Single-Parent Families’ Problems


The society expects that both parents will take part in raising children. Sharing of roles among parents makes parenting exercise easier. Where one gets it difficult, the other one can help. It is also the happiness of children to be raised in a united family and where they are accorded the love and care of both parents. However, that is not always the case. Divorce rates have been increasing in the recent past. On the same note, the number of people giving birth out of wedlock is high. These, among other reasons, have led to an increased number of single-parent families. Though those in single-parent families try as much as possible to maintain a normal family, they usually face several problems.

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Economic Problems

In families where both parents live together, they contribute towards the expenses of the house. They can agree that while one partner pays the rent, the other will pay school fees. As such, they do not face financial problems so much. Nonetheless, this is not the case when it comes to single-parent families, especially where women are the only ones taking care of children. Arguably, on average women are lowly paid in workplaces (Lleras 1273).

Moreover, single families lack the contribution of the other partner. A single parent has to take care of every expense in the house alone. He or she has to pay the fee for the children and provide food for them. As a result, single-parent families usually go through financial strains. The case is more pronounced for single mother families than single-father families (Aldwin 287). Due to the financial strains, children coming from single-parent families are highly likely to drop out of school. Moreover, levels of education for children from single-parent families are lower due to lack of enough money to finance higher education.

Problems Balancing Work and Life Issues

Notably, single parents have to work extra hard to provide for their families. This means that they sometimes have to work extra hours or get two jobs. On the same note, parents are expected to attend to the needs of their children. In a family with both parents, there is a possibility of them splitting duties. For single parents, the case is different. They have to attend to all duties individually. After work, they have to go back home and attend to their children. Consequently, they cannot get time to attend to social functions or even reflect on their issues (Hymowitz par 3).

Behavioral Changes

Children are highly likely to copy the behavior of the people around them, be it good or bad. Therefore, they need to be guided on how to behave in any given scenario. A parent should be close to his or her children to know their behavior and correct them whenever they go wrong. In single-parent families, parents do not usually have enough time with their children. As a result, children are mostly left with house girls or other caretakers. In most cases, these children will take up the behavior they think is best for them. Sometimes these behaviors are bad, and parents realize when it is already late (Smith 128). Consequently, children from single-parent families are highly likely to indulge in drug abuse and sex at early ages. Moreover, these children are at a high risk of engaging in criminal activities.

Effects of Continual Conflict between Parents

Notably, the main reason why we have single-parent families in society is because of disagreement between the two partners. After separation, some parents deal with their disagreements and iron them out amicably. However, there are cases where the problems between the parents are not solved, and they continue to affect their day to day lives. If these conflicts affect parents’ social lives, the children will be stressed.

Parents entering into New Relationships

Human beings are social animals, and seldom do people want to stay single. In this regard, single parents sometimes try to get into new relationships may be in a bid to build new families. It is expected that these new relationships would be for the betterment of the family. Nevertheless, this is not always the case. Sometimes, children and the new partners do not fare on well (Lleras 1288). These lead to conflicts and psychological effects on the family, especially when children want to rebel.

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Emotional Effects

Children in single-parent families go through rough times compared to their mates who come from families with both parents. They are talked about by other children in school, and this affects their self-esteem. They feel abandoned, especially when the one parent present has to work for long hours to support them (Hymowitz par 5). They constantly think that their parents are intentionally ignoring them, and these lead to psychological disorders. As a result, these children end up being emotionally traumatized.

Similarly, cognitive development in kids is highly dependent on bonding with parents. Since the bonding is much lesser in single-parent families, kids do not develop properly. On the other hand, single parents also have to think about every issue that affects their family. When things get out of hand, they become stressed trying to get a way out (Aldwin 292). This usually drains them emotionally and affects children too.

Bad Communication between Parents and Children

This is a problem that mostly affects single-father families. It is important to note that men are not very good when it comes to socializing with their children. They can provide for them financially given that they averagely earn more than women. However, they are not as close to children as mothers (Smith 129).

Moreover, men are known to be harsh and rough; thus, children fear to tell them their problems. As a result, children in single-father families are more likely to develop negative behaviors compared to children in single-mother families. On the same note, single parents have less time to spend together with their children. Working for longer hours or taking up two jobs takes much of their time, which they could have used to mentor their children (Amato 79). This can highly affect the type of relationship that exists between them.


Family values have greatly changed compared to ancient times. Nowadays, more and more people are raising children in single families. This can be due to circumstances which are beyond one’s control. However, the day to day lives of people in single-parent families is not the same as those of people in families with both parents. Children in single-parent families have emotional problems while parents have to sacrifice a lot to provide for the family.

Works Cited

Aldwin, Carolyn M. Stress, Coping, and Development, Second Edition: An Integrative Persipective. New York: Guilford Press, 2009. Print.

Amato, Paul R. “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation.” Marriage and Child Well Being 15.2 (2005): 75-96. Print.

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Hymowitz, Kay S. “How Single Motherhood Hurts Kids.” New York Times, 2014. Web.

Lleras, Christy. “Employment, Work Conditions, and the Home Environment in Single-Mother Families.” Journal of Family Issues 29.10 (2008): 1268-1297. Print.

Smith, Dorothy E. Institutional Ethnography as Practice. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.

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