Growing Up In A Single Parent Family

Categories: Growing Up

Eight years ago a family was traveling to San Francisco with not a worry in sight. The car swerved left to right before losing control and flipping over three times. When all was said and done a father had never returned to his family. It has been known that being a single parent has a few struggles. Some of those struggles are, the lack of income, one parent is left to fend for their family. The percentage of single parents has risen from 13% in 1970 to 63% in 2018.

This means that hundreds of thousands of children are left without guidance from a father and or a mother. The definition of a single-parent family is when a single spouse man or woman who is recently widowed or divorced is left to raise a child and in most cases more than one child all by themselves. However, the percentage of single fathers leading a household is significantly smaller than a female leading a household. Roughly around seventeen percent of men are single parents as opposed to eighty-three percent of females that are single parents.

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The reason behind this is because of a presumption that kids should always stay with their mother rather than their father in a time of separation. Yet in recent times this presumption has died down in the courts and a higher percentage of fathers have custody of their children. In addition, parents who are not married but live together are referred to as cohabiting parents and they are still considered single parents in most cases.

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Research shows that single parenting is on the rise in the United States and it doesn't look as if it’s going to stop any time soon.

Single fathers come from a variety of circumstances. Whether it’s because they are widowed divorced separated or never married single fathers are on the rise in the United States. In past times single parenting was commonly known for just women. It wasn’t until recent times that single fathers have become an epidemic. The number of single fathers is on the rise from the measly 1% reported in 1960 to a record-breaking 8% of households in 2013. The reason why we are seeing these numbers increase is that we are seeing more people getting divorced and separated than ever before. Nevertheless, these numbers are still on the rise with fathers in the United States. According to the article The rise of single fathers by Gretchen Livingston. She states, like single mothers single fathers are typically less educated therefore they struggle compared to married partners. The reason for this is because they lack the Education that single fathers have For instance, about 19% of single dads do not have their high school diploma and only about 17% of single fathers have a bachelor's degree or higher in college. However single fathers look as if they are better off financially compared to single mothers. Another type of single parent is a widow. A widow is a parent that is single because of the death of a spouse. Losing a parent/spouse can be hard on a family but especially the parents and in this case the father. Divorced and widowed Single fathers are also vulnerable to mental health issues. The main reason for this is because they have financial stress and separation anxiety from their children and or spouse. However, these mental health issues can carry over to their children some findings indicate the boys are at greater risk than girls with behavioral and emotional problems. Research shows that for those fathers who are supportive of the children’s future, their children develop better social skills and are more likely to obtain a college degree regardless of race or economic status.

In recent times the number of single female parents is on the rise. Whether it's because of a recent divorce or the death of male spouse kids are still growing up without a male role model to look up to. A father's absence in a family can cause a series of unfortunate events, for example, the income of a family becomes dependent on one person thus making it harder to keep up with bills. Single mothers also stress and have anxiety when it comes to money, after all, The average income of a single mother is around $36,000-$41,700 a year. However, we see these numbers double and in some cases even triple with married couples that bring in $74,000-$90,00 a year. To keep up with bills single mothers usually have to work two jobs to maintain a steady income. However, when mothers are working more than one job this means less time with their children and this leads children to feel several things such as feeling like they are forgotten and feeling like they are lonely. Like men, women become single mothers for a variety of reasons whether it’s because they are recently widowed because of the death of a spouse, divorce which is the recent separation from a spouse, a breakup, and unplanned pregnancies with an unwilling father. One of the main reasons why we don’t see single fathers as much as single mothers are because most men cannot handle the responsibilities and task of being a father so they up leave. Single mothers also lose independence. They have to constantly think about what to do and how it will affect them and their children. Single mothers also tend to dwell in self-doubt. They often feel like they aren’t doing a good job when their children make a mistake. Single moms also have to make decisions by themselves, and they don’t have a spouse to talk to and make a decision without the support or help from someone else.

It is no question that single parenting affects a mother and or father but what about the children? Single parenting can affect children negatively by kids lacking discipline. Children begin to develop poor behavior and actions due to the lack of discipline in the household. This behavior can often translate to school and kids begin to act out at school. Furthermore, another negative aspect that children can pick up is poor academic performance. This usually happens when a parent is working two jobs and children have a lack of supervision. The lack of supervision can lead children to do poorly in school because they have no one supervising and making sure homework assignments are finished. Another negative effect of single parenting is a child can develop low self-esteem. A child’s lack of low self-esteem can come from not getting enough attention from a parent because they are working or taking care of other things. This can cause a kid to feel alone, thus making it harder for kids to communicate with other people. That’s why parents need to acknowledge their children’s achievements. Although there are many negatives it’s important to look at the positives. For incense children in single-parent households develop a stronger bond with not only their parents but their siblings as well and learn how to overcome things together.

Works cited

  1. Livingston, G. (2018). The rise of single fathers. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from
  2. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Single parents and work. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from
  3. McLanahan, S., & Percheski, C. (2008). Family structure and the reproduction of inequalities. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 257-276. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134549
  4. Gassman-Pines, A., & Yoshikawa, H. (2006). Five-year effects of an anti-poverty program on marriage among never-married mothers. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 25(1), 11-30. doi: 10.1002/pam.20147
  5. Amato, P. R., & Patterson, S. E. (2017). The intergenerational transmission of union instability in early adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 79(3), 723-738. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12371
  6. McLanahan, S., & Jacobsen, W. (2015). Diverging destinies: How children are faring under the second demographic transition. Demography, 52(4), 1729-1757. doi: 10.1007/s13524-015-0413-2
  7. Waller, M. R., & McNeeley, S. (2002). Deconstructing the essential father. American Psychologist, 57(10), 792-802. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.57.10.792
  8. King, V., & Sobolewski, J. M. (2006). Nonresident fathers' contributions to adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(3), 537-557. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00273.x
  9. Hofferth, S. L., & Anderson, K. G. (2003). Are all dads equal? Biology versus marriage as a basis for paternal investment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(1), 213-232. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00213.x
  10. Bertram, C., & Letiecq, B. L. (2000). Fathering and attachment in the postdivorce family. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 34(1-2), 169-191. doi: 10.1300/J087v34n01_08
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Growing Up In A Single Parent Family. (2024, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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