Effects Of Single Parent Families

Today, many children live in single-parent homes more than ever before as rising at an alarming rate. And nearly one-half of the children born in this country are expected to spend some time in a single-parent family before reaching age 18(Odu & Ayodele, 2007). The living and parenting arrangements of single parents are as diverse. It is generally assumed that single-parent families have dire consequences for the children raised in them, consequences that extended throughout their lives. Many researchers look at the consequences of children living in single-parent households.

They tend to focus on the negative aspects of this life experience such as economic troubles and behavior problems of the children (Anyebe, E., et al 2017). Thus, single parents' families are at high risk of financial hardship which may impact psychological wellbeing. However, there is a positive benefit of raising children as a single parent that the bond between a child and the single-parent is stronger than the bond in two-parent families(Gewitz, A.

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H., Degarmo, D. S., and Zamir, O., 2017).

This paper explains the economic deprivation, behaviors result from lack of parental support and supervision, other adverse effects, and advantages in single-parent families and discuss how to address these issue as an advanced practice nurse.

What have you learned from the literature on the topic?

The Definition of Single- Parent Families

Single-parent families can be defined as families where lives with children under age 18 who live with their own single parent either in a family or subfamily without a spouse of partner.

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Single-parent families are generally categorized by the sex of the custodial parent (mother-only or father-only families). Mother-only families include widows, divorced and separated women, and never-married mothers. In the case of divorce, mothers are usually given custody in the United States. In this definition, single-parent families may include cohabiting couples and do not include children living with married stepparents. Children who live in group quarters (for example, institutions, dormitories, or group homes) are not included in this calculation.


Much has changed in the past three decades. There is a rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families recently. The single-parent family has become even more prevalent. Between 1986 and 2017 the percentage of a family headed by a single parent increased from about 23.4% to 34%.

Today the time during with children live with one parent average averages longer( Mclanahan, S. ). According to national kids count, children growing up in single-parent families are 34% in 2017. American children are being raised by a single parent due in part to long-term declines in marriage and increases in births outside of marriage. Across this nation, single mothers and fathers advocate, nurture, juggle and sacrifice on behalf of their children. In the United Kingdom, women account for 86% of single parents with dependent children, the average age of single parents is 38 years of age, with approximately 60% of single parents caring for one dependent child. Single parent families are one representation of the range and diversity of family units in modern society(Golombok et al. 2016). Societal perceptions often construct single parents as young, female, unemployed parents with multiple children(Zartler, 2014). The share of children who are living with an unmarried parent varies by race and ethnicity. More than half (58%) of black children are living with an unmarried parent. At the same time, 36% of Hispanic children are living with an unmarried parent, as are 24% of white children. The share of Asian children living with unmarried parents is markedly lower (13%).

Negative and Positive Effects of Single-Parent Families

Economic deprivation

Poverty is the most profound and pervasive factor underlying the developmental problems of the children in single-parent families. Roughly, one of two families headed by a single parent is living in poverty compared with one of ten married couples with children (McLanahan & Booth, 1989). According to Pew Research Center, they found that 30% of solo mothers and their families are living in poverty compared with 17% of solo father families and 16% of families headed by a cohabiting couple. In comparison, 8% of married-couple families are living below the poverty line. Children from single-parent families are six times more likely to be poor. In the United States, the effects of single-parent family life on children fall into the lower economic status of single parents.

Nevertheless the type of family arrangement, a child lives in is associated with a household’s economic situation. Economic deprivation results in more likely to experience health-related problems of children in single-parent homes due to the decline in their living standards, including the lack of health insurance (Mauldin 1990).

Lack of Parental Support and Supervision

Parents who support and supervise children enhance their well-being (Maccoby & Martin, 1983). In fact, poor parental monitoring has proven one of the most powerful predictors of youth involvement in problem behaviors (Patterson & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1984). Single parents monitor their children less closely and know less about where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing

than parents in intact families (Amato & Keith, 1991). For example, single mothers exercise less supervision over their daughters' dating, which in turn leads to earlier sexual activity (Hogan, D. P. & Kitagawa, E.M. 1985). Single parents are less effective disciplinarians - less authoritative and sure of themselves than are parents in two-parent families. Whatever their capabilities for managing their children, a couple can gang up on a teenager; a single parent cannot. Especially, in the first few years after a divorce, the children have higher rates of antisocial behavior, aggression, anxiety, and school problems than children due to a decrease in available resources and adult supervision.

Also, single parents are also less involved in their children’s school activities and have lower educational goals for their children (McLanahan & Booth, 1989), two factors known to jeopardize academic achievement (Steinberg, Brown, Casmarek, Cider, & Lazarro, 1988).

The other problems

Single parents are likely to experiences higher levels of depression, anxiety, and general stress, despite making extensive efforts to meet their financial obligations. Because many single parents feel that there is still a social stigma when it comes to single parents. According to a 2011 survey conducted by Pew Research, social stigmas are still alive and well. Two-thirds of single-parents polled responded that the trend toward single parenthood, and single motherhood specifically, has not been a good change for society.

Updated: Aug 12, 2021
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Effects Of Single Parent Families. (2020, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/effects-of-single-parent-families-essay

Effects Of Single Parent Families essay
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