What are the effects of single parenting on a child?

A single parent brings up a child without the assistance of a partner. The effect of single parenting on a child may be good or bad.
A single parent brings up a child without the assistance of a partner. The effect of single parenting on a child may be good or bad.

Single parenting refers to a parent who  brings up children without the assistance of a partner. There are varying reasons why a single parent may bring up a child alone without help from a partner. It could be that they were in a relationship that ended. Other parents may opt to become single parents, and in other cases, a partner may have passed away.

All parents want to see their children succeed in school and life. However, despite the desire to be there for their kids and support their academic efforts, single parents can find it hard to achieve this desire fully. Children from a single-parent family are less likely to finish school compared to children with two parents.

The single parenting effect on child development can be good or bad. However, despite the effect that single- parenting might have on children, they can grow up happily, successfully, and well-adjusted. With extra care, single parents can raise successful children with excellent overall development in their social and emotional lives. The negative effects of single-parenting on children are as follows:

Developmental Problems

Many developmental problems for children of single parents revolve around their progress in school. They tend to get lower grades, and their dropout rate is higher than their counterparts from two-parent families.

Single parents are more likely to work more hours to make ends meet. They often don't have enough time to assist the child with their schoolwork. Children who have to work to help pay expenses have less time to focus on their schoolwork.

Economic Hardships

Plentiful economic resources allow parents to meet their children's economic needs. When there are two parents in the home, they can pool resources and are less likely to struggle with insufficient income. Single-parent families are more likely to experience financial problems because they only have one earner. Single-parent children can feel frightened, stressed, and frustrated by the difference between their lives and their friends'.

Psychological Effects

Children of single parents are more prone to various psychiatric illnesses, alcohol abuse, and suicide attempts than children from homes with two parents. One of the common reasons for single parenting is divorce. It's not uncommon for children to be exposed and even drawn to the conflicts between the parents during and even after divorce, which may leave children feeling lonely, abandoned, and even guilty.

Single parents are more likely to experience disruptions such as moves and remarriage. Major changes can affect the children. Kids do well in a controlled environment. Any emotional turmoil and uncertainty may lead to increased psychological problems.

Positive effects of single parenting

While hearing about the adverse effects of single parenting can be overwhelming, there are several positive effects on kids raised by one parent.

Stronger Bonds

Single parents spend more quality time with their children. They tend to develop a strong and unique bond with their child that may not have been possible to achieve in a two-parent home setting.

Experience Interaction with an Authentic Community

Children raised by a single parent often grow up within a community of supporters. Extended family and friends are likely to take part in the lives of the children. In other cases, some single parents choose to participate in various community groups such as churches and support groups that interact with the whole family.

Share Responsibilities

Children from a single-parent family are much more likely to be accustomed to handling responsibilities and contributing to family operations. These children understand the value of taking responsibility and many enjoy performing tasks they know are real contributions.

Maturity

Single parents have to work harder, and their children have to collaborate with them for the good of the family. The children also learn how to deal with disappointments and turbulent emotions.

How to release single-parenting stress

Raising kids alone is not easy. You have no one to support or share your dilemmas and concerns. However, with proper planning and the following tips, it's possible to hack the task:

  • Set up a routine that offers your child a sense of security. A consistent bedtime, wake-up time, and mealtime will help you achieve this.
  • Take care of yourself to avoid burdening your child with too many negative emotions such as stress, anger, or sadness.
  • Your children require unconditional love with plenty of support, protection, and encouragement.  
  • Set up ground rules that promote discipline and good behavior

Even with all the challenges, single parents can bring up successful children. Show your child love, respect, and positivity to ensure that your child thrives in life.        

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Medically Reviewed on 8/12/2021
References
SOURCES:

American Psychological Association: "Single parenting and today's family."

Better Health: "Single Parenting."

BMJ Open: "Health outcomes, healthcare use and development in children born into or growing up in single-parent households: a systematic review study protocol."

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Child Development: "Effects of stress and social support on mother-child interactions in single- and two-parent families."

Journal of Child and Family Studies: "Impact of a Father Figure's Presence in the Household on Children's Psychiatric Diagnoses and Functioning in Families at High Risk for Depression."

Lange, M. and Dronkers, J.: "SIX Single parenthood and children’s educational performance: inequality among families and schools."

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Raising Children: "Single parents and positive single parenting."

Social Science and Medicine: "The single parent family and the child’s mental health."

The Harvard Gazette: "Two-parent homes aren't the key for all."