The Effects of Single-Parenting on Youth

By Zoran Vojnovic

The number of single-parents is increasing in today’s society. There are many different causes to this such as divorce at an early point in their marriage, the father or mother walking out on the family, or the death of one of the parents. Raising a child can be very difficult even in a two parent home, especially with a lower than average income. There can be various amounts of effects on the youth or child when there is only one parent. Some of the challenges these youth face may include economic and financial support, education, structured/organized play, and guidance or influence from the parent. Youth with single-parents have a harder time with financial aid, as the parent is only bringing in one income, compared to two incomes in a two-parent home. It is known that mothers run most single-parent households with the absence of the father. In these cases there usually a low income. When it comes to education, the father’s financial support is important because the mother does not need to work as much. It is said by Marnie Kunz (2014) that the lack of financial support from fathers, causes mothers to work more. This has an affect on the child because they receive less attention and guidance when it comes to school work/homework.

Without the financial support the child may not be able to participate in all the activities they would like. I have had friends who could not participate in more than one sport/activity because they simply cannot afford it living with just one parent. They even had to stop playing certain sports because of the same reason. Unfortunately in today’s society, to play certain sports, you are required to pay hundreds of dollars and in some cases up to two or three thousand. On top of paying all that, in some cases, they also need to pay the user fee, which can be as high as two hundred dollars. Youth need to be able to play structured activities but also unstructured activities to be able to have a positive development. The increase in many of the fees to play sports is having an impact on how many youth actually participate.

There can be emotional effects on single-parent households including both the child and the parent. Having a lower income can create lower self-esteem, increased anger and frustration, and an increased risk of violent behavior. Other emotional factors that may impact the child is feeling of loneliness, and not being able to have that connection and social aspect with other youth. Having both parents can have a positive impact on guidance and influence throughout the development. Single-parent households can lack some of the guidance or influence from a parent especially the fatherly figure.

There are however, positive effects in single-parent households. As Kunz (2014) mentioned that youth can exhibit certain skills such as increased responsibility, independence/dependence. They are asked to help out a lot more around the house providing that responsibility and independence factor. The youth are also more connected with the parent and form close relationships, as they are dependent on one another throughout the child’s development. Kunz (2014) also mentions that children form single-parent households will form stronger bonds with other family members, and including family friends as they are often there to help raise them.


Kunz, Marnie (2014). The Effects of a Single Parent Home on a Child’s Behavior. Retrieved:

Standberry, Lee (2011). Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today. Retrieved:

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4 Responses to The Effects of Single-Parenting on Youth

  1. hvesterb says:

    Great post Zoran. I grew up in a single parent household, so this topic really hits home for me.. Fortunately, my family values sport, recreation, and leisure. I was able to build my leisure repertoire and reap the countless benefits sports and recreation activities have to offer. Search Institute suggests that family strengths are more positively associated with youth well-being than family’s structure. A strong family, regardless of makeup, encourages optimal asset development for youth; increasing skills, healthy relationships, and pro-social behaviors that result in a favorable transition into adulthood.

    Divorce without a doubt can prove to be a barrier for youth development, however, I believe that sport and recreation advocates have the power to lessen the disparities you’ve outlined in your post. Viewing ALL youth as potential assets is a primary principle of youth development. This means programs must be designed to cater to the needs of single parent families. The One Parent Family Association (OPFA) can serve as a beneficial resource for both youth and adults. This volunteer organization offers a variety of sports, recreation, and leisure opportunities that can positively contribute to youth development. This organization can instill values of recreation and leisure in families, build bonding and bridging social capital, and enhance resiliency. Ultimately, I think that educating parents about the principles of youth development will ensure children have the experiences that enable them to thrive!

    -Hannah V

  2. mbell14 says:

    Awesome post Zoran. I never had the experience as a child of being raised by a single parent, but I do think about how different my life would be if my parents split up or if one of my parents passed away. It would be hard to be involved in organized sports because the parent would have to work throughout the day and their schedules would always be different if they had to work more then one job, so that they can stay caught up with their bills. The child would not only suffer from not having time for organized sports, but also would suffer nutrition wise because single parents wouldn’t have the time to prepare healthy lunches for their child and they would also wouldn’t be able to afford healthy foods.
    It’s sad to think that their is an increase of single parenting because of health issues with one of the parents or having an unplanned child.


  3. gregsteele17 says:

    Single -parenting on youth without a doubt has effects on a child’s youth development. Single parents have different challenges than a two-parent family may have such as economics , time management etc. However, this does not have to be used as a crutch but rather as an opportunity for growth and development. Children growing up in two parent or one parent families can experience many of the same effects on youth development depending on the values within the home.

    My parents separated when I was in middle school but they both valued the importance of recreation, sport and leisure in my brother and my life, and made every opportunity to ensure we were granted these opportunities. It may have meant we had to make more choices and decisions it what we wanted to do such as chose between lacrosse or summer hockey etc. However, there are parents together in homes that do not want to invest the time or money into leisure experiences for their children. As the number of single parent families are increasing it is important for organizations to offer programs that meet the needs with after-school programs, funding initiatives etc. Organizations, parents, coaches etc. can be instrumental in instilling values of the importance of leisure and recreation experiences for children and helping bridge the social capital and resiliency in our youth. Whether a child is brought up in a single parent family or with both parents, all the same values are in place and sometimes challenges can be seen as positive and enhance positive youth development. (responsibility, making choices, not always having things given to you, appreciation for things). by Greg S

  4. draywells says:

    Great blog Zoran!
    The number of single parent households has really went up lately, not as many people are staying together and this takes a huge tole on the children’s ability to be involved in various sport and leisure activities. I feel like some sports are to over-prized and it cost way to much to be involved which is really sad because some kids have so much potential but they just don’t have enough money to participate. As you said bringing home only one income will be very tough for parents to be able to let their kids enjoy all these different sport and activities that maybe all their friends are involved with especially with single parents raising multiple kids.
    I grew up in a single parent home with my mom but I was still always getting support from my Dad for anything I needed but after he passed away when I was a teen it was a little harder for my mom to be able to pay for all my training that I had to do, so I ended up coaching on the side to help pay for a little bit of it. Although I didn’t get to go away to every competition like a lot of the kids it was still a positive experience and has made me very independent. I hope in the future they can find a way to utilize sport so that kids in single parent families get to participated fully as other kids.

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