Monday, July 22, 2019

The Effects of Single Parenting on Children Essay Example for Free

The Effects of Single Parenting on Children Essay For as long as human families have existed, the core family group of a father, mother, and the children has been the ideal composition in what could be considered a balanced and fulfilling functional family. There had been many studies of the effects of having certain members of these groups on the family household present and absent. While there are many hypothesis of the effects of the children in the family in household with a missing parent, most of them are indeed negative and there had been studies that these can vary in many different aspects of a child’s upbringing. These effects will be discussed and functionality of the household family itself will be discussed to look at the issues mostly in the mother and child side. This is because typically in a single parent family it is usually the mother that the children will be left with after a divorce or separation takes place. It is true that in many circumstances that a single parent father may be left responsible for the children but this does not seem to occur nearly as likely as many times unwed pregnancies leave the mother responsible for raising the child. The fact is however that these occurrences of single parent families especially for single parent mothers are prevalent enough to be an issue. This is even more so as studies have indicated that unwed births, which increase the amount of single parent families, have been increasing as well. Trends have been found that in from the year 1960 and 1995 an increase of 26. 9% of unwed births has been seen while an increase of 4. 4% between the years 1995 to 2005. Studies in 2004 suggest that the percentage of women of ages 20-24 who have given birth to children are unmarried 55% of the time while women of ages 25-29 are unmarried 29% of the time when bearing children (5). The importance of this issue is well known and has been addressed for a long time since single mother circumstances has always been occurring for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is most likely because the mother herself is the one who gives birth to the child, which naturally begins the relationship with the mother and child promptly at the start of the child’s life. In history men had been always been the sex responsible for representing their nation or group for military conflict and casualties in any engagement is mostly costly to the lives of the men who participate in the actual fighting. The loss of a women’s husband in general if either from war or otherwise will result in the woman being left alone to care for the child. Also since divorce, unwed pregnancies, or even rape will result in the mother’s absence in a father figure for the environmental upbringing for the child, the heart of the research in the single parent family usually involves the effects of the missing father. The importance of the father figure is substantial for the child even in the early days of infancy. Although it is the mother that is more responsible for the nurturing nature that the child requires, it has been shown that a father figure’s presence is significant even during infancy. There are differences in the way that a mother and father interact with a baby although these are limited mostly to one-sided communication and touch between the baby and the parent. The mother as mentioned before has the most interaction with the infant and is usually more comforting often speaking to the infant with more soothing and rhythmical fashion. This is different typically in father’s who usually express themselves in a more upfront manner with more physical touching as well as with firmer and abrupt vocal tones. This is important for the child even at the early stages of its development since these types of interactions from the father stimulate the child in a more fun, exciting, and adventurous level. A child that has these stimulations tend to score higher in brain development and critical thinking tests (6). The importance of a father figure is more prevalent in early childhood through the notion of physical play. Besides from the child having opportunity for fun through interaction with another person, a rougher and more challenging (though still comforting) environment that is beneficial for development. This type of play which is more predominant when provided from a father can present the child the opportunity to learn his own physical boundaries, the effect of its own actions on its surrounding world, and to learn about its own emotions while discovering the notions of winning and losing. Studies have proven that interactions with the father through play and otherwise teach children to become more emotionally aware of themselves and others. Studies have shown that these children will also get along better with siblings and peers better due to these emotional developments (6). These benefits for the child can also have lasting effects into later life for developing relationships with others. The father figure is also usually more responsible for influencing challenges and trying new things for young children. This is significant for the development of the child’s problem solving skills as well as his or her self-esteem when able to succeed in new or challenging situations. These can also help build independence as a father figure tends to allow the child to explore the world and try things out for him or herself. The father figure is also more responsible for disciplinary action towards the child which not only teaches the child what kind of behavior is appropriate or not, but also teaches them to be responsible for their actions. Not only by providing discipline, the father figure also sets a role model of responsibility that can cause the child to become less troublesome, able to take responsibility, and not blame others for their circumstances (6). From the start of the child’s life it is evident that the role of both parents is important for the development in healthy children. Aside from the individual roles which are provided by the two parents separately, the problems of having just one parent in the household to take responsibility of the child by him or herself can be hampering for the child’s development as well. There have been correlations that single parent family households may not provide the best living environment for a child. These negative aspects can originate from the actions of the single parent and from the child due to the differences in the environment of a single parent household. These can be because of economic issues as a single parent mother will have more responsibilities for herself to support the family without the assistance of a spouse. These responsibilities can also be trickled down to the child as well and both aspects can be stressful to the mother and to the child. Both of these factors can separately be detrimental to the physical and mental health to the child specifically (1). Studies show that adolescents that are raised by single parents tend to score lower in psychological tests which indicate lower levels of self-esteem, mental health, the ability to concentrate and learn in school, and to interact socially with others (1). There are several variances to how each of these types of results can occur with relevance to being raised in a single parent household. Stress being one of them can be shared by both the child and the parent as the presence in one can cause the other family member to experience it as well. The stress can occur from both economic and social hardships from being a single parent. With the higher level of responsibilities being put on the single parent, it is often seen that the child is left with more household duties than children with both a mother and a father. The higher amount of chores and stress brought on from them coupled with the stress felt by the child from parent can have negative effects on the child emotionally. The stress and worsen moods generated from these living conditions can increase the occurrences of mental illness and also bad behavior (1). This is also harder to deal with for the single parent as the larger workload put upon them and the stress that is brought with it leaves them with less resources and time to appropriately interact with the child. It can be noted also that adolescent children do communicate better with a single parent more and family decisions are made more so with participation with the child. This interestingly however correlates with more determents to mental health as well as self-esteem to the child (1). This can be because the said interactions between the parent and child may not always be positive ones due to the stress discussed earlier. It can be since a single parent may have to lay more responsibility upon the child, fewer rules upon the child’s behavior may be present which can have negative effect on the child’s mental health due to higher levels of insecurity. The higher level of decision making left on the child having negative effects on self-esteem and mental health may be due to greater insecurity and thoughts of incompetence from the child (1). All of these factors of stress, emotional stability, and mental health can have detrimental effects on not only the child’s academic and social progress but also later in life in the work environment as well as parenting their own offspring as well. The physical wellbeing of the child must also be addressed as those may also be compromised when brought up in a single parent family. The ability to provide all the needs to the child in a single parent household are typically lower due to the single parent having less time and resources. Although social programs are available for these situations, studies still prove that single parent children often receive less medical attention than those from with both parents. Plutzer showed in a study that only 57% of children have been brought to dental care facilities by their mothers while a 71% of those from double parent families have been seen (2). These can be again since the single mothers may not have the time to fully attend to these healthcare needs as a discrepancy can be seen in the health care even to the mothers themselves. This is most likely supported by the fact that interventions from the mentioned social programs take more consideration to the single mother families. This may fortify the thought that economic status may not play as big of a role in what can be provided for all these issues for the single parent children. If economic situations may not be the more contributing factor for these underprivileged children, it may be more to the parenting and relationship with the child and single parent that can be the cause. A study has been done to research environmental factors that can cause developmental disorders on young children that focus on children before adolescence and even infancy. These studies have indicated that children that have been raised by single parents are more likely to develop persuasive developmental disorders as well as mental retardation (3). It has also been shown that even in children with both parents present to them that these issues have higher occurrences due to inadequate parenting indicated in low test scores in communication and affected response from either or both parents. But to focus on these issues relating single parenting, it can be said that these problems are from parent performance when considering just environmental factors. It should be mentioned however that economic issues can have an effect in-directly to the higher amount of developmental problems seen in the children brought up by single mothers. The said before stress put on single mothers can cause inadequate parenting starting from birth and could have additive effects on the child during its development. Studies has also indicated that single mothers also have a higher chance of having mental disorders such as depression which can also be detrimental to raising the child at all stages of his or her upbringing (3). This falls back on the interaction with the child and mother that this interaction is much lower when the mother suffers from such ailments. Though studies on developmental disorders and especially mental retardation on young children and infants is relatively new, these can be a productive incentive to hit the issue of young people with behavior problems from a new angle. This is such since studies have proven that children with persuasive developmental disorders are much more likely to have more serious mental issues later in life. Also since mental retardation is predominantly thought to have more genetic causes than environmental. However more studies have proven that environmental factors especially with parent child relations can have a greater effect (3). There have been other instances where economic situations have not played the biggest role in the proper upbringing of a child by single mothers. An issue in Malaysia has risen to the increase of adolescent children in the country. It has been observed that a growing problem with adolescent children’s behavior has arisen due to higher levels of drug use, aggressiveness, gang activity, and other antisocial activity. A study was done on the issue with to focus on the home life and relationship with the children and their parents. This was centered on households where there were children being raised by single mothers since there was also a large increase in the amount of single mothers also occurring. The study covered many family backgrounds with varying economic and social statuses as well as single parent and married couple households. The results were that indeed children being brought up in households run by a single mother had higher chances of displaying antisocial behavior. However many variables were also tested such as the differences in income for these single mothers. It was shown that there was not much difference in the amount of children with these issues from single mother households where the mother earned a large income or low income (4). This fact implies that family structure or the interactions between the parent and the child are the reasons for the bad behavior. It could be thought that the income may be an indirect cause of this behavior since the workload and stress would affect the single mother, who does not have as many benefits in Malaysia. Since however this particular study did not see much correlation between the antisocial behavior of the children and the income of these single mothers, it can be assumed that family structure may play a larger role in the issue. The Islamic family has a core family style that involves having a father figure particularly active during the adolescent stage of the child. These roles that the older male figure in the household is to allow the child to experience the outside world and the responsibilities that come from the culture outside of the household (4). The absence of these older male figures to provide this to the children may put greater stress on the mother who has to solely be responsible for providing all the needs to herself and her children. This hypothesis is further strengthened by the results of the studies that even fully complete families with both he mother and father have seen increases in the amount of antisocial adolescents due to lackluster parenting (4). These ideas have been expressed earlier when discussing the other studies but are further reinforced by this one especially since this was done in a foreign context where the culture differs greatly from in the United States. Though there are many issues that can arise in children from single parent families and those issues can result in a variety of reasons, the focus on the studies presented show that a large amount of problems can come from the large responsibility put on single mothers. The single mothers put at a disadvantage to not having a partner must tend to the needs of her child both emotional and substantially, while at the same time supporting herself. This is a daunting task as much consideration must be put on raising a mentally and physically healthy child. Single mothers are left at an economic disadvantage compared to married mothers obviously, but the main issues come to the interaction between the parent and the child. These important interactions often become deterred one way or another due to the larger responsibilities put on the mother (and sometimes the child) to survive and the stress put upon the mother may affect the mood and psychological state she may be in. These all can have negative impacts on the child which can range from less than adequate habits for physical health, sociemotional issues that can result in antisocial behavior, or even possibly mental retardation and developmental disorders that can result from the lack of parenting during infancy. The biggest issue most likely stems down to the absence of both parents in the child’s life, however most social studies until recently have focused on the economical issues that these single mothers have to deal with. The social programs especially in the United States help with the lower amount of income that single mothers make however, while these income issues may have indirect causes to the problem, it is becoming more prevalent that the parent-child interactions may be the focus and should be implemented in further study as well so that the population may be educated for better care of these children.

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