Why are Single-Parent Homes Difficult for Children?

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Brook Jackson, Staff Writer

The idea of single parenting has changed throughout many generations. Single parenting is more common now than it was in recent decades.

The United States has the highest percentage of children with single parents. Today in the U.S., 23% of children under the age of 18 live in a single parent home. In these types of situations, many children actually do very well. However, children who see their parents go through divorce or fight are at a higher risk of developing certain psychological and development problems. In particular, children from single-parent homes are most likely to use drugs, drop out of school, and tend to have lower self-esteem.

Children feel more whole when their parents are together. When parents split, children can feel uncomfortable and can feel the absence of their missing parent. Children who can not fill the void of their missing parent can often feel unwanted or just want to be left alone.

Divorce and lack of family stability are big risk factors for children to develop psychological problems. Parents going through a divorce and after divorce can often make their children choose sides, which can leave children feeling lonely and guilty. Lack of stability can affect children emotionally. Some parents may re-marry or date other people. Parents who remarry other people with children often make it  very difficult for children, making it  hard for them to adapt to a new family.

School aged kids in a single parent home can affect the child’s overall confidence. For instance, peers in a school environment may talk about how good their parents’ relationship is. This can remind children of the circumstances they have a home and make them feel passive-aggressive. This resentment may cause children to have trouble making friends, decisions, and talking to other people. Compared to two-parent households, children in a single parent home suffer more and tend to get lower grades and have a hard time relating to other students or their teachers.

Single parenting is very hard. Parents rarely have time to spend with their children. Single parents are so worried about making sure that the bills are paid or they are on a busy schedule for work. Not all single parents can rely on the other parent to help out. All of these things can be difficult for children. It is important that parents help their children feel less resentful and help them understand the reasoning of the separation.

Ways to help minimize the negative psychological effects on children are by talking to them. Talking to children can help them feel more comfortable and give them the confidence they need. Most importantly, give your children attention, especially children whose parents are going through a divorce.