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Violet Verysmart

ENG 101-14
Dr. Cassel
15 November 2015

How does being raised by one parent affect a

childs development?

The current generation of children are the

most fatherless generation of all time. Statistics

show that single parenting will continue to rise

overall. Many academics, psychologists, and

reputable behaviorists conclude that children

who are raised by single parents often are

affected differently than children who are raised

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with two active and engaged parents (Pollett).

These children will one day become adults and

when they do, one wonders, what is the best

way to prepare them and nurture them so that

they can enter society as functioning, engaged,

and thriving members?

Single parenting did not gain a significant

foothold in society until the late 1900s.

According to the census in 1960, a total 9% of

children were living in a single parent family.

By 2000 approximately 28% of children were

living in a single parent family. The majority of

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statistical increase happened throughout 1996

and 2000. During this time children with

divorced parents decreased by 1 million and the

children living with a never married (single)

parent increased by a staggering number of

400,000 children. Now for the statistical

breakdown, that would mean that every year

100,000 children were born into a single parent

home within those four years (Narbute). Our

society is changing. Rapidly changing. So many

children are being raised in single parent homes

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and the number is only expected to rise in the

coming decades.

It has been proven that single parenting does

affect the emotional, social, academic, and

economic outcome of a child. Children from

single parent families have less parental support

in their lives. Therefore, they tend to achieve

less in an academic environment and ultimately

a majority of single-parent raised children will

become the typical high school dropout students

versus children raised in a two-parent home

(Narbute) (Amato et al) (McLanahan).

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Additionally, children from single-parent

backgrounds are more likely to live in poverty

later in life (Narbute) (Amato et al)

(McLanahan). These children will often

experience emotional and psychological distress

that can and does lead to a decrease in mental

health (OHara) (Park). Children who come

from broken family structures also struggle in

their personal relationships (Narbute) (Amato et

al) (McLanahan). Later in life when they go to

choose their marriage partners, they typically

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choose poorly and end up divorced (OHara)

(Park) (McLanahan). Essentially, they repeat the

broken cycle again and again. Due to the genetic

and behavioral structure of these children

(which was formed in the single-parent

environment), they struggle and rarely attain

any higher level of success then the level they

were born into (Narbute) (Amato et al)


A large majority of research on the topic of

single parenting contributes to the idea that

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parents being unmarried is the single cause of

the negative effects taking place in a childs life.

However, another vein of research would

suggest that rather than having parents who are

married or unmarried affecting the childs

outcome, the outcome of a childs life is

actually affected by the consistency and

inconsistency of parents. The latter form of

reasoning allows exceptions to the stigmatic

view of children raised in single-parent families

to emerge from the despairing ranks of the

predetermined image. If a single parent

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endeavors to supply consistency in a childs life

many children will have a greater chance of

achieving average or above average status


The effects of single parenting can differ

depending on the cultural profile of an

individual (Pollett). This is based on the fact

that some cultures are more supportive or

accepting of single-parent households (Pollett).

If that concept is correct, then if people in a

society chose to change the way that they

interacted with single parents and their offspring

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it would alter the way that children were

effected by single parenting. Eventually

overturning the negative perception and

providing greater opportunities for the childs

advancement within society.

As mentioned earlier single parenting trends

will only continue to increase. Therefore, a

majority of upcoming adults will be impacted

by the effects of single parenting. Even though

single-parent households have been deemed

untraditional in the past, it is inevitable that

within a few years single-parent households will

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become more commonplace and eventually they

will be considered typical family structures

within the American infrastructure.

To answer the question, How does single

parenting affect children? They are affected in

every aspect of their lives. However, other

factors besides the number of parents can affect

the outcomes for parents raised in single-parent

households. To understand this topic more

fully, it would be helpful to research the major

factors affecting a stable home environment and

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look into ways to mitigate those factors in single

parents homes.
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Works Cited

Amato, Paul R., Sarah Patterson, and Brett Beattie. "Single-Parent Households and Childrens

Educational Achievement: A State-Level Analysis." Social Science Research 53. (2015):

191-202. Academic Search Complete.

McLanahan, Sara. "The Consequences of Single Motherhood." The American Prospect. The

American Prospect, 1994.

Accessed 5 November 2015.

Narbut, Jrat and et al. "Attitudes of Children from Complete and Single-Parent Families

towards Consumption of Narcotic Substances." Applied Research in Health & Social

Sciences: Interface & Interaction 9.1 (2012): 62-67.

O'Hare, Bill. "The Rise-and Fall?-of Single-Parent Families." The Rise-and Fall?-of Single-

Parent Families. Population Reference Bureau, July 2001.

Accessed 16 November 2015

Parke, Mary. Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? Clasp: Center for Law and Social

Policy, Accessed 16

November 2015.

Pollet, Susan L. Single parent households: are the children growing up in them really alright? Accessed 5 November