The Effect on Children in Single-Parent Home in the Society


TheEffect on Children in Single-Parent Home in the Society


Singleparenting has been so prevalent in the US. A large number ofchildren, at some point in their life, live with a single parent.This paper has focused on the effect on children in single-parenthome in the society. It has been evidenced that children growing insingle-parent families experience both positive and negative impacts.Nevertheless, what matters most is the kind of parenting style usedas well as the child’s personality.

Accordingto Anderson (2002) a large number of children in the US live in asingle-parent family by the age of 15 years. The past two decadeshave evidenced increased single-parent families, particularly amongAfrican American and Latino families. In 2000, children who livedwith single parents was 21 percent (Ermisch &amp Francesconi, 2000).Out of these, 53 percent were African American (Sigle-Rushton &ampMcLanahan, 2004). Most of such families are led by women.Single-parent families are caused by various factors includingincarceration, death and divorce among others. Such families face arange of challenges while it affects both the parent and theirchildren. Researchers have evidenced that single-parent families haveboth positive and negative effects on children (Barajas, 2011).However, the majority of studies have argued that negative impactssurpass positive ones. The current paper explores the effects onchildren in single parents’ home in the society.


Awide array of literature has been conducted on the effects onchildren in single-parent families. According to Andersson (2002),children who are brought up in single-parent’s home have a highlikelihood of experiencing neglect as well as ill-treatment. Singleparents have been evidenced to go through stressful times and as aresult, may end up mistreating their children. In fact, singlemothers have a high probability of ill-treating their childrencompared to single fathers (Ermisch &amp Francesconi, 2000).

Accordingto Amato (2005), children brought up in single-parent’s homesexperience low academic achievement. They face a wide array ofproblems that result in poor education results. Besides, suchchildren experience increased levels of school dropouts. The risk forschool dropout increases by 150% among white children, 100% amongHispanic children, and 76% among black children (Barajas, 2011). Lowachievements are caused by low household incomes considering thatsingle parents are forced to provide all alone (Jackson &ampScheines, 2005). Single parents are forced to work more in order toprovide fro themselves, as well as their children’s. As a result,the children are given less guidance particularly with theirassignments. It has been evidenced that single parenting has moreadverse impacts on Hispanics compared to Whites. Among Hispanics, 24%experience low academic achievement, 17% among the whites whileblacks experiences only 13% (Amato, 2005).

Asexplained by McLanahan (2007), children from single-parents and whoreceive psychological support from their other parent tend to improveon their academic achievements.

Childrengrowing in single-parent families have a high probability ofexperiencing social problems (Ermisch &amp Francesconi, 2000).According to a study conducted in 2005 that was published in “TheFuture of Children”, such children obtain ineffective parenting onthe basis that they lack enough psychological support. Socialproblems are contributed by many factors, among them familystructure.

KeithAblow, a psychiatrist and the author of the article “ThePsychological Impact of Single Parenting” argued that childrenbrought up in single-parent’s home experience some sort ofemotional or psychological challenges (Sigle-Rushton &amp McLanahan,2004). Such challenges are caused by various factors including whytheir parents separated and the welfare of their other parent. Suchchildren are also concerned of their security while struggling withloyalty problems. Poverty is another issue linked withsingle-parenthood (Jackson &amp Scheines, 2005). It results instress as well as emotional impacts on children, encompassingfrustration, sadness, difficulties in socializing, low self-esteemand amplified probability of violent acts (Ermisch &amp Francesconi, 2000). It may also result in drug abuse and increasedincarcerations among such children.

Somescholars argue that single-parent families result in positive impactson children (Murry et al. 2001). However, such aspects as parentingmethods and personality types are major determining factors. A studycarried out at the Cornell University demonstrated that childrengrowing in single-parent families and where positive parenting isexhibited demonstrate positive effects on school achievement andsocial life (Jackson &amp Scheines, 2005). Besides, such childrendemonstrate increased responsibility skills considering that they arefrequently involved in undertaking different family duties. Strongerand closer bonds are also generated between the parent and theirchildren, as the two rely on one another all through their life.


Forthe purpose of this study, secondary sources of data collection wereused. They included article reviews, peer reviewed journals, booksand working papers. A wide array of literature has been conducted onthe topic and the integration of the same offered sufficientinformation to complete the paper. Some scholars focused on comparingchildren growing on single-parent families to those with bothparents. All these sources provided rich information for thecompletion of the current study.

Resultsand Discussion

Moststudies on the effects on single parenting on children have focusedon comparing how children on different ethnic groups are affected.Such studies have also focused on the difference between childrengrowing in single-parent’s homes and those with both parents. Themajority of the scholars have evidenced that adverse impacts surpasspositive effects in single parenting. Single parenting results in lowacademic achievements, emotional and psychological distress,increased social problems, drug abuse, feeling of loneliness as wellas ill-treatment (Barajas, 2011). It has been evidenced that suchimpacts are caused by frustrations, worries about their otherparents, as well as questions regarding their family failures.Certainly, it is difficult for children to understand the reasonstowards their family failures and with such little understanding,frustrations become the order of the day.

Nevertheless,some studies have evidenced that single parenting results in positiveimpacts. However, for this to take place, positive parenting stylesmust be present. In addition, the child must exhibit positivepersonality traits. These together have been evidenced to result inpositive academic achievement as well as sociability. In this case,it is upon the parents to use positive parenting methods for theirchildren. This would not only help in creating a stronger bondbetween the two, but would also help children feel cared for.

Ithas been evidenced that single parenting has more adverse impacts onHispanics compared to Whites. Among Hispanics, 24% experience lowacademic achievement, 17% among the whites while blacks experiencesonly 13% (Jackson &amp Scheines, 2005). The risk for school dropoutincreases by 150% among white children, 100% among Hispanic children,and 76% among black children (Barajas, 2011). From this is clear thatsingle-parenthood has more adverse effects on white children comparedto blacks. The reason is that family disruption eradicates most ofthe benefits and advantages linked to being white.

Themajority of the challenges evidenced among children in single-parenthomes is the absence of the father figure (Barajas, 2011). This is soconsidering that most single-parent families are led by the mother.Considering that mothers are associated with much emotional distressand stress, they pass the same to their children. The lack of afather figure has more implications for a family beyond caring fortheir children. Fathers play a major role in supporting theirfamilies financially, reducing the probability of draining intopoverty (Murry et al. 2001). The latter has been evidenced to affectchildren academically. The poor economic status of single-parenthomes, together with other factors causing constant worry andtension, is a key basis of issues and challenges experienced bychildren.

Ina nutshell, dissimilarities exist on the effects of single parentingon children. While some scholars argue of the positives, others argueabout the negatives. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that whetherchildren grow on a single-parent family or a two-parent family, whatmatters is the parenting styles put in place to ensure that suchchildren feel cared for.


Single-parentinghas been on the rise in the US in the past few decades. While this isso, the effect on children has been a major issue. Different studieshave been conducted to explore how single-parent homes affect thechildren. As evidenced in the current studies, the negative effectssurpass the positive impacts. Children of single parents have beenevidenced to perform poorly in schools they have increased emotionaldistress, social issues, high rates of school dropouts, as well asinvolvement in drug abuse. On the other hand, single parenting hasbeen evidenced to increase parent-child bond and better achievementin school. Single parents should have greater understanding of suchissues to ensure the implementation of appropriate parentingstrategies.


Amato,P. R. (2005). The impact of family formation change on the cognitive,social, and emotional well-being of the next generation. JournalIssue: Marriage and Child Wellbeing,15(2).

Andersson,G. (2002). Children’s experience of family disruption and familyformation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries. DemographicResearch,7(7), 343-364.

Barajas,M. S. (2011). Academic achievement of children in single parents’homes: A critical review. TheHilltop Review,5(1): 13-21.

Ermisch,J. &amp Francesconi, M. (2000). The increasing complexity of familyrelationships: Lifetime experience of lone motherhood andstepfamilies in Great Britain. EuropeanJournal of Population16:235–249.

Jackson,A., &amp Scheines, R. (2005). Single mothers’ self-efficacy,parenting in the home environment, and children’s development in atwo-wave study. SocialWork Research,29(1), 7-20.

McLanahan,S. (2001). Theconsequences of single motherhood.Retrieved from

Murry,V., Bynumm, M., Brody, G., Willert, A., &amp Stephens, D. (2001).African American single mothers and children in context: A review ofstudies on risk and resilience. ClinicalChild and Family Psychology Review,4,133-155.

Sigle-Rushton,W. &amp McLanahan, S. (2004). Fatherabsence and child well-being: A critical review.New York: Russell Sage Foundation.