Amelia Wang

2019-04-13 15:52

Single Parent versus Two Parent Families

Raising a child is a very difficult and responsible task. Not many parents succeed in it bringing up a polite, kind, clever, physically and mentally healthy, and disciplinable child. A well-known fact is that children raised in different kinds of families a single-parent or a two-parent family – have different upbringing. However, the question is whether a child can be better brought up in a single-parent or in a two-parent family. While single parents claim children are better brought up in a single-parent family, it is still better for children to be raised in two-parent families, since the latter provides more favorable conditions in terms of their social development, psychological development, academic achievement, and health state.

Though there might be numerous disputes regarding the issue of which type of family is better for a child, one should understand that a two-parent family is a social norm, where a child watches both role models male and female. Such an experience allows a child to understand both sexes and transfer the examples he/she sees into the future relationships. Besides, in full families, children get enough attention from both parents, while in one-parent families a parent is not able to pay enough attention to his or her child. The reason is that a single parent should always work harder and more in order to provide the child with everything necessary. However, often such attempts to give a child everything needed are limited only to material goods, while emotional and psychological issues are neglected and considered less important.

Two-parent families better influence children’s social development, since in case a child does not live with parents, his/her behavior suffers greatly. For instance, if children do not live with their fathers, they spend less time with them. As a result, children start displaying more anti-social behaviors either from not learning the male role model or rebelling, because they cannot process their negative emotions. In childhood, people need attention more than ever, since it is a period of formation of their individualities. Due to the lack of attention, they start feeling suppressed, depressed, and even abandoned or unwanted. Besides, many children in a single-parent family tend to blame themselves for the parents’ divorce. Undoubtedly, such thoughts and feelings cannot have any positive impact on a child’s psychology and social development. As a result, such children often become unconfident, angry, apathetic, and withdrawn, which makes their interpersonal communication with the other people challengeable.

Besides, one should take into account the fact that single mothers experience more emotional stress, which also impacts their children. “One of the reasons for poor outcomes for children is the emotional distress of single mothers who may receive little emotional support which will impact negatively on the child”. Indeed, a woman that has to perform duties of both a father and a mother will always be tired, because she has to work constantly. This physical tiredness will inevitably result in less time spent with her child, since she needs to recover from a hard day. Except for physical tiredness, single mothers also face psychological fatigue. Being the only support for a child and having no private life is very difficult for any woman. She may also become angry, suppressed, depressed and, in some cases, even cruel. As a consequence, instead of being supportive and loving for their children, some women constantly yell at them and appear to be irritated in some situations.

In addition to social development of children, two-parent families are better for children’s psychological development. One of the reasons is that single parents face additional stress and have more problems with their physical health that are caused by psychological health problems. If parents are divorced or are in the process of divorcing, the continuing conflict between them causes problems to their psychological well-being and reflects on their children. Besides, such a situation provides less opportunity for children to spend time with their parents. Moreover, it often occurs that parents start dating someone, and this factor greatly impacts children’s psychological health affecting theirs school performance and peer relations as well as causing disruptions of extended family relationships. Parents’ entering new relationships always brings negative result to children and suppresses them. Some children start becoming jealous, because having only one parent, in such situation they feel that they are losing this one as well. Children from single-parent families receive less love than they should. As a result, they are not eager to share it with anyone else.

The second reason for having negative reaction to a parent’s new relationships is that a child cannot image anyone else at the place of his/her father or mother. Big love for the parent from whom a child is apart makes the child feel deep hatred to a person who intends to take place of the parent. It leads to bad relationships with the parent with whom the child lives and brings many problems for the whole family. As a result, finding no support in the family any more, a child can search for it in the other places and among other people. It often occurs that such people get into bad crews, get under bad influence, and commit various crimes.

Finally, two-parent families are better for children’s academic achievement. Research proves that children that live only with one parent face double risk of dropping out of high school than children that live in full families. In addition, children raised by one parent are one and a half time likely to be redundant in young adulthood than children raised in a full family. Moreover, they have a great risk to build a single-parent family, since children copy the role model of their families. Besides, in his research, McLanahan states that, “data show that some of the advantages often associated with being white are really a function of family structure and that some of the advantages associated with having educated parents evaporate when those parents separate”.

One can state that children brought up in single-parent families are less motivated in terms of career development. Single-parent families struggle and earn less money than two-parent families, so a child has lower aspiration to make career with much money. DeGarmo states that, “socialization theories posit parenting practices as mechanisms linking socioeconomic status (SES) and children's academic outcomes”. A mediational model of parenting was investigated probing detached effects that a mother could produce on her child in terms of learning, career, and income. Two hundred and thirty-eight single women, mothers of sons of six to nine years old, participated in the experiment. For the SEM models, each sign of SES was allied with better parenting, which, in turn, had circuitous effects on accomplishment through teaching various activities and behavior at home and school. The direct influence of education on achievement provided by one parent was mediated by the activities that a child watched at home, the direct effect of motherly occupation on success was not arbitrated, and the measures of income had no direct influence on the achievement. It is evident that these findings give emphasis to the importance of discharging the effects of SES and the significance of successful parenting practices as a protecting aspect in the school and home atmosphere for young boys and girls’ school accomplishment during post-divorce amendment.

However, one should never think stereotypically and cannot state that only children that live with both parents develop normally. Indeed, there is a great number of children from single-parent families that also show good results in their development, but still the statistics demonstrate that children from a single-parent family are more likely to confront problems or find it harder to overcome them. Individuals whose parents split up are at greater risk of experiencing psychosomatic problems in their adulthood. This statement is proved and has been documented in many studies. Besides, the relationship and marital stability of such children will significantly decrease. All the above mentioned facts and processes unavoidably result in lower levels of psychological well-being in adulthood.

Many people may also state that there many children who live in single-parent families and are still academically successful. Undoubtedly, this fact cannot be deflated; however, one should take into account that, though they are academically successful, it is much more difficult for them than for children that live in full families. Various studies and statistics show that the rates of academic success of children raised in two-parent families are higher. In the study presented by Amato, two supplementary dimensions of the relationship between a father and a child, including feelings of authoritative parenting and closeness, had a positive effect on the academic success of children and a negative effect on children's internalizing and externalizing problems.

Taking into consideration the above conducted analysis, the exclusive paper scholars state that children must be brought up in full and normal families. Two-parent families are a social norm, and people should try to follow it in order to make their children happy, mentally and physically healthy, socially active, and academically successful.


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