Introduction Households headed by single parents is an issue all around the world. Divorce rates are rampant throughout the world, and the sexual revolution means that more parents have never been married than ever before. The children in these situations often suffer…
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Moreover, educational attainment is likely to be lagging for children of single parents. This is true in the United States and in the UK, and is likely true in Sweden, although there are not statistics regarding this factor in Sweden. What is certain is that children, all over the world, who are born to single parents or live with single parents after a divorce, are much more likely to be in poverty, and, because of lack of educational status, are much more likely to stay in poverty. This project covers the research regarding children, in general, who have single parents. Then, the children in the UK who have single parents are compared to the children in Sweden who have single parents. There is not much difference between the countries, and these countries and the general research, which suggests that single parent families are a problem anywhere in the world. Issues Facing Single-Parent Households Why There is a Difference Between Single-Parent and Dual-Parent Homes There is not a doubt that there is an impact, as far as whether a child grows up with one parent or two. The question is, why? Biblarz & Gottainer (2000) state that one of the reason for this has to do with the presence of authority figures. They argue that, with two-parent families, there is an authority figure in the home, usually the father. Because of this, the children learn how to respect authority, and how to interact with authority figures. With single-parent homes, however, Biblarz & Gottainer (2000) state that the single-parent becomes more like a peer to the child, than an authority figure. Because of this, the child does not learn how to deal with “power holders,” which means, in turn, that the child has a difficult time with achieving in “market activity.” Moreover, in single-parent homes, the child is more likely to be neglected, or under parent authoritarianism, and the parent is less likely to be actively involved in her child’s life and supervision is also lacking in this family structure (Biblarz & Gottainer, 2000). Another theory is advanced by Turner & Smith (1983). They state that children from single-parent homes must make adjustments, as must the families themselves. These adjustment include physical adjustments, such as time management, employment, financial adjustment, changes in living arrangements, relocation of the family and the challenges of finding adequate day care. Emotional adjustments include coping with stress and guilt, anger, loneliness, fear, loss of friends, the thought of being single again, low self-image and sexual adjustments (Turner & Smith, 1983). Educational Achievement One of the impacts that single-parenthood has on children is that they tend to have lower educational achievement. For instance, Nock (1988) has studied single-parent households and he found that there was a “cumulative deficit in the number of years of schooling they complete” (Nock, 1988, p. 958). Further, Nock found that the longer the child lives in a single-parent household, the greater the educational deficits. He also cited a study which found that males born during the first half of the century, to single-parents, completed one year less of schooling than those raised in two-parent households, controlling for socioeconomic status and race. Furthermore, controlling for a wide range of background and economic factors does not erase this deficit. These controls are for race, sex, year since the divorce, age at time of divorce, parental
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