The Effect of Single Parent Families to Children

Topics: Family, Mother, Father Pages: 9 (3530 words) Published: November 2, 2012
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. 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...
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