SingleParents with Children
Thecurrent trend in matters regarding marriage shows that few marriageswill last in the union to see their children complete elementarystudies. This in the simplest terms means that the number of childrenbeing raised by single parents is increasing day by day. There arevarious challenges that such parents and children undergo as they goabout their daily life activities. Many scholars have studied anddone research on the effect of single parenting on both the parentsand the children in single families. Equally articles on how to goabout single parenting have been published to help single familiescope with the experiences alongside this kind of parenting. Bypresenting an elaboration on the issues above, it is the purpose ofthis paper to discuss single parents with children.
Thenature of the American family has undergone a great transformation toresult into a totally new and different family structure. Among thiscommon transition is the increase in the number of single parentswith children as a result of an increase in the number of separationand divorce among married couples. Reports show that there were overeight million single parents in the United States in the 1980’s(Ziehl 42). The number has doubled over the years. Equally, overtwelve million children are living with single parents. Out of thisnumber, more than 80% live with their mothers while the remainingpercentage lives with their fathers (Sundeen 485). From the currenttrend, it is evident that this number will rise in the future. Mostof the children born in the 1980’s can be sure to expect to livewith a single parent at some point in their lives before theireighteenth birthday.
Fromthis rising trend of single parents, the subject has become ofinterest to many scholars and researchers studying and researchingabout the issue. Most of this research centers on the negative impactsingle parenting have on both the children and the parents. The majorimpact of single parenting is the negative effect on the malechildren growing up with single mothers. The absence of the fatherfigure has been attributed to result in juvenile delinquency amongthe male children who grow up with single mothers (Folk 273). Again,the absence of fathers has also resulted in an increase in the numberof drug abuse cases among children from single parents, poorperformance at schools, poor personal adjustment, and inappropriateidentification of sex roles.
Theother source of stress undergone by single parents and their childrenrevolve around the availability of social, economic, and timeresources to these families (Plight of one-parent families 667). Mostsingle parents undergo great challenges in meeting the financialneeds of the family. In comparison with the married counterparts, youfind that the single parent takes full responsibility for thefinancial needs. On the other hand, married counterparts are in aposition to share the responsibilities and the financial needs of thefamily hence, they are in a position to meet them without muchstrain. The single parents have to undertake these responsibilitiesby themselves and in most cases they are not in a position to meetthem adequately. Also, single parents face a challenge in creatingtime to be around their children. Because of the financial constraintfacing the families, these parents devote most of their time in thecreation of wealth to help meet the financial needs of the family.This denies them an adequate time to be around their children. Suchchildren may end up being emotionally detached from their parents.The scenario as well results in lower grades at school in comparisonwith the counterpart children from married families.
Thechallenges single parents face has a direct relationship with the ageof the child. In a situation where a parent has small kids who arenot yet in the school going age, it becomes more stressful for theparent as they make a decision between going to work or staying athome with the children. Going to work implies seeking the services ofa babysitter which in most cases are not affordable for most singleparents. The other option becomes leaving the child to the friendswho could make the child develop depression because of the challengesthey experience with the neighbors as most of them tend to neglecttheir needs to take care of those of their children.
Inas much as there are schools and nurseries for these children oncethey reach school going age, the challenges do not end at such. Inalmost all the cases, the school hours do not coincide with theparent’s working hours. This implies that the children need to bepicked from the school at a time when the parents are still at work.It is unfortunate that the schools that are within the financialstatus of the single parents lack the occupational or play centerswhere the children can be safe while playing as they wait for theirparents to pick them (Plight of one-parent families 668). Besides,the schools do not charge high fees enough to pay the teachers andcaregivers for them to remain at the workstation hours after theworking time. Such children in most cases feel physically andemotionally deprived because they lead a life which is a completecontrast to those of the neighboring children from married andfinancially well up children. This happens especially after thechildren attain an age where it is clearly evident to them that thelife they lead, regarding their affordability to clothes andengagement to hobbies is a complete contrast to that of the childrenfrom married families.
Fromthe challenges and stresses the single parents, especially mothersundergo, researchers have studied and come up with strategies to helpdeal with the plight of single mothers. These researchers proposethat there is a need for the government to help single parents inwhichever way that would ease their daily stresses. The governmentcan open up schools for single parents with subsidized levies. Thegovernment can also employ caregivers who can look after the childrenafter the school hours as they wait for their parents to pick them.The local government authorities can also set up daycares wheresingle parents can leave their children who are yet to attain theschool going age. There are cases in which the parents are single andstruggling to make ends meet because of irresponsible father figures.In such cases, the government can come up with policies that ensurethese fathers are forced to be responsible for their children. Forexample, for those working yet they do not provide, there can be apolicy that ensures a part of the salary is slashed and send to themothers to ensure the children lead a good life.
Despitethe findings above, there are cases in which single parents and theirchildren lead a better life than those from married families. Youfind that such children attend the best schools and as a result, postgood grades at school. The children are well clothed, and the parentscan also afford taking them to social and fun activities, which aresometimes not affordable to children in married families. Again,there are single parents as a result of divorce from separating withabusive parents. In such a situation, the children and the parentthey are living with enjoy much peace and emotional stability asopposed to when they were living with both parents (Hanson 125).School going children from such families start performing better atschool because they are now living a more emotionally stable life.
Unfortunately,there are other cases in which the singlehood is as a result ofirresponsible father figures or worse still, the death of one parent.In such a case, it becomes hard for the single parent and thechildren to cope with the new status and could have a negative effecton their lives. The children and the single parent may developdepression and depression related conditions. Such children live anemotionally constrained life and will most likely post lower gradesat school. If working, the single parent may become unproductive atwork as a result of the depression they suffer from living as singleparents.
Becauseof the challenges the single parents undergo as discussed above,there is a need to empower the single parents with knowledge on howto overcome the challenges and bring up their children appropriately.Centers can be set up by the local government to help single parentslearn how to address the challenges they face in parenting and thuslead a better life. As a result, the children are in a position toenjoy life better and live an emotionally stable life because theparent has the knowledge on how to handle the different challengesthey might be undergoing.
Variousreasons result in single parents with children. The parents couldhave divorced or separated after marriage, a spouse could have passedaway or as a result of teenage or out of wedlock pregnancies.Whichever the cause, single parents with children face almost similarchallenges. Such parents have a heavy financial burden to meet andmost of the time they spend a lot of time working denying theirchildren time resources. Again, other parents lack the much-neededfinances to meet the financial obligations of the family. Because ofsuch challenges, these single parents and their children undergostress and emotional instability in comparison to the marriedcounterparts. The government should thus devise ways of helpingthese single parents and their children address the challenges theyface in life. This could be through offering financial support andempowering the parents with knowledge on how to deal with singleparenting. It is, however, important to understand that not allsingle parents with children face challenges. Some of them lead abetter life in comparison to the married parents and their children.
Folk,Karen. “Single Mothers in Various Living Arrangements.” AmericanJournal of Economics and Sociology. 55.3.272-292.1996. Print.
Hanson,Shirley. “Healthy Single Parent Families.” FamilyRelations. 22.214.171.1246. Print
“Plightof One-Parent Families.” BritishMedical Journal. 2.1585.667-668.1972. Print
Sundeen,Richard. “Family Life Course Status and Volunteer Behavior:Implications for the Single Parent”. SociologicalPerspectives. 33.4.483-500.Print
Ziehl,Susan. “Single Parent Families.” Agenda.22.42.1994. Print.