Sunday, November 29, 2009

Taking a Look at Single-Parents

Single-parent families are defined as a family that is formed as a result of marital dissolution and non-marital child bearing (about.com). Single-parent households are something that is very commonly seen today in the United States. Since the year 1970 “there has been a 300 percent increase in single-parent households headed by mothers and a 500 percent increase in those headed by fathers. Today, 26 percent of white families are headed by one-parent, as are 61 percent of black families and 34 percent of Hispanic families.” (Seccombe, 2008, pg. 18). There are many sources available for single-parents. Ranging from the media to various government institutions one can learn about the services offered to single-parent households.

Currently it is very common to see single-parent household shows on television. The media has found various ways to portray the lifestyle single-parenting. Television shows such Full House or Two and a Half Men portray the life of single-parent dads. In addition, the light that media gave single-parent households brought to life the various hardships that single parents endure, but it also idolized this lifestyle and could portray a false image of single parent households.
From the media to real life their can be a great amount of contrast from this fairy tale life. In the year 2006, the United States census found that there were approximately 12.9 million families in the U.S. that were headed by a single parent. Furthermore the census found that 10.4 million were single-mother families and 2.5 million were single-father families (U.S. Census Bureau). In conducted research, it was found that approximately 21.2 million children in the United States come from single parent homes. Furthermore, at least 44 percent of the single-women households are divorced or separated, while 33 percent have never been married. In reference to single-men households about 57 percent are divorced, while 18 percent have never been married (about.com).

In conclusion, through out this week we will talk about the hardships that single-parents endure. Furthermore, we will look at the various ways that the media portrays single-parent households in contrast to reality. In addition, we will talk about the various ways that that single-parents can receive help through various institutions. We hope that you enjoy it.

Questions for discussion:

What is your perception of a single-parent home?

What are your feelings about the statistics of single-parent homes?

How do you think media portrays single-parent homes and do you think it is accurate?


References:

Bergman, M. (3/27/07). Single-Parent Households Showed Little Variation Since 1994,
Census Bureau Reports. http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/releases/archives/families_households/009842.html

Seccombe, K. (2008). Families and their social worlds. Boston: Pearson, Allyn and Bacon.

Single-Parents. (2009) http://singleparents.about.com/od/legalissues/p/portrait.htm

4 comments:

  1. I think media shows like full house and 2 and 1/2 men make single family households seem a little easier than they would be today. Two and a 1/2 men shows some conflict that can arrise from divorce. I think both shows portray how important having family support in a single family can be. If Danny didn't have Jesse and Joey things would have been a lot different....


    -Kimberly Wabik

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  2. My cousins were raised in a single-parent household. This was challenging for them as they grew up very poor. Their father did not support them financially or emotionally. All of this responsibility was left with their mother. My oldest cousin ended up helping raise her two younger sisters. Their mother worked very hard to provide the best life she could for her girls but it was a hard situation for them. When I think about my family, it makes me see the benefits of having two parents. My parents have always been married and have always shared the responsibility of parenting. I think that it can be easier for the parents and the children when there are two parents because there is more support. For example, if there are two parents and one parent comes home from work and is tired, the other parent can pitch in, cook dinner for the family, and take care of the children for the evening and give the other parent a break. The parents can share the responsibilities. If there is only one parent they have to do all this work by themselves and they do not have any down time. In addition, it seems to me like it would be easier to raise children if you could have advice and encouragement from your partner. For example, if you do not know how to help your child, you could lean on your partner for support. However, if you were a single parent, you would have to do this on your own or find outside support, which is doable too, but would mean you would need to be more resourceful. In short, I think that being a single parent would be harder in some ways in that you cannot share parenting responsibilities with another parent.
    -Taylor

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  3. I think the most interesting fact in this post is the fact that currently, in the United States, 26 percent of white families, 61 percent of black families and 34 percent of Hispanic families are headed by one-parent. As Taylor suggests, this is a strong connection between economic status and single parent families; it seems fairly obvious that two incomes would be better than one. It used to be a lot worse for women before the women's movement because women in the workplace were not common. Single mothers had a hard time finding jobs, and once they found a job, the pay was often minimal. Things have improved today, but mostly just for people with a higher education. Minimum wage is barely livable, especially for someone trying to support not only themselves but children as well. Another connection between socioeconomic status is that there is a correlation between low economic status and divorce rates. This is, in large part, due to arguments over money and everything that goes along with money. We learned that there are a greater number of African American's and Hispanics in poverty than white people in the United States, which could explain why the number of African American and Hispanic single parents are so high. All these things factor into how people get caught in the cycle of poverty and single parent households.

    Cassidy Freed

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  4. True, single parenthood is becoming rampant due to dysfunctional relationships and getting widowed, and in my case, it's the former. Me and my kids were once victims of a violent relationship, my husband beats us up while cheating on another woman. Thinking about the welfare of the kids, I filed for a divorce with the help of a lawyer in family law (Jacksonville, Florida located firm) to get it all over with.

    Many years later, we are living in peace and devoid of threats of violence, and it is all thanks to the Jacksonville family lawyer!

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