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How Are Children Of Single Parent Families Affected?
The Family structure has changed significantly in the last fifty years. With higher percentages of marriage ending in divorce, and higher rates of childbearing out of wedlock, single parent families are increasing rapidly. ?Seventy percent of all the children will spend the all or part of their lives in a single-parent household.? (Dowd) Studies have shown that the children of these families are affected dramatically, both negatively and positively. Women head the majority of single- parent families and as a result, children experience many social problems from growing up without a father. Some of these problems include lack of financial support, and various emotional problems by not having a father around, which may contribute to problems later in life. At the same time, children of single-parent homes become more independent because they learn to take care of themselves, and rely on others to do things for them.
It is never a child?s decision to only live with one parent. There are many ways that single-parent homes occur. Some of these ways include unplanned pregnancy, divorce, the decision to be a single parent by choice, and death of a spouse. In every case families are disputed greatly. Parents might experience depression, emotional problems etc?. but the child is affected the most. Single-parent families are commonly targeted for controversial issues. We must be careful that we don?t stereotype these when they?re very hard to take care of themselves and their children. We do however need to notice distinct patterns in children who give up in a single parent home and what problems they face. Even though a dual family is noted as the best environment for children to grow up in as long as it?s not abusive, children of single parent can become successful,
If a child is living in a single-parent home that is financially stable it is unlikely the child will be disrupted any more financially then if they were living in a dual-parent home. However, in households that are not financially stable the child may be affected. According to the United States Census Bureau survey that was conducted in 1990, the mean incomes of married couples with children was $41,260, while the mean for females working fulltime heading a household was $20,586. With only one salary providing for parent and children, the child is deprived of many things that it needs to live comfortably. Single parent families are more likely to experience poverty, but it is important for us to realize that the rate of poverty in dual-parent homes is increasing as well. With the mother or the father trying to balance their careers and raising a child, it can be hard for them to continue to study or move up in their careers. In situations where the children are old enough to work, children might start working in order to help their financial status and this affects their time for school work, time needed to balance and so on.
It is ideal for a child to be living with both parents for many reasons that will affect the child?s emotional development. Even if the parent living away from the child visits often it does not make up for times where the child might have needed the parent. Lack of parental involvement can harm the child in many ways. With less parental influence in single parent homes the children might experience difficulty in school. With a grasp of a healthy marriage of their parents, children might have problems later in life with holding a job and having strong healthy relationships themselves. Some studies have shown from disrupted families have problems achieving intimacy. A social scientist named Nicholas Zill notes that
?While coming from a disrupted family significantly increases a young adult?s risk of experiencing social, emotional or academic difficulties, it does not foreordain such difficulties. The majority of young people from disrupted families have successfully completed high school, do not currently display high levels of emotional distress or problems behavior, and enjoy reasonable relationships with their mothers.? (Swisher)
But some of these young adults may experience problems with their relationships with their fathers.
Aside from all the negative things a child growing up in a single-parent family might face the child will become more independent and responsible at an earlier age. Being forced at an early age to have more household responsibilities helps children later in life to be mature and make decisions for his/herself. Learning skills early can be applied to them later in life. The children also have higher self-esteem, because they that they are capable of facing problems, and taking on tasks. They know that they can?t rely on both parents to meet all their needs. For instance, ?Single mothers and fathers who try to provide the best for their children can take comfort in the results that finds single parenting, in and on itself, seems to have no effect on how a child performs, the New York Post. (infotrac) This indicates that children can succeed in life and not worry if they don?t have a parent. By their experiences they become stronger individuals. In many single-parent families the mother or father plays both roles of the family successfully. Also ?children living in single-parent families have additional stress, but they find ways to adapt and thrive? because children look to their parents? inspiration, which can help the child want to succeed itself.
Single mother are proving they can be breadwinners and take home the trophy for their accomplishments. All family structure needs our understanding and care when they are going through hard times. We have to make sure our children will make the next successful generation and face ant social problems they might face. It is important that we do not generalize about any family structure or blame them for any of societies problems because of the stigma that will surround potentially well in parent in.
Even though the ideal family is a dual family, children living in a single-parent home might face problems financially and economically which doesn?t mean they can fare off as well rounded adults later in life. As long as there are the established kinds of basic support given to the child, we do not need to target mothers or fathers for the breakdown of society. Every type of family has faced problems. As long as we acknowledge parents struggle to fight for their best for the kids and accept that they are not perfect. As this social issue is being addressed, we are finding more ways of how to deal with the problems that single-parent families face. The parents might go through a lot providing for their children, but we cannot forget the efforts of the children that are making it without two parents and becoming strong, independent, self-sufficient individuals.
1. Blankenhorn, David. Fatherless America. New York: A Davidon Of Harper Collins Publisher, 1995
2. Dowd, Nancy. In Defense Of Single Parent Families. New York: New York University, 1997
3. Single Parents? Kids Do as well in School As Those in Two-Parent Homes: Infotrac.. October 25, 1999.Online. .
4. Swisher, Karin L. Single-Parent Families. Ca : GreenhavenPress Inc, 1997
Wurzel, Barbara J. Growing up in Single Parent Families. Columbus: November1, 2000. Infotrac. Online. .
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