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Friday, 27 March 2015 18:53

Single Parent Home

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When you picture a stereotypical American family, what do you see? A mom? A dad? Two kids, a dog, and a white picket fence? For much of US history, this image of the “nuclear family” has been society’s norm. As we make our way into the twenty-first century, however, families around the country are challenging this stereotype. As our society becomes more tolerant of pre-marital sex, divorce, homosexuality, and more, the structure of many families is inevitably affected. What effect does this have on the development of American children? How will a child’s upbringing be different if a single parent, grandparents, or two parents of the same gender raise him?

Single Parenthood

Single-parent households are actually fairly common in the United States and are currently on the rise.  In 2008, about 29.5% of American households self-selected designation as a single-family household, approximately a two percent increase from 2000.

[1] Many people find themselves in this type of family for a variety of reasons, including divorce, spousal death, or the choice to raise a child out of wedlock without the participation of both biological parents. The concept of a single-parent household varies from culture to culture and the incidence and the level of social acceptance is not universal. In more religious groups, for example, negative views of divorce and pre-marital sex can lead to a stigma surrounding single-parenthood.  The majority of single parent households are headed by the mother (84.1%) as opposed the father (15.9%).

[2] There’s often a concern that having only one parent around is not enough to raise a healthy and successful child. Many interesting studies have been done on the effect of growing up with a single parent on children’s develop-ment and socializa-tion.  The results unanimously support a traditional two-parent household, due to generally more financially secure background. Consequences can include lower achievement in school, greater levels of psychological distress,  earlier sexual activity, and increased substance abuse.

[3] Hold out hope though—this correlation does not necessarily mean causation, and the trend can be reversed!

Read 2576 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2016 02:43

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