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The impact of single parenting on a childs behavior

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. The results indicate that higher levels of parent stress, more frequent spanking, and less frequent father—child contact at time 1 were associated with increased teacher-reported behavior problems at time 2.

In addition, more frequent contact between nonresident biological fathers and their children moderated the negative effect of harsh discipline by mothers on subsequent child behavior problems.

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Specifically, when contact with the father was low, maternal spanking resulted in elevated levels of behavior problems; with average contact, this negative effect of spanking was muted; and with high contact, spanking was not associated with increased behavior problems in kindergarten. The implications of these findings for future research and policy are discussed. Single mothers, Nonresident fathers, Parenting stress, Discipline practices, Preschool children, Child behavior problems Introduction A number of studies have demonstrated that single parenting—especially among mothers with limited access to social and financial support—is associated with parent stress, stemming in part from the single-handed negotiation of heavy parenting responsibilities Brooks-Gunn and Duncan 1997 ; Ceballo and McLoyd 2003 ; Lamb 1997 ; McLoyd 1990.

In addition, research has consistently shown that parents who experience economic stress display less nurturance and more harshness in their responses to their children Lempers et al. Census Bureau 2006and children in these families have extraordinarily high rates of poverty Duncan and Brooks-Gunn 1997 ; Huston et al.

Differences in discipline practices may account for some of the variation in child behavior in poor and single-parent black families. While the effects of discipline on mainly white samples have received a great deal of research, the literature on within-group differences in discipline practices among single black mothers raising young children in poverty is sparse see, for example, Harrison et al.

Single Parenting and Child Behavior Problems in Kindergarten

In a comparison of black and white children, Deater-Deckard et al. Others have reported similar race moderation effects Gunnoe and Mariner 1997. Some believe that one explanation for these effects may be that physical discipline is more normative for black families than for white families Deater-Deckard and Dodge 1997. Studies also show that mothers who get help and support from their partners are more effective parents Chase-Lansdale et al.

The presence and effects of nonresident biological fathers are particularly relevant for black families, given the high rates of single parenthood King and Heard 1999 ; Tamis-LeMonda and Cabrera 1999.

Introduction

Background Studies comparing children raised in single-parent families to those raised in families with two biological parents consistently find that those raised in two-parent families with biological parents do better on educational achievement and adjustment in school Carlson and Corcoran 2001 ; Hetherington and Clingempeel 1992 ; McLanahan and Sandefur 1994 ; Pryor and Rodgers 2001.

However, children in mostly white, middle-class stepfamilies also do less well on a range of outcomes than their counterparts in two-parent families with biological parents Amato and Gilbreth 1999 ; McLanahan and Sandefur 1994. Since many black children have never lived with their biological father in the conventional sense, others have assumed that the implications of never having had a father present in the home are probably different from the implications of having had a biological father present who left, as in most white stepfamilies Mott 1990.

Stated differently, there is some suggestion in the literature that the salutary effects of being raised by two biological parents that seem to apply to children in middle-class white families may not apply to children in mostly poor and near-poor single-parent the impact of single parenting on a childs behavior families.

The present study tested this notion. This is important because research demonstrates that children who perform well as they begin their school careers tend to continue to do so, while children who have poor starts tend to continue to do poorly in school Alexander and Entwisle 1988 ; Ladd and Price 1987.

  1. Census Bureau information, the number of children reared in single-parent households continues to rise.
  2. Because of the limited funds, children from these households are also less likely to be involved in extra-curricular activities, which can hinder their chances of getting a scholarship.
  3. Society will continue to be less than ideal, and there will always be children who live in single parent homes.
  4. Finally, as stated earlier, the present study is a test—although preliminary, given the relatively small sample size—of the notion that absent biological fathers may not be all that important in poor and near-poor black families. Census Bureau 2006 , and children in these families have extraordinarily high rates of poverty Duncan and Brooks-Gunn 1997 ; Huston et al.
  5. In a comparison of black and white children, Deater-Deckard et al. Because children have only one parent does not mean that they are doomed or that their lives will be riddled with problems and they will have poor, miserable adulthoods.

They can maintain contact with their children and pay child support. Studies have shown that many nonresident fathers have infrequent contact with their children and fail to pay child support Furstenberg and Harris 1992 ; Hawkins and Eggebeen 1991.

  1. Measures The measures that follow are multiple- and single-item scales.
  2. Henry Ricciuti of Cornell University concludes that being a single parent does not have a negative effect on behavior or educational performance.
  3. Amato has also found that children of single-parent families, whose current lifestyles are due to parental death, have been found to fare slightly better than children from other groups. Items were reversed as necessary so that a higher score indicates more of the attribute named in the label.
  4. This investigation focuses on the 89 mothers and children for whom there were teacher assessments.

In addition, the payment of child support often is crucial for the economic well-being of poor and near-poor single mothers and their children King 1994. Still, it should be acknowledged that some researchers have found no relationship between father—child contact and child well-being Amato and Gilbreth 1999 ; Furstenberg et al.

Much of this research has focused on the effects of father absence due to divorce in middle-class white families Lamb 1997. This perspective assumes that processes operating in different ecological contexts are interrelated Bronfenbrenner 1986. These interrelationships—in particular, proximal processes that occur between parents and children in the home environment—are considered key mechanisms by which child developmental potential is realized Bronfenbrenner 19861988.

In focusing on within-group differences among the impact of single parenting on a childs behavior black mothers with a preschooler who were receiving or who had received welfare benefits, the present study differs from previous research in several ways.

First, most of the father-absent research has focused on middle-class white stepfamilies with adolescent children or compares black families to white families Amato and Gilbreth 1999 ; Gershoff 2002. Finally, as stated earlier, the present study is a test—although preliminary, given the relatively small sample size—of the notion that absent biological fathers may not be all that important in poor and near-poor black families.

In the discussion that follows, nonresident fathers are referred to as fathers and single black mothers are referred to as mothers. Method Procedure One hundred poor and near-poor mothers with a preschool child were interviewed in their homes between February and June 2004 at time 1 of this study. The mothers resided in communities in Pittsburgh that were composed predominantly of low-income black families.

Letters of solicitation sent out by the Allegheny County Assistance Office to preserve the anonymity of nonrespondents described the study as an ongoing survey on raising young children and family life see also Jackson et al. The time-2 interviews took place between October 2005 and January 2006. For each interview, mothers completed a computer-administered questionnaire focusing on parenting and family life.

In addition, 89 teachers 89. This investigation focuses on the 89 mothers and children for whom there were teacher assessments. Measures The measures that follow are multiple- and single-item scales.

What Are The Effects On Children Of Single Parents?

Items were reversed as necessary so that a higher score indicates more of the attribute named in the label. Alpha coefficients were obtained for scales with multiple items.

This amount was divided by the number of people living in the household. Overview of Analyses The principal statistical procedure was ordinary least squares OLS regression analyses.

To estimate the main effects of the variables in this core model, the following equation was generated: Negative coefficients would indicate that children who were boys, whose mothers had lower educational attainment, whose families had lower income, and whose fathers paid no child support would have more behavior problems in kindergarten, whereas positive coefficients would indicate the reverse.

The latter was considered to be unlikely. In the analyses that follow, two-tailed tests were used throughout. Sixty percent of the mothers received child support payments from the nonresident fathers.