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Single Parenting: A New Way of Life

Essay by   •  December 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,715 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,499 Views

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Since the beginning of man we have learned to form into families and work together, within the family and with other families. This soon formed into family structures, giving each member of the family his or her family role. One example can be shown with prehistoric man and how the men would hunt and protect the village, while the women and children stayed behind and took care of the village (growing food, cooking, taking care of their babies) till the children came of a certain age and began to learn their specific roles as a man or woman. Over time these roles have remained similar, but have changed to keep up with a progressing economy. Today, in a typical family, you will see that the father is normally the one in charge and keeping the family healthy, while the mother is considered as the "vice-president" of the household. The mother can either choose to get a job, part-time or full, or stay at home with the kids. The father, however, still urges to pay most of the bills and most of everything else.

However, in a new economy the family structure has changed, bringing about new ideas and ways of life. Many mothers have began to take equal status with the father, or higher. This equal status has helped popularize a new form of parenting and bring a new standard to the family structure. This new style is single parenting, and it is being adopted by many single mothers and fathers wanting to become a parents. The idea of single parenting has brought many questions and concerns to the table. One of the concerns to this style of parenting is how it will affect the children in school. Another concern is if single-parents have the time to take care of their children. One other concern is the well-being of children living in single-parent households compared to children living in two-parent households. On another note, one of the biggest questions people and experts have is what gender of the parent is best for a child with a single-parent. There are many views and opinions on the idea of single parenting compared to parenting with two parents. Many think having two parents is best for children, but have failed to look for facts and make their own opinions.

Academics have become a major part of society. Academics can now decide what college students go to, how much scholarship money students can get, and even future jobs students can receive. Many experts think children who have two parents are at an advantage, academically, over children who have a single-parent. Pong states, "Children living in single-parent homes face a higher risk of low academic achievement and dropping out than do children who live in two-parent families" (682). Many people agree with this idea, and it brings great controversy when the subject comes about. Many single parents don't have time to help their child in school due to their jobs and other responsibilities. This also puts great stress on the child because he or she is doing poorly in school. Many experts think that children coming from a single-parent have low scores in school due to their parent's income. "Family income" Pong suggest, "has been found to be positively related to children's educational attainment and achievement" (683). However, there are many people and experts who believe the number of parents a child has doesn't affect school scores. They believe it is up to the child to apply his or her knowledge in school and being the child of a single-parent is not an excuse to have failing grades. Some experts believe low test scores can also be linked to single parents of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Therefore, they believe some racial and ethnic groups have poorer scores than others bringing down the overall single-parent rate of test scores. Many experts, however, still link low test scores to single parenting regardless of racial or ethnic background.

Another concern, mainly found in the single parents themselves, is how they will be able to care for their child due to job responsibilities. Many single parents turn to local day cares to help with watching their children, but most can't afford to pay high amounts for care. As Turner notes, "Parents today feel that in order to fulfill their responsibilities in child rearing, they must provide adequate child care for their children" (216). Some single parents can't handle being lonely, and unfortunately results in their not finding well enough care for their child. Many single parents quit using day cares once their child begins school at about age six. However, there are many people who find that a parent, whether they are single or not, shouldn't depend on someone else to help care for their child. They believe that if you have a child while you are single, you should take full responsibility in raising that child and not pass part of the responsibilities on to someone else. Despite this idea, many single parents still choose to use day cares to help with stress and anxiety for themselves and their children. "Improving day care services now will be more cost effective, and certainly more effective emotionally, intellectually, and developmentally" emphasizes Turner (225).

A major concern of experts is a child's well-being in a single-parent household compared to a two-parent household. Many experts say a two-parent household is best because men and women both affect a child differently, and you need both to have a well balanced child, psychologically. Downey explains, "Women more often perform 'primary parenting' duties that

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