“The most difficult thing is not spending enough time with my dad really. He might like expect me to phone him, but he’s a parent so he should be taking care of me and phone me. If he really cared he’d phone me every weekend and see how I was getting on at school, spend time with me and help me to do my course work (“What Children from Single Parent Families Have to Say” 13). This is what a typical child living in a single parent family might say when he feels ignored by one of his parents. This could be shocking to some people who believe that single parenthood doesn’t greatly affect a child’s life or attitude (McLanaham 1). But the fact is that not all children who grow up in single parent families are able to maintain a successful life, most of these children might suffer from great difficulties in making a transition to adulthood (Mather 1). These children are more vulnerable to poverty which increases the dangers of growing up in a single parent household to more than just economical ones. Poverty might even cause an increase in the risks of dropping out of school, disconnecting from labor forces, and ending up as a thieves stuck in a room with not even a single parent aside (Mather 1). Early studies suggest that growing up with one parent had no long term effects on the child, but more recent reports show that the effects of parental breakup might sometimes extend to having the children intentionally damage their bodies and some might even commit suicide due to major psychiatric diseases (Single-parent Children at Increased Risk of Suicide). Adolescents who had grown up with only one of their parents during their childhood are twice as likely to suffer from poverty, have low academic achievements, and suffer from low levels of social and emotional well-being (McLanaham 1).
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Poverty is one of the main problems that most single-parent children suffer from. Unlike children living with a regular family, single-parent children usually have only one parent to provide income (Family and Community 10). Without the support of their husbands, single mothers face a difficult challenge in maintaining a stable economy for their family. These mothers have limited financial sources and can’t easily afford to cover their children’s education, child care, and health care costs (Mather 2). For this reason, most of them tend to live with their parents or with other relatives to gain their financial support (Mather 2). Some of these mothers tend to find another option which is returning to school and resuming their education in order to find adequate jobs with reasonable salaries (Family and Community 10). If the father was too busy to take care of his recent family, he should at least ensure that his child’s mother has a good educational rank and good job trainings to ensure that his children successfully pass to the stage of adulthood (Mather). He can’t just leave everything on the mother; he has major responsibilities which he should never ignore towards a child which is in total need of both of his parents.
Most parents miss the fact that their children could understand all what is going on around them; these children realize that their parent can’t afford all what they need and crave for. As a result, they try to minimize their requests and stick to demanding for nothing but the necessities. In a way or another, the children become the ones nurturing their parent instead of them being the ones nurtured. These children’s parent often has no enough money to afford the cost of school trips or any extra activities which blocks any attempt of being able to build any social relationship, what’s amazing and shocking at the same time about most of these children is that they rarely complain and don’t ask for more than what’s available (“What Children from Single Parent Families Have to Say” 25). Poverty could thus damage both financial and social aspects of a child’s life.
Many factors play important roles in the children’s development and affect the way they think and act. These factors include neighborhood characteristics, schools, and peer networks. But the most important factor which affects the child’s growth is the parents themselves who provide the major source of social support in the children’s lives (Mather 1). With the mothers busy finding a way to provide income for their children, the child grows not only with a single parent but also with no parents at all, and the bad effects are thus doubled. These children always demand contact with the non-resident parent and complain about the way he/she is ignoring their presence. Their biggest concerns are the problems among their resident parent, their non-resident parent, and themselves (“What Children from Single Parent Families Have to Say” 13). They always think about every fight that happens and they even sometimes blame themselves. In addition to spending no time with their parents, these children also spend no time with their friends. The lack of money they face causes them difficulties in getting along with their peers; they feel excluded when their friends do activities that require money which they themselves don’t have (“What Children from Single Parent Families Have to Say” 25).
After having suffered from poverty at an early age, children in single parent households become more vulnerable to mental and psychiatric diseases (Single-parent children at increased risk of suicide). The simplest problems could appear as major ones in their view; they need much more care and attention than other children. But the painful fact is that not only do these children face financial poverty, but also time poverty; they repeatedly complain about how much they need attention from their parent who always comes tired from work and needs a long relaxing sleep (“What children from single parent families have to say” 14). These parents can’t realize the fact that their supervision of their children at this stage is extremely important to enhance their well-being. This single parent has less time to monitor his/her children closely, and eventually he/she knows nothing about where his/her children are, who they are with, and what they’re doing (Why Single Parenthood Affects Children 24). Some of these children take advantage of this situation and commit actions like suicide in order to escape from what they think is an unbearable situation (Single-parent Children at Increased Risk of Suicide). This lack of parental monitoring terribly affects the child’s behavior and causes him lots of psychological and emotional problems. Whether or not their mother was remarried, these children are susceptible to the risk of depression which increases with the increase of conflicts among their biological parents (Kawachi et al).
With all the problems they are facing, single parents obviously have no time to get involved in their children’s school activities and usually have no enough money to set high academic goals for their children. These are the major factors which are well known to endanger the academic achievement of children. The more the parents are involved in their children’s school, the less are the problems that their children face in their education. With the lack of a stable educational background, these children face many difficulties in being enrolled in quality universities and eventually in finding quality jobs (Why Single Parenthood Affects Children 24). The poverty of their parents affects their educational achievements in different manners; the ones who grow up poor mostly have lower literacy rates, higher rates of dropping out of school, and even higher delinquency rates (The Causes and Consequences of Children’s Poverty).
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The minds of these children are often busy with their parents’ problems and they have no time to think about their school or about anything related to their education. They are full of nothing but psychological problems and free of academic aspirations. Most of them face difficulties in attending school and thinking about anything other than their parents’ divorce. With all the stress upon them, their academic achievements become less and eventually end up having them drop out of school. While going through a divorce, parents should pay close attention to their children to make sure that they face a low amount of stress. They have to make sure that their children understand very well that they will do anything to reduce the impact of divorce upon their lives (Hawkins). Anger might overcome these children and lead to severe problems at school, some of them might not be able to control their anger and engage in fights with their schoolmates because they only want someone to argue with to relief themselves; they even sometimes engage in fights with their teachers. The more the time he gets involved in fights, the less the time he spends in classroom (Hawkins).
But the fact is that many children raised by single parent mothers grow up to be quite successful. These children are probably the ones who had responsible parents who knew how to treat their children in order to sustain a peaceful life. If this parent took his child out for dinner of even sat with him peacefully on the dinner table in an attempt to listen, his child might happily seize this chance and complain about all what he’s suffering from instead of committing suicide or tearing his skin apart. One hour per day is quite enough to solve the child’s social issues. As for the parent living in poverty, keep it to yourself and never complain about this problem near your children even if you have to live without many things that you are used to. When the children see their parents suffering, they might blame themselves and think that they are the reason for their parents’ depression. Try to find ways to afford even the simplest school trips to help your children fit into the outside world and forget about living with a single parent. It would be a responsible act of the parent if he/she gives his/her child’s school a visit once per week to ask about his/her academic performance and to check whether he/she is facing problems. Single-parenting is not a disaster if the parents were responsible and knew how to act.
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