The number of children being raised in a single-parent family is higher than ever before.
In earlier civilisations, the untimely death of a partner was usually the only circumstance surrounding a single-parent family. But in the modern era, there are many reasons that contribute to the sharp increase of single-parent families.
Issues such as divorce, infidelity, teenage pregnancies and short-term hook-ups are the prevalent causes. According to the 2017 United States Census Bureau, there are around 12 million single-parent families in the United States. That is 25% of the total US population! Shockingly, more than 80% of these families are headed by single mothers.
A single parent will do their utmost best to raise a child with the love, care and attention needed to not let the child feel the loss of the other parent. However, it is the natural order of things for a family to consist of both of the parents. And it is difficult to go against nature.
A child may seem happy and content in the earlier stage of their life. In fact, it is likely that a single parent won’t notice much wrong unless they really pay close attention. However, the effect of growing up in a single-parent family can leave long-lasting and serious damage that only surfaces as the child grows older.
The question is, what are some of these struggles? Here are some of the possible issues a child from a single-parent family can face – even later in life.
Bad or aggressive behavior
A child from a broken family is three times more likely to become badly behaved or aggressive as they grow older, according to a study carried out by the UK Office for National Statistics. Children from single-parent families are 4.53 times more likely to develop emotional problems than those whose parents stayed together. They also were 2.87 times more likely to show signs of behavioral disorders.
These disorders then require a great deal of willpower and constant effort to control as a person grows older. In other words, it becomes an uphill struggle and many people give up even trying to fight it at all. This can then lead to anger management or, in some extreme cases, sociopathic behavior that isolates a person from others and pushes them away from society.
Lack of discipline
Poor behavior can lead to a lack of discipline and destructive actions in a single-parent family. It can be challenging for a single parent to reinforce rules and discipline a child due to the lack of support from a partner. Kids may begin to misbehave at school or can become rebellious during their teenage years. This can lead to getting into all sorts of trouble with the law as they get older.
Many children carry the pain of not having both parents in the home. As a result, they can begin to ease their hurt with drugs or alcohol abuse once they enter high school. Addiction is a vicious trap that once someone falls into, it becomes increasingly difficult to come out from.
Poor academic performance
Most single parents spend countless hours working to make ends meet and support their family. In many cases, they simply do not have enough time to get everything done. This can lead to children growing up to feel neglected and lonely.
This lack of supervision can cause poor performance in school or with homework. This inevitably leads to poor work ethics and difficulty holding a job when they get older. They may also not receive as much guidance with their studies or recognize their academic strengths. The results of this include overall job dissatisfaction and never truly learning what their “calling” in life is.
Fear of commitment
Many adults that grow up in a single-parent family have been exposed to the toxic and negative environment of a divorce. Serious commitment phobia is a side effect of facing such situations.
In some cases, they refuse to believe in the foundation of marriage. They can be victim to deep-rooted beliefs and misconceptions that there is no loyalty in the world, and that they will never find true love and commitment. For a person to go through life without the love and acceptance they deserve is quite possibly the worst feeling.
Surprisingly, many of these problems actually start surfacing in childhood or early adolescence but aren’t given the importance they deserve. They are usually brushed off as hormones or teenage immaturity. Or perhaps the single parent is too busy to even notice these issues.
The good news is, once a single parent knows what to keep an eye out for, it becomes easier to steer the child in the right direction. Correct communication and outside social activities such as team sports are good starting points to curb these potential future problems.
What are your experiences as a single parent, or a child of a single parent? Share your thoughts with us below.