The Effect of Single Parent Families to Children
CHAPTER 1 THE PROBLEM BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY A family is often pictured by many with two parents. But for some their family composes of only one. Doug Hewitt (2010), an eHow Contributor said that Single-parents families are defined as households in which there is at least one child under the age of 18 and there is only one parent in the household because of divorce, death or because the parent never married. Moreover, Cox (1984) emphasized that the largest percentage of single-parent families result from divorce followed by death of a parent.
According to Medina (2005) there are different types of a single-parent family. First is the widow or widower and children which is caused by a death of spouse where the surviving spouse did not remarry. Another is the Single man/woman and adopted children. Third in the list is the separated parent and his/her children. This is caused due to various reasons like divorce, separation or annulment of marriage. Next is when a married man has a second family. This is called the mistress and her children by a married man family.
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Over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren (American Psychological Association, 2012). According to Calhoun (1994) there are more single mothers that single fathers. Almost 1 in 2 single mother families is below the poverty line, compared with 1 in 10 two parent families. This is because women earn less than men on average.
In an article made by Ketteringham (2007), a Yahoo contributor, the percentage of children who live with two parents has been declining among all racial and ethnic groups throughout the years. There are many statistics out there regarding this fast growing family phenomenon. In the United States, 22 million children go home to one parent, and 83 percent of those parents are moms. A single-mother home is much more common than a single-father home, however the amount of single fathers has grown by 60% in the last ten years alone. It has been found that of all custodial parents, 85% were mothers and 15% were fathers.
Also, half of all children involved in one-parent households headed by the mother do not see their fathers on a regular basis two years after the breakup of the family. Of children living with one parent: 38% lived with a divorced parent; 35% with a never-married parent; 19% with a separated parent; 4% with a widowed parent; and 4% with a parent whose spouse lived elsewhere because of business or some other reason. It has been found through varied research that children in single-parent homes generally fare worse than those homes with two parents.
Statistically, in the United States, family structure does contribute to certain characteristics of a child’s well being. For example, there is a prevalence of lower birthrates and higher death rates among infants when there is just one parent. Also, the number of children ages 15-17 in school and in good health is much lower in this group of children, and the number of children becoming pregnant at these ages is increasing. There are also signs that children who have gone through a divorce may have problems with depression, emotional stress, and difficulties in school.
It has been found that adolescents from single-parent families were found to be three times more likely to be depressed than those living with two parents. When it comes to the Emotional problems of children who belong to single parent families the Howard University’s Hilltop Online(2010) states those children in single parent homes are more likely to suffer from mental and emotional problems. Hailey Parker, a Howard University Hospital doctor and psychiatrist, says one of the contributing factors might be that single parents spend less time with their children than married parents.
This is due to stresses of work and rearing a child. Single-handed children may, therefore, feel neglected and turn to illegal activity including becoming drug addicts, in the absence of both parents. Divorced families present a greater risk for children with depression or other serious psychiatric disorders to develop. Spencer (1982) said in his book entitled Foundations of Modern Technology that children are more likely to die of coronary heart disease in later years if they had lost one or both parents before entering college.
According to Traci S Campbell (2010) education of children can also be affected she said that children that are raised in a single parent household have lower grades than those who are raised in a home with both parents. This can be in a home where the child has always been raised by one parent or in homes where a divorce or separation has recently taken place. Studies also show children raised in a single parent household are less likely to go to college or take steps to continue their education. There are also a higher percentage of drop outs that were raised in a single family home.
Time spent with a single parent during the formative preschool years seems to have particularly bad effects on a boy’s education, according to Sheila Fitzgerald Krein and Andrea H. Beller of the school of human resources and family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana. The report in Demography, the journal of the Population Association of America, said that many studies have focused on the psychological consequences for children in one-parent families, but few have looked at long-term economic factors.
The two Illinois researchers said they studied effects on education because it ”has been shown to be a predictor of welfare recipiency and persistent poverty” and because ”lack of education is one determinant of chronic unemployment. ” They used two long-term surveys to study two generations of mothers and their offspring, totaling 2,500 boys and girls. ”In general, the longer time spent in a single-parent family, the greater the reduction in educational attainment,” they said. Depression is also one effect of single parent families to children.
There are studies that state children who are raised in a single parent household may be more prone to depression. There are times where a single parent household may be more stressful than a home with two active parents. This can cause a negative effect on their ability to concentrate and find enjoyment in things and activities they once liked. Unfortunately, this study does ring true in most cases. In a poll we conducted in 2008, most of those we talked to did recall a period of personal depression over not having their mom or dad at home. Some cited a brief depression period.
Others succumbed to a depression that adversely affected their lives over a long period of time. Either way, the mental health of children in single parent homes should never be taken lightly. The effects can be far reaching, Traci S Campbell (2010). But despite these negative effects of living with a single parent family, there are always positive effects. Kunz (2010), a contributor at Livestrong. com said that children in single-parent families may exhibit strong responsibility skills, as they are often called upon to help out more with family chores and tasks.
Children in single-parent families often form close bonds with their parent, as they are closely dependent on each other throughout the child’s life. Children from single-parent families may also form closer bonds with extended family members or family friends, as these people often help raise them. Jennifer Wolf, an About. com Guide, also stated different positive effects of single parent families. She said that spending quality one-on-one time with your kids allows you to develop a unique bond that may actually be stronger than it would have been if you were not a single parent.
Certainly this is true for many custodial parents, but it’s also true for a number of non-custodial parents who have the opportunity to play a unique role in their kids’ lives. She also said that children raised in single parent families are often raised by a village of supporters. In many cases, members of the extended family will step up and play a significant role in the children’s lives. Those single parents who don’t live near family may choose to participate in community groups – including single parent support groups, churches, and synagogues – which champion the entire family.
Another positive effect of being in a sing parent family is that children know that they are the main priority in their parents’ lives, yet they are not treated as though they are the center of everyone’s universe. This healthy approach helps to prepare children for the “real world. ” The Yahoo contributor Ketteringham (2007) shared some advice for single parents. She said that with this special situation there are some things that single mothers and fathers can do to better their circumstances. These parents need to establish strong support networks, personal friendships, and new social networks.
If needed, they should work on improving their self-esteem as well. The single parent’s sense of self-respect and fulfillment can provide an excellent anchor for children. Many single parents learn to live on reduced incomes, find acceptable ways to deal with a non-custodial parent, and redefine their relationships with their children. Having clearly-defined roles within the household also helps to compensate for some of the challenges that single-parent families face. Single parents should provide structure for their children with regular meals, chores, school work, entertainment and bed-time.
Routines help children to feel more secure and less anxious. It is also important that single mothers and fathers not rely on their children to fill adult roles. Communication, understanding, and cooperation are encouraged. Regular, positive family meetings are a great way to support such things. Single parenting is challenging but with some effort it can definitely work. Elayne0725, a blogger at blogspot. com said on her website that the cause of single parenting on a kid can differ depending on the situation that they are in.
A single parent who can spend more time with their children and have more financial income may have a positive single parenting effect on the child in regards to parent who is unable to provide either. Single parenting can have many different causes on a child but what affects one family may not necessary affect the other. In today’s generation, people are more liberated. And because of that, a lot of things are going on today that was never heard of before. Say for example, the concept of being a single parent. Single parents are scattered all over the world, so we can’t say that it is because of culture or economic status.
Rich or poor, a lot of single parents are out there. So is being a single parent bad? Some would say that they would prefer to be a single parent. Some would say that having a mom and a dad is still proper for a child. Some experts have pointed out some bad traits on children with single parents. They say that having a single parent has certain effects on a child. Of course, some effects are good but some are also bad. Since a lot of single parents are dealing with their children by themselves, it is important that you notice and discuss some good and bad effects of solo parenting.
Let us start on the good effects of being a single parent. As an effect of being a single parent, you will be very close to your child or children. You will be the only one they will look up to and you will have their undivided unconditional love. You will also be the only authority they will look up to. You will be able to have all of their respect and love, making it easy for you to make rules and also for them to follow. In your family, there will be no pairing up or partnership between members. Your family will be very close and the single parent will be in full control.
Close family ties the greatest effect a single parent can have on a child. The child and single parent will have a very good, if not best, and a very open relationship. They will have a good communication line and no secrets will be kept from each other. They will share everything with each other that will lead to a harmonious relationship between parent and child. So if you look at it, being a single parent will be great considering the fact that how good your relationship would be as parent and child. But being a single parent also has its flaws.
The difference may have some not so good effects on your child. Of course, a normal family consists of a mother, a father and the children. In the case of a single parent, a mother or a father is missing. Because of that, it is no longer normal. And as you know, the society looks down on anything that is not normal. The child might start feeling that he or she is different. And that may have some unwanted psychological effects on the child. One example that might bring the child’s feeling down is when his or her peers start teasing him or her for having only one parent.
He or she might start thinking that having one parent is bad and the child points out the blame to his or her parent. The child will have a gap with the parent that will be very hard to fill up. Another problem that may arise as an effect of being a single parent on a child is his or her lack of either a father figure or a mother to care for him or her. The child might seek for someone that has never been there and it might be a cause for the child to be hard-headed. The child might also get jealous seeing other kids with complete parents. The child may become disturbed because of that.
The child might be looking for complete parents in some special occasions that usually require two parents like father’s day or mother’s day. As a single parent, you have to answer all the financial needs of your family. So that means you have to work for you to feed them. You can’t really spend much time with your children so that you can have a good life. You will really have a hard time teaching them values because you are not always at home. It should always be key to remember that it is not about being a single parent. It is the way in which you bring up your children and the time you spend with them.
And also being how efficient you are as a parent, single or not. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK This section presented the concepts which served as legal basis to describe properly the process of the study. In the different researches of Spencer (1982), Calhoun (1994), Kunz (2010) and Howard University’s Hilltop Online (2010) they presented the different effects of belonging in single-parent families. Parenting is a tough job, but single parenting is an even tougher challenge, as one parent tries to fulfill the roles of both a mother and a father to their child.
Single parenting is highly demanding physically, emotionally and financially Ezzeldine (2011). This may be the main reason why children belonging in single-parent families experience different kinds of stress in their life problems regarding their academic performance, emotional and physical health, social Involvement and on their psychological aspect. There are many more ways on how children may be affected. Single-parenting styles were elaborated by Ezzeldine (2011) on the website suhaibwebb. com. Discipline
Sometimes single parents may feel guilty or overwhelmed by their parenting duties, so they resort to weak enforcement or bending of “rules” in order to make their child happy and reduce potential conflict. Some parents may compensate for the absence of the other parent by being permissive in their parenting style. Single parents must be careful to not allow children to dismiss rules set by the parent or to become their “friends. ” Setting boundaries for children creates much needed structure in all households (single and dual) because children want to know that their parent has rules and has set limits and expectations.
Boundaries also create a sense of safety for a child because the roles of the parent and child have been clearly established. Parental limits teach the child to respect the parent and solidify their role in the family. Consistency Children dealing with a divorce or a death will crave stability as they adjust to their new life with one parent. Establishing routines, schedules and traditions are important for children when adjusting to a new family dynamic. A child wants to know what to expect and look forward to on a daily basis.
Consistency in everyday routines gives the child(ren) a feeling of security and stability. Focusing on creating morning routines, weekly schedules and dinners together are small ways that single parents can create constancy for their child. Availability by the parent in terms of attention and physical presence will assure the child(ren) a sense of belonging. Also, creating new traditions and memories during holidays and special occasions reaffirms the new family identity. Emotional Support Single parents and their children may struggle with various feelings and emotions surrounding their new family structure.
The parent and child may struggle with changes and upheavals in their life, and may share with one another the challenges of the new family structure. Parents need to listen and truly hear their child(ren) when they share their thoughts and feelings. Parents must not make disparaging comments about the other parent as a means to gain the sympathy of the child(ren). Despite common stress, parents must not turn to their child for emotional support nor burden them with the personal struggles they encounter. Parents must turn to their social circles and confide in other adults and friends only.
Confiding worries or complaining to a child is inappropriate, regardless of the level of maturity of the child. It is extremely detrimental to children to absorb the thoughts and feelings of their parents. Children need to remain children and should not become a “friend” or “therapist” to the parent. Parents who feel stressed, depressed, anxious or lonely should seek professional guidance or support from other adults as they adjust to single parenthood. It takes a Village Single parents will need help and support with the endless tasks and responsibilities of raising the child(ren).
This requires being comfortable asking for help from family and friends. Seeking support with childcare, such as carpooling, help in case of emergencies, or schedule conflicts at work, will benefit single parents when they are stretched in multiple directions. Creating a teamwork environment at home where the child(ren) have chores and responsibilities is also important so that the child(ren) understand their role in the family and feel like capable contributors. Knowing the different parenting styles would lead to a child not suffering from emotional and other problems in his life.
Without proper understanding and implementation on this parenting styles would have a great effect on the life of the child. Output Process Input Figure 1 shows the research paradigm that would serve as a guide in order to understand well the study. * Parenting Styles being performed by single parents to their children. * Evaluation of the performed parenting styles of parents to children. * Knowledge on the possible effect of belonging in single parent-families on the well being of a child. Figure 1: Paradigm of the Study The Input included in this study was the parenting styles performed by parent.
In the process of the study the children would evaluate the parenting styles of the parent. The expected output would be the knowledge of the effects of belonging in single-parent families both positively and negatively on the well being of children. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM In this time many children belong to a single-parent family. Children who belong to this type of family may experience different things. It may affect them positively or negatively. This study is intendeds to find out: * The effects of belonging in a single-parent family on the emotional and other aspects of children.
These include their: * Academic achievement * Emotional health * Physical health * Social Involvement * Psychological aspect * Ways for children to cope up with this kind of situation. However, opinions of students even those who do not belong to this kind of family are important. It may show the views of student toward belonging in a single-parent family. Specifically, it sought to answer the following questions: 1. What are the following problems you encounter in belonging to a single-parent family? 2. What do you think are the possible causes of the problems you encounter?