a consequence, they have low level of social, health, and economic status. With regards to childbearing and family formation, the children from single families are three times more likely to bear children during teenage. Furthermore, the children have problems engaging in intimacy relationships with long-term commitments which reduce their ability to pursue stable marriages (Bogenschneider et al., 2000) What is more, the children have low level of psychological adjustment because of the lack of parental support. In fact, such children receive therapy more often than those from established homes. Even for young adults aged 18-22 years, they are also likely to demonstrate increased emotional distress due to family disruptions.
The offspring from single mother families are exposed to drugs and drugs earlier in life than the ones being raised by both families. In most families involving a single parent, the children express a feeling that their mother cares more about them than the father. In the event of a divorce, the greatest predictor of coping is the ability of the child to maintain a positive relationship with both parents. However, current research indicates that many children tend to lose frequent interactions with both parents, especially after a divorce. In fact, only 57% of children manage to interact with their mothers effectively after a divorce. In families involving both parents, the 69% of the children have close relationship with their mothers while 66% relate closely with the fathers (Mabuza, Thwala & Okeke, 2014). The relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent (father) is greatly disrupted following a separation or divorce. The amount of time that the child spends with the child reduces greatly. At the same time, the role of the father changes following the separation. For instance, the non-resident parent is compelled to engage in leisure roles, as he can rarely help in completing homework and assignment. Moreover, the parent does not have control over the childs behavior because of the low-level of engagement.
These effects cause a widespread overall impact on the general well-being of the children. For instance, the doubling of the health risk of children from single families is a major issue that is of great concern. One would argue that the family structures of the United States continue to shape the economic and social aspects of the society. For instance, it is possible to attribute the increasing high school and college drop-out rates to the nature of upbringing. Currently, if the current marital instabilities declined, the level of high-school drop-out rate would decrease from12.5% to 10%.
Economic hardship (poverty) is the main pervasive issue that causes developmental problems among the children. Single parents express the worry that their income is not sufficient to provide the required services and products to the kids. The income of a single mother is likely to be only 67% of her total income before divorce. As for the men, the income is 90% of the pre-divorce value. The reduced income level is one of the greatest contributors of low educational attainment and psychological problems. Mother-only families may suffer greatly because of the lack of state support, limited mothers earning capacity, and lack of sufficient child support by the non-resident father. Although some non-resident may offer the required financial support, they do not take into account the amount of time required to make purchase decisions. Additionally, some non-resident parents do not provide child care support at all.
As a social issue, children from single parent families face stigmatization by their peers. Some of them feel frustrated by the fact that the parents cannot provide sufficient care and support. Therefore, the children decide to engage in activities that can improve their social and financial well-being. The pressure to provide for their families and siblings may cause them to drop out of college to meet the current and urgent needs. Therefore, children from single parent families wish that both of their parents were present. The absence of either of the parents is a major setback in their academic achievement, emotional well-being, and financial success. Some children feel that their parents, especially the mother do not work hard enough to satisfy their needs. This feeling may occur because the children may fail to understand the kind of pressure that the single parent undergoes.
In conclusion, single parenthood is associated with many problems ranging from psychological, educational, emotional, economic, and social aspects of the children. For instance, Children from single parent families perform poorly compared to those from both parents, especially in standardized tests and cognitive functioning. Additionally, many children from single parent families may have suffered from disruptions due to divorce and domestic violence; thus, they are compelled to endure family transitions, as their parents move from one relationship to another. . Due to the lack of time to model such behavior and attitudes, a single parent cannot offer the required support for the child to attain self-actualization. Research links the absence of the mother o...
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