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: http://www.livestrong.com/article/83670-effects-single-parent-home-childs/
Standberry, Lee (2011). Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today. Retrieved: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-issues-facing-our-youth-today.php