This paper briefly discusses aspects of single parent families. (5+ pages; 6 sources; APA citation style)
Single parent families are now fairly common in the United States, but debate continues about many aspects of this structure. This brief paper discusses various aspects of single parenting.
According to Zhan, “As compared with children from two-parent families, children raised in single-parent families have lower test scores, less frequent school attendance, fewer years of schooling, and higher high school dropout rates…” (2003, PG).
In this paper, Zhan was concentrating on families headed by mothers, and found that there appears to be a connection between the mother’s assets (not income, but accumulated wealth) and the child’s performance. Women who had more than $3,000 in a savings account, and who stressed savings programs and investments in general had children who did better in school. Their performance seems to be related to the fact that their mothers had higher expectations for them, based upon the fact that they were more secure financially than single mothers living in poverty.
Although a savings account of $3,000 is well beyond most single mothers, the principles used in accumulating wealth are not, and that is Zhan’s point: women who teach their children to save (even if it’s only pennies) and who expect them to do their best, tend to raise children who function at high levels.
Scott Berman 9/12/99 Advanced Writing Ms. Adams Children and Families A mother's love for her children is supposed to be something that never dies. The problem is, this "love" can be expressed in many ways. Sometimes, the love is shown in such a way that there is no doubt that this woman would do anything for her offspring. Sometime, this love can be viewed, as a way that that the mother is trying ...
At the other end of the spectrum, we find a distressing article that states: “Welfare mothers experience more psychological distress and psychiatric disturbances than other groups … This is important because disruptions brought about by mental health disorders have been associated with lower rates of labor force participation and a drop in income…” (Rosen, 2003, PG).
This would mean that these mothers would not be able to set a “high mark” for their children to meet as the higher-income women do. And although the article does not specifically discuss the impact of their mothers’ poverty and illness on the children in these families, it seems logical to assume that children of such mothers would do poorly in school, and in life generally.
I wanted to look at single fathers as well, and found an interesting article that suggests fathers who sought custody of their children, for whatever reason, did so for substantially different reasons than single women: “In the choice to parent, the availability of resources is often a major consideration. Past studies of single men have indicated that single, full-time fathers tend to have a higher income and more full-time employment and are less likely to rely on various forms of social welfare than single mothers…” (Coles, 2003, PG).
In this one sentence we can see that women remain at a disadvantage when it comes to childrearing. Society still insists that childcare is mostly “women’s work,” and that woman, no matter how poor or ill, should be the ones primarily responsible for their children. The man is allowed to gain financial security before making the choice to seek custody of his children. As Coles says: “…full-time single fathering in America tends to occur more often among men who are financially stable and better off compared to both their male and female counterparts.” (2003, PG).
On the upside, though, is the fact that single black fathers seemed determined to break the mold of the “black man who abandons his family” and thereby give their children a better, more supportive upbringing than they themselves enjoyed. (Coles, 2003, PG).
Single Working Parents Single parent is the person who is the head of the household, who has 1 or more children and who is either separated, divorced or was never married. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2003, there are 2,260 single fathers (1,758 Whites, 1,330 non-Hispanic, 353 Black only and 450 Hispanic or other race) and ...
This is a very positive aspect of single parent families.
One Internet source paints a bleaker picture, citing that fatherless homes produce children who are often deeply troubled: 85% of children with behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes; 90% of all runaways are from fatherless homes; and 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes. (Birks, 1996, PG).
This would indicate that lack of a father figure is a serious contributory factor to problems in children, more so than the lack of a mother figure. These problems aren’t confined to boys; Birks also says that girls who grow up fatherless are more likely to commence sexual activity earlier than their peers; they are also more likely to become pregnant out of wedlock.
Another web source confirms that children with only one parent are more likely to drop out of school, bear illegitimate children, and fail to hold jobs than children from two-parent families. (Kirby, n.d., PG).
But Kirby also criticizes studies that fail to take into account the disparity in income among social classes: “When income is considered, substantially fewer differences arise between the intellectual development, academic achievement, and behavior of children in single-parent and two-parent families. Lack of income has been identified as the single most important factor in accounting for the differences in children from various family forms.” (N.d., PG).
[Emphasis mine]. This goes back to the first paper, which also spoke to the fact that women with better financial skills and assets gave their children a better start.
Finally, what matters to children most? One source suggests that the single thing that children desire above all else, no matter what type of family they have, is time with their parent(s).
They want to do things together. This far surpasses a desire for toys, games, TVs, or any other sort of consumer goods. When parents can make the time for their children, the family is strengthened and the children’s potential for success increased. (Duncan, 1998, PG).
No one is going to argue that it is better for children to live with one parent than two. But single parent families are not necessarily dysfunctional. On the plus side, we’ve found that single mothers with some assets (not money, but assets) are able to imbue their children with a sense of high expectation, which often results in high achievement. Single black fathers often want to give their children a better childhood than they had, resulting in a rich environment for the children. In addition, parents can help their children achieve by simply spending time with them, something that can be done by any parent, in any economic situation.
E1 Explain the needs of families which may require professional support. Families may have a variety of needs, in which they need professional support. Families with a large number of children may not have the required amount of living space, this could mean that children are sharing beds, or parents are not sleeping in a room. Children will lack of sleep are proven to concentrate less and develop ...
On the downside, however, is the fact that American women earn significantly less than their male counterparts, a situation that decades of struggle has not been able to reverse. Thus, single mothers often live in poverty, spending most of their money on childcare; in addition, nearly 20% of these women are mentally ill. These depressing statistics do not seem likely to change any time soon.
Birks, S. (1996, January 24).
Effects of fatherlessness (US Data).
Retrieved September 20, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.massey.ac.nz/~kbirks/gender/econ/nodad.htm
Coles, R.L. (2003).
Black single custodial fathers: factors influencing the decision to parent. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 84, 247-259. Retrieved 20 Sep 2003 from The Gale Group, San Diego Public Library, San Diego, CA at: http://web2.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/515/812/40480749w2
Duncan, S.F. (1998, September).
Building family strengths. Montguide. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. Retrieved September 20, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9405.html
Kirby, J. (N.D.) Single-parent families in poverty. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University. Retrieved September 20, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.hec.ohio-state.edu/famlife/bulletin/volume.1/bullart1.htm
Rosen, D., Spencer, M.S., Tolman, R.M. Williams, D.R. & Jackson, J.S. (2003).
Psychiatric disorders and substance dependence among unmarried low-income mothers. Health and Social Work, 28, 157-166. Retrieved 20 Sep 2003 from The Gale Group, San Diego Public Library, San Diego, CA at: http://web2.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/515/812/40480749w2/purl=rc1_ITOF_0_A101530954&dyn=24!xrn_13_0_A101530954?sw_aep=sddp_main
Over the many decades the economic standing of the United States, specifically California, had fluctuated due to many unforeseen factors. One huge factor that cannot be anticipated, and often causes drastic effects on the economy, are geologic disasters. The state of California is notorious for having earthquakes that shake up the state quite often and leave the affected area with a substantial ...
Zhan, M. & Sherraden, M. (2003).
Assets, expectations, and children’s educational achievement in female-headed households. Social Science Review, 77, 191-213. Retrieved 20 Sep 2003 from The Gale Group, San Diego Public Library, San Diego, CA at: http://web2.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/515/812/40480749w2/purl=rc1_ITOF_0_A105770007&dyn=19!xrn_4_0_A105770007?sw_aep=sddp_main