Single parent homes: How are they affecting our youth?
The cause of behavioral and/or emotional problems among our youth could come from being raised in a single parent home. Many children resort to negative acts of behavior because of limited parental supervision within the single parent household. Children are two to three times more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems in single parent homes (Maginnis, 1997).
Research and etiology on the problem behaviors in childhood and adolescence often focus on the role of the family on the development of antisocial behavior. An important factor examined in past studies has been family structure, and this research has shown that youth from single parent families often have higher rates of problem behaviors including substance abuse, aggression, school dropout, and teenage pregnancy. Although the reasons for the higher rates of problem behavior among single parent families remain unclear, a number of factors are likely to contribute. For example, single parents often have limited financial resources, greater social isolation, and fewer coping resources compared with parents in traditional two parent families. Also, youth from single parent families appear to be more susceptible to peer pressure and more likely to make decisions without consulting a parent.
(Griffin, Botvin, Scheier, Diaz, & Miller, 2000, p. 174)
Single parent households can include families that have been disrupted because of marital separation, divorce, or because the child was conceived outside of marriage. The typical single parent household is guided by mother (Cairney, Pevalin, Wade, Veldhuizen, & Arboleda-Florez, 2006). A study was done by Cairney, Pevalin, Wade, Veldhuizen, and Arboleda-Florez (2006) to analyze psychiatric disorders among single and married mothers. In this study they found a higher percentage of single mothers developed a psychiatric disorder, which may include depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders or alcoholism (Cairney, Pevalin, Wade Veldhuizen, &Arboldeda-Florez, 2006). Being raised in a household such as this puts the child at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.
Depression plays a big role in a single mother household. The cause of depressive symptoms with single mothers could come from stress, negative thinking, or poor self esteem. A study was done to examine depressive symptoms in single mothers. They found that more than 75% of mothers showed at least some mild depression (Peden, 2004). Depressions in single parent homes not only have an impact on the mother but also have a huge impact on the children residing in the household. Peden (2004) says, "Poverty and chronic stress among low-income, single mothers place them at high risk for poor mental health, particularly for sub clinical depressive symptoms, which can also have a negative influence on their children". Depression in single mothers was linked to negative interactions with their children.
Mothers tend to have a low tolerance for negative behavior from their children and in turn little patience with their children. In this process, the bond may be broken between parent and child. Depression causes the mother to have a high expectation on the child to be extremely well behaved. A small negative behavior from the child may be seen as horrible to the mother and in turn cause the mother to be more negative with their children, resulting in more problem behavior from the child.
Children are also developing psychiatric disorders in single parent homes. "Scientists found that children with single parents were twice as likely as others to develop psychiatric illnesses like severe depression or schizophrenia, to commit suicide or try to , and to develop an alcohol-related illness" (The New York Times, 2003). Financial hardships were linked to children developing these behaviors. In single parent homes, the relationship between the parent and the child are greatly affected. A study done by...
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