20 Questions...Answered Book 2
20 Questions...Answered Book 2
" Single-Parent Families (p. 25-26)
Family life is the cornerstone of society. In modern times, new cultural patterns are changing family life. One such phenomena is the growing number of single-parent families. Bringing up children is difficult at the best of times, but single parents face a host of new challenges. In North America in the 1990s, almost half of the marriages will end in divorce, and one child in every two will at some point live in a one-parent household.
This is a huge shift away from what has been considered the ""traditional"" family: both parents together, sharing in raising the children. By the early 1990s almost 30% of all children in the United States were living in single-parent families. In Canada, it was almost 20%. In both countries over 80 percent of singleparent families were headed by women, which includes women who were never married. Many single mothers' lives are filled with hardships.
A high percentage of single mothers and their children live below the poverty line, and many are forced to receive welfare payments. Along with the economic difficulties comes the strain of raising a child alone, the emotional stress from loneliness and isolation, the prejudice she may face because she is a single mom, and, in some cases, the harassment or abuse she may suffer from her former mate. Generally speaking, a single mother's life is not easy.
And teenage single mothers are the most vulnerable. The biggest victims of the negative aspects of single-parent families are the children. As stated above, many children of single parents live in poverty. But a lack of money is not the only way that these kids can be disadvantaged. A child can suffer emotionally when a family breakdown occurs, because the child loses one of the people he or she relied upon for love, affection and emotional security.
A child also relies on parents for socialization skills. It is an important function of the family to care, protect and nurture its young and teach its members a code of ethics. Some social scientists blame many of the most pressing social problems on the collapse of the family unit, although others do not agree. There are community support groups and programs to help single-parent families. In some schools, children receive counseling to help them adjust to single-parent living.
There are government agencies to provide parents with advice on daily child care, successful time management, how to communicate effectively with their children, and strategies for coping with life as a single parent. Other nonprofit organizations, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Parents Without Partners and Divorce Anonymous operate across North America. Many single mothers and fathers are outstanding parents, and will be successful in raising their children into happy, responsible adults.
It seems, however, that the job is a lot easier when there are two people dividing the work and providing each other with mutual support. The structure of the family is changing. People today are witnessing a social change that could be as monumental as the Industrial Revolution. It remains to be seen how society will evolve as the children of single parents grow up and become the movers and shakers in our communities."