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Single Parent

By eggsgreen Feb 13, 2011 5358 Words
Capella University
CST5318 – Scope of Human Services
Guardian-child interactions of single and dual guardian households and the opportunities presented to the children of those households.

Connie Fickenscher
Ke’Andre A. Magee

Summer 2010

Table of Contents

II.Single Guardian versus Dual Guardian
III.Review of the research
IV.Ways of improving opportunities on both on both sides

Guardian-child interactions of single and dual guardian households and the opportunities presented to the children of those households. Abstract
This research investigated the association between guardian-child interactions of single and dual guardian households and the opportunities presented to the children of those households. The purpose of this study is to add to the research that has been done while looking at interactions and opportunities available to children. The research provides a descriptive analysis of survey data based on information from single and dual guardian households. Participants were selected randomly from different ethnic groups to ensure the study would not exclude anyone during the process. I.Introduction

The purpose of this research is to find out if guardian-child interactions affect the opportunities of that child. Moreover, this study will also research whether there is a difference in difficulty raising a child between fathers, mother, grandparents, and other guardians. Furthermore, this research is to add to the current debate about family structure on youth outcomes by exploring the relationship between guardian-child interactions. Finally, there has been a lot speculation that has been done about single-guardian households with no concrete evidence to back it. This research will study a few of those speculations. The rationale behind the study is fairly simple. A single-guardian household has always been a problem in this country for several years. The single-guardian household is not limited to just mothers and fathers but as mentioned before there are grandparents, uncles and aunts, and other kin that may raise a child. The researcher has always had an invested interest is finding out the differences between single-guardian households as oppose to dual-guardian households. Moreover, he was raised in a single-guardian household and has turned out extremely well. The researcher also believes that there are some fundamental differences between the two but does not feel that it makes a big difference on the success and opportunities presented to the single-guardian child. Finally, the researcher feels that there are several people who would benefit from the results and findings in this research.

II. Single Guardian versus Dual Guardian
a.Compare and Contrast single guardian and dual guardian homes. In both single guardian and dual guardian homes there are some values and morals that overlap and there are some values and morals that are exclusive from each other. The epidemic of single guardian homes is continuing to rise for a variety of reasons and the roles in dual guardian homes has been changing. There has always been a debate around single guardian versus dual guardian homes and which is better for a child. Each situation is different, every single guardian home does not have five children and every dual guardian just has one child. Obviously if the learner knew exactly how many kids were in each of these households that would make a difference and maybe someday the learner will decide to get more detailed in the research. So in order to stick to the parameters of the assignment I will speak in general terms of the two households presuming that each home has equal amount of children.

In both of these homes there are certain values that will stay the course no matter who’s in the home. Parents of both homes will always preach hard work, respect, education, staying out of trouble, etc… so the foundation that is built comes from the same place. The strength of the foundation often depends on who the message is coming from and how the message is given. Most children of these two environments will feel the support and love from their parent(s) and will have an understanding of how a family is operated. Even in a single guardian home a child can learn and better understand the importance raising their children in a dual guardian home. Children raised in a dual guardian can understand and value their situation by examining how difficult their life could be without another guardian present. Although being a single parent can be an immense responsibility, having a loving parent around makes a child’s life promising. In many homes there comes hardships, and with these problems there are several sacrifices that have to be made. Typically, in a single-parent home one will find that there is not enough money to provide for and meet every need and want in the household. Due to these difficulties, the relationship with the parents may be stressful as well. As a result of life’s day-to-day hassle, instead of a single parent home a two-parent home is more beneficial to both the child and parents. To begin with, many people believe that single-parent homes are more difficult than two-parent homes. In a two-parent home the income is better, and the parents can provide more for the household. The family relationship is better due to not having a load of financial struggle. The two-parent home is more family orientated. It does not have to deal with the drama that comes with the split relationship between the parents, whereas, on the other hand single parent home does. In some single parent homes, the people affected go lacking. More specifically, single parents do not always have the means to meet the needs of their children. Just like the famous quote, “Two heads are better than one,” two-parent homes are preferably more suitable than single-parent homes. From time to time, in single-parent homes, the income of the household is usually not very much. The parent usually just has one job to provide for the children. For this reason the family struggles to survive. People in the family will not be able to buy any unnecessary accessories that they would like to have. The money will be spent on things that the household needs instead of the things the household desires to have. Food can be scarce within the household. Therefore the single-parent usually has to get a second job for more income for the household just to survive. Overall, both single guardian homes and dual guardian homes have several similarities and differences. The real differences are decided by the characteristics and personalities of the guardian(s) in the home. Those qualities that make someone a great guardian cannot be classified by someone being rich or poor it has everything to do with the intangibles someone can offer to their offspring. b.Describe the issues children of both households are challenged with. There are many issues that children are faced with just by being a child. Some of these issues range from school to obesity. The difference in which issues a child is faced with often depends on how that child was raised. A child that is raised in a single guardian home will face different challenges than a child raised in a dual guardian home. In a single guardian the obvious problem is that it’s a single guardian home. The problems of both behavioral and emotional problems from our youth could be caused by being raised in this environment often times the parent has to work leaving the child to fend for themselves when it comes to food or even help with their homework. Since youth are not fully developed cognitively it is easy for unsupervised youth to develop emotional and behavioral problems. For example, single parents often have limited financial resources, greater social isolation, and fewer coping resources compared with parents in traditional two parent families. There’s a saying that “idle time is the devil playground”. Youth with no clear leadership they are most likely to fall in to this trap. According to Laursen (2005) 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. Youth of single guardian homes are likely to become influenced by television and peers. When a child has no one to help them differentiate between right and wrong when it comes to their decision making for them right and wrong may have a grey area. These decisions may lead to substance abuse, school dropout, teenage pregnancy and unwarranted aggression towards other people. Economics is the major issue that most youth of single guardian homes face that youth of dual guardian homes don’t. As I mentioned earlier typically there is not enough money to meet every need and want a child has therefore the residual effects of being below the poverty line may have an effect on a child’s self esteem because they don’t have the material items they see other people with. On the surface many people will say a child raised in a dual guardian has it all and there shouldn’t be any issues that a child from this home is faced with that they should not be able to deal with. This view of dual guardian is radical view. Youth raised in dual guardian homes are deal with many of the challenges that youth of single guardian homes deal with along with some that are exclusive to dual guardian homes. An essential part of a youth’s development is becoming independent and learning how to problem solve without the guidance of your guardians. Often time children of dual guardian think too much of what their guardians would think if they made a decision one way or the other. This way of thinking can lead to someone becoming indecisive therefore developing a sense of uncertainty and lack of confidence in their life. When a child constantly has two people micromanaging them at all times they seem to never find time to become their own individual. They always seem to be living to make their guardians happy first then themselves second as oppose to the opposite way around. Another issue that a child of this home could face is similar to an issue of a single guardian home is lack of leadership and supervision. Both guardians in the home could have full-time jobs therefore not have any quality time to spend with their children other than the occasional bowl of cereal in the morning. In a sense this could be worse because the child could often think that they have two guardians and neither one of them can give them any attention. One major issue that a child of a dual guardian home and in this case would make living in a single guardian home better is domestic violence. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear. They are often unable to establish nurturing bonds with either parent Children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home. Children may exhibit a wide range of reactions to exposure to violence in their home. Younger children (preschool and kindergarten) oftentimes, do not understand the meaning of the abuse they observe and tend to believe that they "must have done something wrong." The pre-adolescent child typically has greater ability to externalize negative emotions (verbalize). In addition to symptoms commonly seen with childhood anxiety (e.g., sleep problems, eating disturbance, nightmares), victims within this age group may show a loss of interest in social activities, low self-concept, withdrawal or avoidance of peer relations, rebelliousness and oppositional-defiant behavior in the school setting. Adolescents are at risk of academic failure, school drop-out, delinquency, and substance abuse. Some investigators have suggested that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between delinquent and non delinquent youth (SASS, 1996). An estimated 1/5 to 1/3 of all teenagers who are involved in dating relationships are regularly abusing or being abused by their partners verbally, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and/or physically (SASS, 1996). Between 30% and 50% of dating relationships can exhibit the same cycle of escalating violence as marital relationships (SASS, 1996). c.Examine the social effects on children of both households. Each person is raised differently for a variety of reasons. People have different cultures, people are of different ethnic background and people grow up in different households. All of these circumstances affect how someone is socially. Being socially active in a critical part of a child’s development it gives children a chance to develop a sense of identity. Becoming involved in activities helps children find out certain personality traits (introvert or extravert) or decide what types of people they get along with better. Children of single guardian homes may find it more difficult to become social because they usually are at home by themselves and can’t really take advantage of playing outside, joining a youth athletic team, or even going to the boys and girls club. Typically, these social endeavors require adult supervision or permission. Living in a single guardian home the guardian is usually working or too tired to do anything with the child, therefore hindering the social development of a child. Nevertheless, the positive affect could be that the child develops in to a responsible person showing early signs of maturity that allow them to build and gain trust from their guardian. Which often times put the child in a position of leadership that allows them to become more social. Children of dual guardian homes may have an easier time socially. When you have two guardians in the household there is always someone there to take their child to sports games, movies, getting them involved in extracurricular activities. A child in this home has an easier time making friends because of all the events they’ve been to. As well as their guardians having friends that has children their making it easier to have a better social life. Having two guardians involved in a child’s assist the child in becoming a socialite. Nevertheless, there’s always a flip side to every situation. Someone who is an open book socially sometimes can be naive to how cruel people can be. This often times can get someone’s feelings hurt because they trust people very easily. Being open socially can also lead to someone being manipulated and used by people because they are so easy to get along with, people generally take their kindness for weakness.

III. Literature Review
The number of single-parent households has been rising with each decade that has passed. Several researchers have conducted studies on single parented households which give information supporting the claim that single-parents and single-guardian children have a harder time becoming a functional member of society. Researcher has found that the structure of the family over the past 40 years has been one of the fundamental changes in American society (Antecol, 2005). While family stress and instability of dual-parent households suggest that teens that may have problems have began at a disadvantage because they are in unstable situations as toddlers and adolescents. One area that Antecol studied at was the importance of family structure and how structure may determine child or youth outcomes. Antecol (2005) research generally found that children raised in single parent homes perform more poorly in school and are more likely to become sexually active, commit illegal acts, and use illegal drugs at young ages (p.57). Researchers say that lower supervision and/or parental interaction in a single-parent home may mean that early disruption is in fact more detrimental (Antecol, 2005 p.56). Along with Antecol, Gennetian (2005) reported that children that do not spend their entire lives with both biological parents in a single home are at a disadvantage. Studies have shown that family dissolution during the preschool years has a far more negative effect on educational attainment than family dissolution during the elementary or high school years. Furthermore, youths whose fathers left the households are more likely to have lower educational attainment and are more likely to be economically inactive and smoke cigarettes (Antecol, 2005 p.62). This is significant to the current research because most single guardian households are of that of women. Therefore, studying the impact of absence fathers is important. This study also showed that there is no evidence that the timing of family breakdown explains the subsequent family formation decisions of the affected children. In contrast, researchers have found minimal evidence that teens that spend more time in single-parent households have worse educational outcomes than youths from dual-parent households (Antecol, 2005 p. 56). Researchers have also found that there is no evidence that timing of family breakdown explains the subsequent family formation decisions of the affected child (Antecol, 2005). This statement is relative to the study because it disproves that not all single-guardian household children end up in bad situations or making immoral decisions. This in no way means that childhood family structure has no impact on marital decisions made later on in life. It is only exposure to bad marriages that may build negative instability in a child. In contrast with Antecol (2004), Weitoft (2005) study shows that parental divorce and separation have been found to have a negative effect on children and adolescence. This relative to the current study because the researcher has to examine the negative effects divorce and separation has had and if there’s any correlation of having less opportunities and interactions. Previous studied have shown fairly consistently that there are educational disadvantages for children from separated families as oppose to kids with two-parent households. The parental-absence perspective emphasizes that the loss of a parent implies a reduction in household resources in a variety of areas. First, the amount of time devoted to a child in a lone-parent household may well be reduced, since one parent is missing. Second, a custodial household may face downward social mobility (Weitoft, 2004 p.134). In Weitoft’s (2004) the research they focused on was the impact of long-term exposure to living in a single-guardian household rather than focus on the immediate impact following a divorce. The children they studied lived within a single parent household or dual parent household for at least five years. Family dissolution also effects the child’s financial situation. The consequences of dissolution vary because every situation is different because of job opportunity. Family dissolution also showed that children who suffered from dissolution had shown much lower educational attainment by the age of 16 as opposed to children with intact families. In 1998 the number of one-parent households in the United States with children under 18 was 27% of white families, 62% of black families and 36% of Hispanic families (Ricciuti, 2004). This information is pertinent to the current research because knowing the statistics of single-guardian households in those ethnic groups will assist in the data collection process. The majority of single parents are women and research has found that they usually tend to be poorer, less educated, younger and more likely to experience discrimination as related to two-parent families (Ricciuti, 2004 p.196). The current study will not only consist of less fortunate families but as well as more fortunate families. People always assume that only poor families have single parented homes. In order for my research to have validity and reliability my sample size will need to reflect the ethnic ratios in either the state or the country in order for me to generalize. In Ricciuti’s (2004) research he studies single parented homes in black, white and Hispanic cultures. Ricciuti (2004) focused on children of single women from these groups. The majority of single-guardian homes are of women. In each ethnic group there are essentially no relationships found between single-guardian homes and children’s test scores. Moreover, no consistent interactions were found so that the effect of single parenthood did not vary with levels of maternal education, ability or employment, family poverty status or child gender (Ricciuti, 2004). In Ricciuti’s (2004) follow up researched he looked at children ages 12 to 13 to show whether they continued to show no adverse effects of single parenthood or would such effects become more apparent at a later age. Ricciuti (2004) used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth to determine whether the school readiness and achievement of 6 and 7 year olds from the three ethnic groups. The research proved there was no relationship between single guardian family structure and children’s test scores. Single parented homes are more common in black homes than in any other ethnic group. The single parent in the black household is typically the mother at 50 percent as oppose to single fathers at 5 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Nichols-Casebolt (2001) research found that 60 percent of all black families were headed by single women as compared to 20 percent of white families headed by a single female (p.306). However, both white and black families have experienced a growth in the numbers of single-parent families. According to the research both groups experienced more than a 100 percent increase in single mothers from 1970 to 1984. In black families one of the main causes of single parented homes was births to never married single women. This is relevant to the study because the researcher has to decipher the differences of divorced single-parents and out of wedlock single-parents. By 1984, more than 50 percent of all black single mother families were created as a result of an out-of-wedlock birth, compared to 15 percent for white families (Nichols-Casebolt, 2001). Moreover, although the numbers of births to unmarried women were higher among the black community, the increase from 1970 to 1984 was significantly higher for white women (Nichols-Casebolt, 2001). Other research has pointed out that children of single parented women are at a disadvantage. This may be because the women themselves are at a disadvantage. This study shows that from 1970 to 1984 there was an increase of single mother income but the effects of inflation showed that both black and white single mother families gained little during this period. But the median income for white women was substantially higher than the median income for single parented black women. In addition, black mothers have made significant gains in educational attainment since 1970 34 percent of black single mothers have had less than a high school education since 1984 (Nichols-Casebolt, 2001). Furthermore, the continued growth of single mother families most often has been attributed to increases in welfare benefits and erosion of traditional family values (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Sharyn M. Crossman and Gerald R. Adams (1980) researched the impact of divorce and single parenting effects on child development. This study is important because it shows how children are affected by the circumstances by which their parents create. In comparison with children of dual-guardian households single-guardian children are likely to experience disorganization in their daily lives. Children and their lives become more difficult. Some kids may lose their childhood because they are forced to grow up when they are left alone at home when their parent goes to work. Household roles, routine tasks and schedules are more likely to be less organized and irregular in their occurrence. Moreover, the quality of interaction between parent and their child seems to change (Crossman and Adams, 1980). Crossman and Adams (1980) found that during the first year following divorce and single-guardian children were more oppositional, aggressive, distractible and demanding than a comparable group of children from dual-guardian households. These roles displayed by children affect the relationship and the quality of interactions between parents and their children. Because of limited paternal availability and decreased maternal involvement caused by added role demands, children in families of divorce and single parents are less likely than children from dual-parent households to spend important periods of time interacting with an adult (Crossman and Adams, 1980).This relates to my research in the sense that my study will look at guardian-child interactions and whether they have an effect on the economic, educational and social achievements of the child. In other studies research has shown that children living outside of dual-parent households are at greater risk of living in poverty, experiencing food and housing insecurity, and exhibiting behavioral problems compared to children living in a dual-guardian household (Primus, 2006). The Primus (2006) research examines how economic recession and expansion influence the living arrangements of children in single-guardian homes versus dual-guardian homes. The economy has always had and will continue to effect middle class families and more single-parent middle class families whom are just barely fighting off becoming lower class. Primus (2006) utilized the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) data to help with his research. This CPS analysis classifies children by living arrangement into 7 categories. It is estimated that over half of all children born in the United States today will spend time in a single-parent household (Laursen, 2005). One consequence of this rising tide of single parenthood appears to be an altered incidence of conflict during the adolescent years. This is research is relevant because it suggest that conflict in a child’s adolescent years effect the interactions and give a negative perception of relationships. Several studies report that mothers and adolescents in divorced single parent households experience more negativity and conflict than those in two-biological-parent households, but the nature of these differences has yet to be specified. The absence of fathers is a huge factor in the development of a child and determining whether or not they will become a functioning member of society. It is not a coincidence that the majority of single parents are women because the male always seems to run out on his responsibilities. The main research hypothesis of this study was that father absence increases the chances of incarceration for male children (Harper and McLanahan, 2004). In examining this question, it was first considered socioeconomic confounders in the relationship between father absence and incarceration. Second, the researcher sought to address questions about possible mediating factors in father-absent households that remain unanswered in previous incarceration research. They investigated aspects of father-absent households to see whether they contributed to the incarceration risks, including income, the timing of a father’s departure, number of family disruptions, residential instability, or simply having insufficient number of adults in the household for adequate parenting (Harper and McLanahan, 2004). This study also used several other hypotheses to achieve a valid research study. For example, they had a father-absence hypothesis, a common background hypothesis, low income hypothesis, family instability hypothesis and additional caregiver’s hypothesis. To test these hypotheses the researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), one of the few longitudinal data sets with individual level information on both family life and incarceration. This data from NLSY79 was used to test and obtain results from each of the previously mentioned hypotheses. The single parent is vulnerable to overloads of several kinds because of the absence of a second parent within the household who might be able to provide support on an everyday basis (Nieto, 1982). Although single mothers get more publicity there are millions of single fathers in this country that go through the same issues as single mothers do. This research study examined how single fathers fair in the United States. Nieto’s (1982) study states that single-fathered families are frequently viewed as embodying a higher order of pathology than single-mothered families. Single fathers are perceived to be naturally not able to perform traditionally female gender roles. The methodology used in this research was a survey. Neito (1982) surveyed 90 psychologist (25) and psychotherapist (65). The results discovered were that most single fathers sought out help. IV. Ways of improving opportunities on both sides.

a.Educating parents about other activities.
In today’s era it is very important to constantly keep parents in the loop about opportunities. Working with parents in the past one common reason for not keeping their kids involved was that they did not know something was available. With the advent of social networks and the many ways to communicate it should be a lot easier for providers (schools, boys & girls clubs, summer camps) to keep parents updated about opportunities.

Many parents became parents at a young age therefore they were teenagers trying to raise a baby while not having enough life experience to become a better person and parent. Offering classes and trainings on situations that can better help parents empower their youth to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. b.Educating children about activities.

Youth today have a myriad of influences that affect their decision making one way or another. It is up to the community of that youth to capitalize on their ability to learn and do something different. Today’s kids are all about instant access, due to the advancement in technology children want everything right now. In order to better facilitate this process children need to taught and groomed to understand that everything is a means to an end. Further helping them understand that everything you do will effect where you end up in life. Giving situations to solve and understand consequences and accountability would be a place to start so they could began to take advantage of opportunities given to them. V. Conclusion

Overall, single guardian versus dual guardian homes both have their advantages and disadvantages ideally everyone would like to raise their children in a perfect dual guardian household but the facts are is that 50% of children will end up in a single guardian homes from whichever circumstance they arrive at. It is up to the child’s ecological system of support to aid and assist the child to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

VI. References
1.Antecol, H., & Bedard, K. (2005). Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use and crime? Journal of Population Economics, Volume 20 , 55-71. 2.Crossman, S. M., & Adams, G. R. (1980). Divorce, Single Parenting, and Child Development. The Journal of Psychology, Volume 106 , 205-217. 3.Gennetian, L. A. (2005). One or two parents? Half or step siblings? The effect of family structure on young childrens achievement. Journal of Population Economics, Volume 18 , 415-436. 4.Harper, C. C., & McLanahan, S. S. (2004). Father Absence and Youth Incarceration. Journal of Research on Adolescence, Volume 14, Number 3 , 369-397. 5.Laursen, B. (2005). Conflict between mothers and adolescents in single-mother, blended, and two-biological-parent families. Parenting: Science and Practice, Volume 5, Number 4 , 47-70. 6.Nichols-Casebolt, A. M. (1988). Black Families Headed by Single Mother: Growing Numbers and Increasing Poverty. National Association of Social Workers , 306-313. 7.Nieto, D. S. (1982). Aiding the single father. National Association of Social Workers , 473-477. 8.Primus, W. E. (2006). The Reversal of Favorable Child Living Arrangement Trends of the Late 1990s. Review of Policy Research, Volume 23, Number 3 , 713-723. 9. Ricciuti, H. N. (2004). Single Parenthood, Achievement, and Problem Behavior in White, Black, and Hispanic Children. The Journal of Educational Research, Volume 97, Number 4 , 196-205. 10. Sexual Assault Survivor Services (1996). Facts about domestic violence. SASS home page at 11. U.S. Census Bureau. (2005). Population Profile of the United States: Dynamic Version. Retrieved July 2, 2008, from 12. Weitoft, G. R., Hjern, A., & Rosen, M. (2004). Schools out! Why earlier among children of lone parents? International Journal of Social Welfare, Volume 13 , 134-144.

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