Single Parent Families in America

Families play a very significant role in behaviors of individuals, life and they are even responsible for shaping peoples’ ways of thinking. Families have also played a major role in raising children and to determine the future of a child, for example, through offering formal education or engaging children in child labor. For centuries, there have been major changes in family patterns and structures. However, the twenty-first century has seen American family structures changing from traditional to nuclear families. Thus, the present types of families include: blended, single-parent, gay, nuclear and little traces of extended families in the USA. However, this paper discusses single parent families in America, causes of such families and challenges facing them.

Causes of single parenthood

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Single-parent family cases have greatly increased in America since the turn of the 21st century (Karst 66). A single-parent family is believed to be a type of family, when one parent takes sole responsibility for a child. A child is someone under the age of 18. These children could be biologically born by a person referred to as a parent or adopted by any other adult who wishes to bring up a child solely without marrying. Most single parents stay out of marriage and bring up children or a child without a partner.  In the previous centuries, these cases were also present though such causes were totally different from today’s ones.  For instance, in the 20th century a single- parent family was basically caused by the death of a partner. Thus, the living partner opted not to remarry and took care of children until they became adults (Karst 56). This is still a reason why we have single-parents in America.

 Today, single-parent families are a result of divorce. Parents may choose to share children from the previous marriages or share responsibility, but they will not remarry. Additionally, single-parent families may arise, when one partner is away from a family for a reasonable period (Kissman 145). For instance, when a parent is in military and is deployed and shall have to stay away from his/ her family for an extended period, a family automatically becomes a single family. A partner who remains shall have to take sole responsibility for children. Life sentence is also a reason why we have single families in the American society, since it makes one stay away from his or her family and children for a long period. When some partners commit capital crime, they are always imprisoned for life. Consequently, they leave their partners and children. A free partner decides not to remarry and takes care of their children solely. McLanahan & Sandefur (190) assert that single parent families are always caused by adults, who opt not to marry and as a result adopt children, or simply get pregnant or make someone pregnant to take care of children. Such people always want to live single lives without marrying. They always have a phobia towards marriage and would not like to experience marital lives though they still value children.

Most single parent families in America refer to single mothers. Being a single mother is one of the greatest challenges for such families. The basic challenge for a single-parent with lower income is a financial challenge. Most of these parents find it difficult to raise adequate funds to bring up their children in a proper way. Financial problems mostly affect women in single families. Funds make these families fail in acquiring good housing, food and even special services needed to upkeep a child, in particular, day care services, while a parent is at work (McLanahan & Sandefur 69). Such parents are also unable to give their children gifts on holidays, which may trigger unethical behaviors in their children, for example, shoplifting.

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Child rearing is one of the most challenging activities for most single parents (Kissman 89). This is a result of the expenses incurred during a rearing period and challenges of instilling acceptable moral behavior in these children. At times, this factor challenges entire family having both parents. However, nowadays, in the United States, there some parents who have sole responsibility for rearing children. The following document discusses some factors that make individuals rear children solely and some greatest challenges that they encounter during a parenting period.

Challenges facing single parents

Moreover, children from such families are likely to perform poorly at school. This is because such children lack parental support during their studies. For instance, parents may not help them with their homework. This poor performance is also a result of being taken to poor schools, mostly crowded public schools, which are cheap and affordable to single-parents. A poor performance may also be a result of low self-esteem caused by bullying by peers or a lack of some basic needs that make a child feel inferior in comparison with others. Such conditions may make a child drop out of school or commit suicide. This comes up, when a child is a teenager. Female children from these families may become pregnant. They may be involved in such sexual activities as prostitution to get money to buy their basic requirements, in particular, a sanitary towel and other things (Noel & Klein 58). As a result boys may join gangs and this is very risky, because these children may opt to take drugs. They may also commit violent crimes and end up in prison for their lifetime.  Thus, single parents have a long chain of problems and challenges. However, it should be noted that this is not a case with all families. Though, it is possible in most families with financial issues and a lack of stern parental qualities (Noel & Klein 111). Different single-family types have different traits. For instance, those who are single because of the death of one parent are totally different from those that are a result of unwanted pregnancy. This is because a widowed one may be left with much inheritance; therefore, children will attend better schools and have gifts and other things. The only challenge will be a lack of parental care from the part of a missing parent, which may make a child have poor educational and emotional standards (McKoy 43).


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Families are very important for building up a moral and habitable society. Being a single-parent is not an easy task. Single-parenting is depressing, lonesome and devastating for parents. However, parents should try to enforce possible parental standards. Parents need to formulate routine and make their children respect them in order to control an unwanted behavior in their children. When a child (children) becomes difficult to control, it is important for parents in these families to seek assistance from available social institutions and individuals, namely schools, teachers, friends and even coaches. The American society at large needs to support these families through finances and moral support. If the society destroys families, then families shall destroy the society. One cannot change or eliminate single-parenthood from the society, because it is morally wrong and inhuman. Therefore, friends and families have to help these parents so that they can manage their burdensome families. Parents must hold on tightly and wisely in one long journey of making the society a better place for human survival.

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