Disadvantages for children with single parents

Written by jennifer erchul
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Disadvantages for children with single parents
Children raised by single parents may face challenges that dual-parent families don't have. (Computer At Home image by Jaimie Duplass from Fotolia.com)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2008, 29 per cent of children in the United States were raised by a single parent. Authors Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur state that despite race or educational background, children brought up by only one of their biological parents fare worse than children brought up by both parents. Children raised by single parents may face significant disadvantages.

Lower Economic Status

Many single-parent families earn less than dual-parent families. Though not all single-parent families are lower-income, many in 2002 earned less than £19,500 a year. Children raised in lower-income circumstances face challenges peers from higher-income brackets do not. Lower-income children often do not have medical or dental insurance, healthy food options or the financial means to attend college or a vocational school. They tend to move more frequently than dual-parent households and many live in neighbourhoods with few resources and positive community influence.

Disadvantages for children with single parents
Single parent families tend to be in the lower income bracket (Phil Ashley/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Lack of Guidance

Children with single parents often have a lot of idle time when there is no interaction between the child and their parent. Single parents often work at least one full-time job, and sometimes supplement their income with part-time jobs; this leaves children to fend for themselves after school, on the weekends and evenings. Many times these kids don't get help with homework or social issues and often decide how to spend their free time without parental direction.

Disadvantages for children with single parents
Children from single parent families often have less interaction with their parents (Bec Parsons/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Fewer Opportunities

Many children with single parents have fewer opportunities to play organised sports, attend sleep-away camp and pursue academic interests. These extra-curricular activities are rarely free and some are quite expensive, costing hundreds of dollars for each session. Single parents may struggle to transport the children to and from the activity or find time to help and encourage the children to practice.

Disadvantages for children with single parents
Children from single parent families have less opportunity to join in social activities with their peers (Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Lack of Gender Influence

When children live with a single parent, the kids don't always have a person of the other gender in their lives. Dr. Benjamin Spock, parenting expert, claims children need role models of both genders, but they don't have to be within the family. Unless your child is outgoing or has your encouragement and assistance, he may not seek out a role model opposite your gender. While this is often not devastating, your child may grow up not learning things often associated with one gender or the other. He/she may feel like they missed out or was deprived.

Disadvantages for children with single parents
Children from single parent families may miss out in interaction with the opposite gender to themselves (Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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