Approximately 20 million children in the United States live with only one parent, according to KidsHealth.org. In addition to separation and divorce, the death of one parent is another reason for single-parent homes. Growing up in a single-parent home can present both positive and negative effects on children.
A single-parent home can negatively affect a child's performance in school. These children are more likely to drop out of school and receive lower grades than children whose families are still intact. Single parents likely have to work more to support their children, causing them to not have as much time to spend with them. These children receive less attention and guidance on their homework from their parents.
Children who grow up in single-parent homes are less likely to have as many financial resources as children with both parents present, according to Dr. Robert Hughes of the University of Illinois. However, these children are more affected by the life disruptions that result from less money, rather than money itself. An economic change can cause some children to move out of their neighborhood or change schools, resulting in problems for the child.
A single-parent home can have negative effects on a child's psyche. These children may feel hostile toward their parents for separating or divorcing, leading to psychological problems. According to Dr. Vicky Bowden, author of "Children and Their Families," children who are raised by only one parent are more likely to develop mental disorders than those with both parents present.
A single-parent home can have positive effects on children as well. Children in single-parent families often exhibit strong responsibility skills, as they are expected to help with household chores while their parent works. They may develop a better relationship with their parent because they depend on each other for support. Additionally, these children become aware of the difficulties marriage can create, causing them to be more realistic and to put marriage off until they are ready for the responsibility.
- Kids Health.org: Living With a Single Parent
- Adoption.com: Single Parenting and Children's Academic Achievement
- Parenting 24/7; The Effects of Divorce on Children; Robert Hughes; April 2009
- University of Florida: Strengths of Single Parent Families
- "Children and Their Families: The Continuum of Care"; Vicky R. Bowden, Cindy S Greenberg; 2010
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