Fri. Aug 12th, 2022
    Single parenthood and its impacts

    Single parenthood and its impacts

    The opinion of many people about single parent has been the subject of many studies that do not all agree for the single parenthood and its impacts? Nonetheless, a conclusion seems to emerge from the scientific literature: it is not being a single parent that is a risk factor for a child, but the fact that it is associated with more vulnerabilities and mainly concerns modest backgrounds. “We are inheritors of stereotyped representation, we must fight against the persistence of these stereotypes.”

    Single parent family stigma

    To overcome the stigmatization of single parent families with this “perception of greater educational difficulties”. “Children are neither better nor less well brought up, there are no more deficiencies in education.

    But is it fair and right for the single parenthood and its impacts? Because it may seem counter-intuitive a priori. If the emphasis has been placed over the years on single mothers, particularly through special services, it is because public authorities and actors on the ground perceive them as more vulnerable and in need of assistance.

    They would therefore be more vulnerable without this having an impact on children’s education and development… This is where the subject turns out to be interesting and where many people are not completely wrong (but not completely right either).

    Children from single-parent families show statistically more behavioral or academic difficulties than others. But today it is very difficult to prove that being a single parent is a risk factor for a child.

    If it is very difficult to analyze the impact of this single variable, on the one hand, because contemporary single parents are very often associated with another dimension whose negative effect on children’s future is well known: vulnerability.

    And on the other hand because it is not easy to distinguish the impact on children of a single parent alone from the trauma caused by conflict and separation of parents.

    Modest backgrounds much more concerned

    All recent reports emphasize that single parenthood goes hand in hand with precariousness. Most of the time, they show that separation induces a considerable loss of income for women who then experience severe economic difficulties.

    This shift into precariousness for a large proportion of single mothers is explained by an over-representation of single parenthood in working-class, low-educated categories and immigrant populations. The risk of impoverishment often pre-exists the separation.

    Lower school results

    In socio-economic terms (in particular the low level of education of the mother), it seems logical that children from single-parent families have less success at school.

    When the economic and social factors have been smoothed out, the gap seems to widen between children in secondary school: “At a comparable standard of living, mother’s professional activity and educational level, a child from a single-parent family has a lower probability of receiving regular help with schoolwork at home or having frequent conversations about schooling with parents than a child living with both parents.

    It also has a lower chance of being registered in a library. But the study does not make it possible to settle the other nagging question linked to this problem: how to be certain that it is indeed single parenthood that alters the chances of academic success or parental involvement and not the consequences of a separation often violent and traumatic?

    The impact on delinquency, according to ethnic origin

    The sociologist, on the other hand, believes that single parenthood, crossed with ethnic origin, has an impact on the prevalence of delinquency. But it shows at the same time how much this analysis requires precision.

    A risky profile

    The researchers were also able to establish the portrait of women more exposed than others to this type of risk: having gone through a divorce, becoming a mother before twenty years and raising her children alone for more than eight years. According to the team, profile or not, most women have a common problem: the lack of money.

    Social benefits contribute to alleviating the problem of poverty, temper the researchers, but this problem is no less real. The authors of the study therefore hope that their conclusions will encourage decision-makers to become aware of the health problems of single mothers and invite them to consider the implementation of a social policy that would be more favorable to them.

    Sources: PinterPandai, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (pdf), NCBI

    Photo credit: Pxhere (CC0 Public Domain)