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Argumentative essay Growing up with a Single Parent

The survey conducted in 2012 showed that the U.S. has nearly the highest rate of single-parent families among developed countries.

This is how it begins

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Significantly, the same study found that while the educational achievement gap between children raised in single-parent and two-parent families is present in all countries, it is particularly apparent in the U.S. Fortunately, there is a positive trend of a substantial narrowing of the educational achievement gap between children from the two groups of family structure. Hence, encouraged by these findings, some researchers insist that family structure should not be perceived as a destiny because there is the potential for enhancing family environments, regardless of their structure. Meanwhile, there is a remarkable number of research presenting opposing, not so optimistic, views.

For instance, Woessmann indicates that children raised in single parent families often experience less favorable conditions compared to those raised in two parent families (4). 

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The essay, by studying the opposing views, aims at answering the following questions:
What are the effects of single parenting on children?
Are there sex differences in parenting?
Is there a problem with the morality of children raised by one parent?

The Effects of Single Parenting on Children

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Noticeably, the issue of the effect of family structure on child wellbeing is a much-studied subject. In general, researchers usually distinguish five major ways through which family structure may influence child development and wellbeing. These are family resources, mental health of parents, relationship quality, parenting character, and father involvement.

As put by Woessmann, in most cases, single parents have fewer financial resources which means they have limited ability to invest in their children’s development (5).

Often, single parents have to work more hours to provide sufficient financial resources but, as a result, they have less time to spend with their children. Partnership instability provokes psychological difficulties that create the negative emotional environment for children. The available evidence indicates the existence of lower academic achievement and greater psychological problems, as well as poor adult outcomes in children raised by one parent in the USA.

Unfavorable outcomes conditions for children’s development from single-parent families have also been reported in other developed countries. Learn how to write an argumentative essay by reading this sample

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Recent Findings

The findings of East and Power prove that there is no clear consensus on the single parenting problem. The researcher insists that while numerous studies tell about less favorable outcomes for children from single-parent families, current evidence emerging from the United States confirms that if these single families or cohabiting units are stable, children raised in them demonstrate improved cognitive, health and behavioral outcomes compared to children raised in unstable married-couple families.

For instance, children living with continuous parental conflict demonstrate poorer academic achievement and increased substance abuse than those living with single mother and stepfather. Our experts provide a great variety of argumentative essay topics

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Evidence and data

The gathered evidence suggests that the association between single parenting and child health outcomes is not uniform.

East and Powerconclude that both the quality and quantity of paternal involvement have an impact on childhood development:the higher levels of parental involvement are associated with better outcomes (12).

As regards the absence of a father in a family, the research goes, it is not only the absence of a male role model that may have a negative influence on boys; paternal absence affects family financial resources, which limits a child's life opportunities and wellbeing.

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The Issue of Morality in Single Parent Families

There are numerous causes to perceive a concern about single parenthood justified.

However, Weissbourdputs forward a claim that “single parenthood is not primarily responsible for children’s moral troubles” (2).

The researcher blames the government for having failed to create conditions for good parenting and contribute to the development of critical moral qualities in adults. Of course, single-parent families often provide unfavorable environment for the development of important moral qualities. As a result, children may suffer from shame, disbelief and cynicism – the feelings that prevent them from developing capacities for caring, responsibility, empathy, idealism, etc.

However, these facts cannot be a reliable ground to conclude that children in single-parent families are morally defective. Rather, it will be correct to state that single parenthood is only one of numerous factors that may provoke moral crisis in children.

Weissbourd argues that the most important to any child's ethical development is a stable reliable relationship with at least one adult who is able to support, listen and motivate without avoiding his or her moral responsibilities (3). 

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Sex Differences in Parenting

Dufur et al.found that a single-father family is a growing trend in the US and presently accounts for about one-fifth of single-parent families. Mother-absent families have recently significantly increased in both their visibility and viability.

Research shows that single fathers experience similar difficulties to single mothers:

  • trying to effectively combine work and child care
  • social lives difficulties
  • and difficulties proving their rights in the court system.

Significantly, there is some role ambiguity issue concerning single fathers raising their children alone. Learning how to write an argumentative essay is easier than you think

Mother vs father role

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Too often, studies overtly focus on mother’s role in parenting work. Meanwhile, recent research demonstrates that fathers' contributions to parenting have increased lately. As regards each sex parenting characteristics, mothers are found to do the mostof day-to-day child-care tasks, whilefathers are more likely to engage in recreational activities. This fact shows that mothers and fathers may not engage in the same child-care activities and this does not mean that fathers do less in parenting.

Dufur et al.explain that males and females are simply different and so mothering and fathering should be expected to be different. 

Conclusion: Is there a consensus

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In conclusion, the consensus view on the issue of single parenting seems to be that it does have its negative influence on the development of children (e.g. psychological problems, behavior problems, limited financial resources that create unfavorable environment for development, etc.). However, the problem is complex and should be researcher in greater details.

  1. First, the diversity of single-parent families has increased recently and father absence is not perceived as something extraordinary today.
  2. Second, there are particular sex differences in parenting but this does not mean that mothers are more engaged than fathers in parenting responsibilities.
  3. Third, single parenthood is not a major cause of a moral crisis in children; rather, it is one of many other possible causes.
  4. Finally, the conducted research shows that it is the quality of adult-child interactions, not the structure of a family, that really matters. 


Works Cited

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Dufur, Mikaela J., et al. “Sex Differences in Parenting Behaviors in Single-Mother and Single-Father Households”.Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 72, no. 5, 2010.
East, Leah,Marie Hutchinson, and Tamara Power.“Men's Constructions of Mothering: Growing Up in Father-Absent Families”. International Journal of Men's Health, vol. 16, no. 1. 2017, pp. 9-12.
Woessmann, Ludger. “An International Look at the Single-Parent Family; Family Structure Matters More for U.S. Students”.Education Next, vol. 15, no.2, 2015, pp. 3-6.

Weissbourd, Richard. “Moral Parent, Moral Child: Family Structure Matters Less to a Child's Development Than the Quality of the Parenting”.The American Prospect, vol. 13, no. 13, 2002, pp. 2-3.