A family is often composed of a father, mother and a child or children. However, this is not always the case in modern societies where single parenthood is becoming more prevalence. According to the statistics of United States Census Bureau, approximately, 10 million single-parent families exists an indication that the number will be overwhelming in the coming years (Bumpass and Kelly, 98). This practice has been on an increasing trend due to its acceptability in modern societies. Single parenting entails a person who builds and raises a family and cares for one or more child without engaging in marriage or without the involvement of neither a wife nor a husband (Bumpass and Kelly, 98). Notably, in 2002, a report issued by the United States Census Bureau, there were over 20 million children who had been subjected to single parenting (Bumpass and Kelly, 105). Single-parent families are families composed of children under the age of 18 years headed by one parent who is divorced, not remarried, widowed, undergone artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood or by a parent who has opted not to get married. Moreover, it can also arise from unforeseeable circumstances like an accident, child neglect and abuse (Dunifon and Lori, 1250). Therefore as relationship changes, more children are left in the hands of lone parenthood. Consequently, this will no doubt have consequences on a child's development. The paper aims to analyze the effects of single parenting on a child's development.
Effects of Poverty
Single parenthood families are more likely to be plunge by the plague of poverty. However, no cause or reason can make child of a single parent not to grow up happy and well adjusted (Dunifon and Lori, 1257). Being the sole breadwinner and earner will create a significant gap as compared to the income of two married couples. Therefore, poverty can be stressful besides frightening for children coming from single parenthood families. In most occasions, they will feel the difference between them and other children having both parents. This frustration will, therefore, torture them emotionally over a long period. According to the report issued by single Mothers Survival Guide, the most common setback to single parenthood families is the financial constraint. However, those for single parenthood have at the time argued that; a single parent would have more effective control on expenditure than two parents. In contrary to this statement, in 2002, single parent earned less income of about $35000 which was twice less than families having two income earners (Dunifon and Lori, 1263).
Therefore, parents struggling with financial concerns should learn to prepare an effective budget that is within the limits of their income. Moreover, they should focus on what best they can offer their children so that they may not see the gap between them and others. For instance, a parent may not afford to buy the latest gadget for his or her child, but he or she can nurture a good relationship with the child. This will be important for the child's development (Manning, Wendy and Kathleen, 877).
To overcome financial constraint, single parents should supplement their family needs with available community resources and through joining various agencies. The agencies will assist in undertaking overdue child expenses and initiating various supports to the child. Such programs include; child care programs funded by the state government and various insurance plans including dental and medical plans (Manning, et. al, 879). Moreover, the parents can involve their children in various after-school community programs that will guarantee safety to the child and make them active.
Effect on Academic Achievement
Academic achievement of a child can be tainted. For instance, the stress that one partner may be subjected to as a result of separation and the resulting change in the life style can lead to adverse consequences. A single partner may, therefore, find himself or herself working for longer hours which was not the case before separation. Therefore, less time will be left to help the child on his or her academics. Moreover, children of single parents mostly feel anxious, lonely, sad and frightened especially when they witness the divorce of their parents. This often makes them lose their path since they take too much time thinking about their parent's separation and therefore they are being traumatized by this condition and thereby losing concentration in their studies (Wendy and Kathleen, 881). This problem can be solved, through community-based programs like parents joining such initiative as "Moms day out." Various churches and community-based organizations offer these programs with such services as free automotive services that can make children feel loved and the importance of education. Moreover, single parents can join such programs as "The Incredible Years" initiative that educates children of ages 3-6 and their parents on strategies of handling difficult situations (Manning, et.al, 891).
Children from single-parent families are vulnerable to emotional problems than those staying with both parents arising from poor communication and attention. According to the research conducted by the United States national statistics, involving children between the ages of 7 to 18, the results revealed that about 4% had developed various psychological related issues while about 30% experienced emotional and behavioral concerns (Pong, Suetling, Jaap, and Gillian, 681). The research further revealed that there was no direct cause associated with problems but stressed that the majority of the problems aroused from living in incomplete families.
Notably, children who undergo such stressful occasions like witnessing their parents' divorce, appear in court as witness or face torture, usually experience emotional issues. Other emotional concerns experienced by these children include aggressiveness, immoral behaviors, depression, and anxiety. This happens because they believe their parents separated or divorced due to lack of love for them. In the long run, this affects their development as compared to children having both parents (Pong, et. al, 688). Moreover, another survey by the national statistics reveals that children who have single parent were 4.5 times vulnerable to different emotional problems as compared to children having both parents and were about 3 times likely to show behavioral disorders (Pong, et. al, 689). Parents can, therefore, seek the services of Service Integration and Interagency Collaborative Care (SIICC). This program provides services to various families facing different psychological challenges and lack of social assistance.
Single parent children may engage in social crimes like drug abuse and alcoholism due to family issues that they are undergoing. Moreover, they are likely to go the extra mile to engage in sexual activities and crime related activities and even to take their own lives. Notably, if a child is unhappy and is facing a certain problem, he or she needs somebody close who can soothe him or her (Pong, 23). However, in the absence of their parent, they resort to smoking to relieve their stress. Most children left at home for most of the time when their parents are working may be vulnerable to influence from peers and engage in immoral activities. Therefore parents should always learn to create time for their children in as much as they are working to meet the family needs. A report issued by The Lancet's group, issues 25, reveals that about 2.7% of boys and 1.6% of the girls coming from single-parent families were hospitalized with alcoholic-related issues and drug abuse, this was in contrast to about 1% of boys and about 0.6% of girls coming from two-parent families (Pong, 33).
Besides, another factor under consideration is the adolescence which can also impact negatively on parental discord before the divorce. As children from single-parent family become adults, there are high chances that they can marry at an early stage and follow their parent footsteps of divorcing their spouses. Therefore the solution to this problem includes; single mothers joining community groups like moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) and moms societies. These groups provide child care; hence mothers of young children take a break (Manning, et.al, 891).
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, single parenthood has adverse negative consequences on children development. Moreover, it does not benefit society at all. Many people peruse good life and happy marriages; however, their wishes are cut short and shuttered by divorce which leads to adverse effects on the innocent children. Children are on the receiving end of single parenthood as they are subjected to psychological problems which further make them engage in immoral and criminal activities and even suicide. Therefore children should be entitled to stable and total family love and environment. Therefore, it is highly recommended that, through collaboration with the government, the society should initiate more programs to help both single parents and the affected children to bridge the gap that exists between the hem and other children.
Bumpass, Larry L., and R. Kelly Raley. "Redefining single-parent families: Cohabitation and changing family reality." Demography 32.1 (2014): 97-109.
Dunifon, Rachel, and Lori Kowaleski-Jones. "Who's in the house? Race differences in cohabitation, single parenthood, and child development." Child Development 73.4 (2012): 1249-1264. Manning, Wendy D., and Kathleen A. Lamb. "Adolescent wellbeing in cohabiting, married, and singleparent families." Journal of Marriage and Family 65.4 (2013): 876-893.
Pong, Suetling, Jaap Dronkers, and Gillian HampdenThompson. "Family policies and children's school achievement in singleversus twoparent families." Journal of marriage and family 65.3 (2003): 681-699.
Pong, Suet-ling. "The school compositional effect of single parenthood on 10th-grade achievement." Sociology of education (1998): 23-42.
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