Nontraditional Families affects on children
Introduction to Human Services
October 11, 2013
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For the duration of the past few decades there have been numerous changes to family structure. According to Feldman, “ With an increase in the number of parents who both work outside homes, a soaring divorce rate, and a rise in single-parent families, the environment faced by children passing through middle childhoods in the 21st century is very different from that faced by prior generations” (Feldman, 2011). Family structures within nontraditional home family have similar characteristics that affect a child growing up (Ono & Sanders, 2010). According to the International Journal of Childbirth Education, “defining the term nontraditional family may elicit many different responses depending on the age, gender or geographical location” (Lantz, 2012). One of the reason children in nontraditional families are consider to have disparities more notable is because of instability of family structure formation (Ono & Sanders, 2010). Another reason is because of the instability within family structure that cause children to have increasingly salient part of their lives (Fomby & Cherlin, 2007). Consequences of living in a nontraditional family setting often come from changes in the family and disruptions (Porter, 2012). According to Bramlett & Blumberg (2007) “Family structure can have a profound impact on children’s experiences and life trajectories. Family structure affects a child outcome of life in many ways such as educational attainment and general well-being.
The early 1900’s the family consisted on a father who is breadwinner and takes care the family financially, the stay at home mom who takes care the house and children, and of course the children. They all live a house somewhere in the suburbs. That was the only ideal view of a model family. According to Feldman, “A look back at television shows of the 1950’s finds a world of families portrayed in a way that today seems oddly old-fashion and quaint: mother and father, married for years, and their good-looking children making their way in a world that seems to have few, if any, serious problem” (Feldman, 2011 p191). Today the ideal family is totally different. The thought of family today, is only a parent or caregiver working multiple jobs to raise their child. Or the family is seem as people who decide to stay together for many years resulting in common law versus getting married. Some of these parents become more involved with their career goals and obtaining stability that forming a family and getting married. Over the past few decades only about 3 out of 10 kids live in traditional family setting, the rest live in some form of a nontraditional family home (Rimm, 2010).
Single parent families
Single parenting has become a more popular style in the last couple decades. Single parenting has become one of the most common nontraditional families. According to George, “Although there are exceptions, this state usually occurs for one the three reasons: the parent was never married, the parent had separated or divorced from the spouse, or the spouse has died” (George, 2009). Single parents usually experience higher level of stress due to financial situations, high and low relationships with their children in addition to parenting styles, and sometimes the lack of rest (George, 2009). Around 43% of children live within a single parent home that is at or below the national poverty level (George, 2009). Due to not being financially stable, some single parents are forced to live in low-income neighborhoods which result into poor schooling systems. More children are likely to drop out of school and to be raised in poverty. Consequently there are more like to be teen pregnancies. Around 60% of children are raised by young single parents who are less likely to get married (Feldman, 2011). In addition to teenagers are more likely to raised their child without the help and support of the father, as a result most teenagers abandon their education and have to rely on minimum wage jobs for a source of income (Feldman, 2011).
According to Feldman, “ The consequences of living in a single parent families depends on the financial condition of the family and, if there had been two- parents, the level of hostility that existed between them” (Feldman 2011). the majority of people think the cause is whether there were two parents at first and situation changed leaving one parent to raise the child. Additionally the economic status is a very important aspect on determining what types of consequences the child will grow up with. Consistent with Bramlett & Blumberg, “For most health indicators, children in single mother families had poorer health status than children living with biological parents (Bramlett & Blumberg 2007). Most people believe this is because most single parents may to work more to take care of the children, and still remain in poverty. In addition to more children becoming more likely to suffer from health problems due to the lack of regular doctor visits or adequate preventive services (Rosenfeld, 2010). A child’s ability to go to school on a consist bases and participate with some social activities can be affected by health problems (Rosenfeld, 2010). Single parents, who are often faced with stress from living situations, normally have more psychological distress, and this affects their parenting styles (George, 2009). For example, children who live with single parents as a result of a divorce, have parents that become less authoritative (Lambie, 2011).
Single parent families have more financial restraints that have a negative effect on a child’s educational achievement (Hampden-Thompson, 2013). Most of these parents are unable to buy additional resources to help with children educational attainment (Hampden-Thompson, 2013). According to Feldman, “Economically disadvantaged children are at risk for poor academic performance, higher rates of aggression and conduct problems” (Feldman, 2011). Research has been proven that there is a correlation between a parents completed level of education and the child pace of learning (Hampden-Thompson, 2013). In addition to when a parent did not finish high school most likely the child will do the same and drop out. Children of single parents have been shown to have lower test scores in school and higher rates of grade retention when compared to children who live with both parents (Potter, 2012). Some single parent have to move frequently, this also cause children to have a higher risk of academic problems (Amato 2005). Because a child is consisting having to adjust to new schools and new curriculums.
Feldman has stated that, “Grand parenting tends to fall into different styles” (Feldman, 2011 p523). In the African American community, more grandparents are involved in their grand kid’s life (Feldman, 2011). They are vigorously engaged and influencing their grand kids (Feldman, 2011). More and more minority grandparents are finding themselves taking over the responsible of their grand kids, and being the primary provider (Williams, 2011). According to Williams, “ The 2000 census reported there were 158.9 million peple ages 30 and older living in households in the United States, of whom 5.8 million were con-residents grandparents, defined as living with grandchilden younger that 18” (Willams, 2011). Most people think more grandparents are taking responsibilty of their children kids because they see the parents don’t care and or abusing the children, are incareted, or even caught up with drugs. And the grandparents do not want these children to end up in foster care or group homes. It’s a big change for grand parents to go from seeing their grand kids for occasional visits to permantly protecting and provide for their grand children.Williams said it best, “The family role transition from grand parenting to surrogate parenting inherently innvolves life-stages stressors, such as financial issues, role ambiguity, and personal adjustment to daily lifestyle (Willams, 2011). It also has an impact on the grandchilden. Grandchildren that are raised by grandparents may develop behavioral , educational , and emotional problems (Hayslip & Kaminski, 2008). In addition to grandparent having the health care problems with their grand kids (Conway & Li, 2012 ). Most grandparents now a days have been out of school for at at least twenty five years, so they may have problems trying to reconnect. Additonally, most grandparents are not up to date on most electronics and may not know how to have a open communication with the child and the schooling system (Willams, 2011). Grand parenting depends on the age of the of the individuals in additon to their personailty (George, 2009).
Same sex parents
Since the late 1970’s, same sex parenting has become a more popular nontraditional family home (George, 2009). Research has shown that kids raised in a home of same-sex parents are similar to single parent mothers, in a way that children with nontraditional family homes have worse outcome of children well being (Allen, Pakaluk & Price, 2013). The negative aspects of same sex parenting comes from the perception that homosexual individual are unstable (Stacey & Biblarz, 2001). This is a stereotype of same sex parents. Lesbian and gay can become parent by only a couple ways such as adoption or surrogate parenting (Rosenfeld, 2010). Becoming a parent for a same sex couples can be difficult in comparison to heterosexual parents (Rosenfeld 2010). Some parents are even more focused on the children to insure they have a good childhood. Although there is not much research on same sex parents, evidence has been shown that there are very few differences in parenting styles. In fact children raised by same sex parents, have been shown to be consider normal (Rosenfeld, 2010). Even so children of gay/lesbians parents have generally seem to be like all the other children as far as behavior, sell-esteem, and grades in schools and drug abuse (George, 2009). In fact same sex parents have higher chances of shielding their children from drug or alcohol use ( Hemovich & Crano, 2009). They have similar peer and school involvement (Rosenfeld, 2010). However, there are some reasons to believe children of same sex parents have a small probability to have lower school readiness, in fact have correlation to more children being held back a grade (Rosenfeld, 2010). But do not have any developmental disadvantage when compared to other children. Head house hold lead by same sex parents have be found in research to have not disadvantage, yet it is still criticized because of small populations (Rosenfeld, 2010).
What family can do to raise a well adjust children
There are many things you can to raise a well adjust child in the world of nontraditional family. The single parents are being interesting and active to your children. I was raise in both a traditional and nontraditional family. My parent got divorce during my high school years, and I had to leave to adjust to the new situation. After my parents’ divorce, my mother became more involved with what my brother and I had going on. She was always involved and there when we needed before but thereafter she became more involved. She didn’t let the divorce bring her down. Her well-being as a single mother was very essential to me. She also taught me that being happy am not about how much you have but it’s a matter of what you do with what you have. She taught me to be happy with what I have; material things mean nothing because they can always be replaced. We became comfortable with our new house and things. Another thing a nontraditional family can do is hold high standards for your children. My mother finished high school but did not go to college. So she continued to push me to do better in school and to graduate from college with a degree. She was determining to make me a better person than she was, and to have better things. According to parents magazine, “ the key to raising a well-rounded child is to establish a solid support system at home so that she/he grows up satisfied with her achievement and ambitions” ( Capetta, 2012).
Social support to nontraditional families has a good effect of parenting. This improves parent style and effectiveness (Wood & Woody, 2007). With the social support from family and friends to single parent, they have the support to treat their children better. No matter the type of family structure a child may live in, the quality in parenting is a positive reinforcement that helps with a child emotional and social well being (Amato, 2005). In addition to living with a single parent, if the other noncustodial parent is involve with the child in some form, studies have shown that the child is less likely to emotional or conduct problems instead they are more like to have higher academic success (Amato, 2005). Positive co-parenting helps children develop good communication skills with others such as peers and also help them to see interpersonal skills and respect (Amato, 2005). “Social support has also been shown to minimize distress and predict well-being and adjustment” ( Quimby & O’brien, 2006). Social support can be from family, schools counselors, and friends this help to encourage children on nontraditional families that they are not different and helps them with psychological functioning. According to the Journal of Counseling and Development there are a few things that help with well-being of a person, the secure attachment within relationships, parent and child self-efficacy and social support (Quimby & O’Brien, 2006). The relationship with your child as a parent is the most important factor in the child’s life ( Bradley, 2007). Parents must create a bond with their child in order to maintain positive connection. “Well-adjust kids have strong, respect-based relationships with their parents” (Bradley, 2007).
Children live in a variety of different families. Some live with one parent, step parents, grandparents and same sex parents to just name a few. Theses family types are nontraditional because of the aged perception of a family. According to Feldman,“ The consequences of living in a single parent families depends on the financial condition of the family and, if there had been two- parents, the level of hostility that existed between them” (Feldman, 2011). Additionally the economic status is a very important aspect on determining what types of consequences the child will grow up with. In other words children of single parents have more risk to have social, emotional, and cognitive problem based off economic sources or stress related to the single parent (Amato, 2005). Single parenting is the most well know type of nontraditional families because more and more parents are taking care of children solely on their own, because it’s the baseline of new nontraditional family. Children are brought into this world not asking to be here and have no control over their family situations. According to Cherlin, “ the theoretical case for an instability effect rest on the proposition that each of the transition of parents , partners, and stepparents into and out of the household requires adjustment that can be stressful, at least initially, for the biological parent and the children, that the cumulative effects children’s well being can be substantial (Cherlin, 2007). Children of nontraditional families have to be taught how to adjust to situation and the parents have to help the children too realize just because their family may look different from others, they are no different. Most children who are raised by both biological parents are more affluent than children raised in a nontraditional family (Bramlett & Blumberg, 2007). A lot of these children were raised in with family more financially stable, and most children of these parents attended college then pursue careers. Nontraditional families are not always as well financially and economically stable as traditional families. More research is showing that nontraditional families are not always linked to behavioral, emotional and health factor is the family is financial stable (Bramlett & Blumberg). Especially the children of same sex parenting, those children appear to be normal.
Family is molded by every person who helps in any way. Stability is created through the family and becomes the baseline for how a child will progress for the rest of their life. Although all over the world there are lots of different kinds of families, the structure will always be different from society to society based on religion, race, and sex. Family structure is very important and it shows strong patterns as it relates to child gender and race (Conway & Li, 2012). According to Counseling and Human development, “all family forms are influenced strongly by ethnicity: religion or lack thereof: financial status linking no, one, two or more wage earners within the household: level of education; and regional and geographic influences, among other factors.” ( Lambie, 2011). Nontraditional families are continuing to become more popular in the American culture, I think it’s turning into the new traditional family.
Allen,D., Pakaluk, C., & Price, J. (2013). Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld. Demography, 50(3), 955-961. doi:10.1007/s13524—012-0169-x
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References: Allen,D., Pakaluk, C., & Price, J. (2013). Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld. Demography, 50(3), 955-961. doi:10.1007/s13524—012-0169-x Bradley, M Cherlin, A. a. (2007, april). Familt Instability and Child Well-Being. Am Sociol, pp. 181-204 Conway, K Feldman, R.S. (2011). Development across the life span. (custom). Upper Saddle River. NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc George, H Hayslip, B. a. (2008). Parenting the custodial grandchild. New York: Springer Hemovich, V., & Crano, W Lambie, R. (2011). At-risk children from nontraditional families. Counseling and Human Development, 44(4), 1-12. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/928762538?accountid=12085 Lantz, N Ono, H., & Sanders, J. (2010). Diverse Family Types and Out-of-School Learning Time of Young School-Age Children. Family Relations, 59(5), 506-519. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00619.x Potter, D ROSENFELD, M. J. (2010). NONTRADITIONAL FAMILIES AND CHILDHOOD PROGRESS THROUGH SCHOOL. Demography, 47(3), 755-775 Quimby, J Stacey, J., & Biblarz, T. J. (2001). (How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter? American Sociological Review, 66(2), 159-183. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218791125?accountid=12085 Willams, M