DUE DATE: 4/28/11
Single parenting is also known as lone or solo parenting. A single parent is one who brings up or raises a child or children without the help of the other biological parent. This help is mostly physical and is usually considered financial and emotional. Single parenting is a very difficult prospect for everyone who happens to get caught in that situation. It is also important to note that single parenting can occur through voluntary or unavoidable circumstances.
In the first case, an individual decides that he or she wants to bring up children alone and this may be achieved through the following ways:
Surrogate motherhoodAdoptionArtificial inseminationDivorce In the second case, the lone parent is forced to bring up and take care of the children because of unavailability of the other biological parent, caused mainly by unavoidable circumstances. These circumstances may include the following:
Most people have a negative attitude towards single parenting and believe that children who are brought up by single parents are inclined to develop bad habits or other behaviors that are considered unwanted by the normal society. Although this is true in some cases, single parenting also has its benefits.
Single parenting is nowadays considered a part of almost every society worldwide. It has come to be recognized and accepted as an unavoidable situation mostly in Western countries, and it is becoming even more common. In other traditional societies however, single parenting is considered an abomination and instances in which it occurs are very rare.
In traditional societies mainly African, there is still a strong belief in inheritance where a woman whose husband has passed away must be married by another man presumably to take care of her.
Apart from the inheritance issue, most African societies have refused to accept the fact that the modern woman is different and that she is capable of taking care of herself together with her children. It is possible for her to go to school, get a good job and have children whenever she wants to.
In the American society single parenting is a very common and acceptable thing. In 2006, for example, there were 12.9 million single parents in the United States, but out of those 80% were female. The percentage of single parents has almost doubled since 1970, but since 1994 the growth and increase has been steady at around nine (9) percent.
In Australia in 2003, 14% of all families were single parent families. It is said that 31% of all babies born in Australia since 2001 have been born to women who are not married.
In the United Kingdom, as of 2009, there are 3 million children who have been born or are being brought up by single parents who number around 1.9 million.
Around 25% of families that have dependent children have been discovered to be single parent families. Out of the 25%, around 11 percent are male single parents.
In another example in South Korea, 1.6% of births that were recorded in 2007 were to single women. Out of those, 70% are said to have chosen to go with the adoption option.
Although these are specific examples from mostly Western countries, they represent what the situation is in many other parts of the world including Africa. The fact is that single parenting is a reality now and is something that today’s society cannot run away from.
Effects Of Single Parenting
The reason most people tend to shun children who are from single parent families is that they are always considered to have been poorly raised. As a result they tend to display some negative behaviors or attitudes that have come to be associated with any person who comes from a single parent family.
Although single parenting has its negative effects, it also comes with some benefits not only for the parent but also the child. Children from single parent families do not all turn out bad, and there are notable examples of people who have been raised by single parents but have gone on to make a difference in society.
This is the most common denominator among single parent families. Most of them tend to be poor and live below the poverty line or just above it.
In a General Household Survey conducted in the United Kingdom it was discovered that 52% of single parent families lived below the poverty line that is defined and recognized by the government. And this was after housing costs were considered.
The reason for this is that most single parents struggle to provide everything for their children either because they do not have good jobs or because they incur too many expenses in the process. In an ideal family costs are usually shared, and this reduces the financial burden that may be placed on either of the parents.
In a single parent family there is nobody else to share the costs or contribute, and as a result all the money that a single parent gets is geared towards providing for the family. This means that very little funds are saved or put to good use in order to develop economically and socially.
This is the shunning or disrespect of people from single parent families and single parents as well.
Although single parenting has become a common feature in today’s society, there are people who still believe that it is abnormal or wrong for children to be brought up by single parents. Because of this, children from single parents are subject to ridicule, abuse and bullying simply because they are from single parent families.
Single parents also tend to be treated with disrespect or contempt by the people around them and this leads to poor social development among children because they tend to be withdrawn and very defensive. Single parents feel the effects of stigmatization and this can be passed down to their children.
Lower Educational Attainment.
Because most of them live below the poverty line, majority of single parents struggle to provide even the most basic of needs sufficiently to their children. Education is one of the areas in which children from single parent families perform poorly and tend to lag behind. Since they cannot support themselves adequately and have access to basic things like food, clothing and housing, education is considered a luxury.
Most single parents cannot support their children in their quest to acquire good education simply because they lack the financial capability to do so.
Apart from this, children form single parent families also have difficulties in learning and as a result of poor performances in their studies they tend to drop out of school before completing their education.
Children from single parent families spend a lot of time with their parents, and this is mainly because most of the time they are usually together. Although many single parents may not be regularly around for their children, they make up by spending a lot of quality time with them. They also are very protective and usually do all they can to ensure their children are safe and well taken care of.
Apart from this, single parents recognize the importance of spending time with their children since there is no other parent for the kids to look up to. They only see their parents and therefore develop very strong bonds that help them grow and develop later in life.
It is usually said that it takes an entire village to raise a child, and this could not be truer when you consider the situation in single parent families. Single parents normally have little time to spend with their children because they have to juggle work and other important matters while at the same time be there for their kids.
Because of this, it is normal to find children being raised by their grandmothers or any other people who are not their biological parents. Children from single parent families also spend a lot of time with people in their immediate surroundings since they are often left in their care and therefore find it easy to integrate with them.
Children from single parent families do not just have a token of chores or duties to do like their counterparts from ideal families. They are usually heavily involved in whatever activities in their households. This is because they are usually brought up through a lot of struggle and therefore cannot be afforded the luxury of just sitting back and having things done for them.
For instance you might have a single parent family where there is only the parent and maybe two kids. The children cannot watch their mothers or fathers do everything by themselves since this would appear wrong, while the parents also want their children to be participative in household activities,
As a result of this, children from single parent families tend to be more responsible and willing to work compared to those from ideal family setups.
Conclusion. It is apparent that single parenting is going to be with us for a very long time now that it is firmly entrenched in our society. The most important thing is to recognize that everybody is equal, regardless of whether you are from a single parent family or an ideal family setup. It is ignorant to treat someone unfairly because he or she is from a single parent family.
Apart from this, it is also important to identify and try to combat the chief contributors of single parenting, which are mainly poverty. This will ensure that the structure of the society is preserved and that all children are given the chance to grow up in complete households where they are able to experience adequate care, love and security.
Park, Hyunjoon. Effects of Single Parenthood on Educational Aspiration and Student Disengagement. New York: Norton, 1992.
Sacks, G. Boys without fathers is not a logical new idea. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.(Little Rock, Arkansas). September 4, 2005.
Pong, Suet-ling. The School Compositional Effect of Single Parenthood on 10th Grade Achievement, Sociology of Education. New Haven: Yale UP, 1986.
Richards, Leslie N.; Schmiege, Cynthia J. Family Relations, Vol. 42, No. 3, Family Diversity. (Jul., 1993), pp. 277–285.Dependent Children: 1 in 4 in lone-parent families,” National Statistics Online, National Statistics, United Kingdom (July 7, 2005) . Accessed at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1163 on July 17, 2006.