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I’ve always thought that kids who grow up in a house with one parent learn things that kids who grow up in a house with two, do not. The subject seems to rile people up. I’ve written about it on Slate…Click here

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One thought on “Kids and Parent(s)

  1. Children of single mothers are more prone to: criminal conduct and Prison, sex abuse, drug/alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, etc. The ACTUAL data and statistics don’t lie.

    Sexual activity. In a study of 700 adolescents, researchers found that “compared to families with two natural parents living in the home, adolescents from single-parent families have been found to engage in greater and earlier sexual activity.”
    Source: Carol W. Metzler, et al. “The Social Context for Risky Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents,” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 17 (1994).

    A myriad of maladies. Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.
    Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Survey on Child Health, Washington, DC, 1993.

    Drinking problems. Teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households
    Source: Terry E. Duncan, Susan C. Duncan and Hyman Hops, “The Effects of Family Cohesiveness and Peer Encouragement on the Development of Adolescent Alcohol Use: A Cohort-Sequential Approach to the Analysis of Longitudinal Data,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 55 (1994).

    Drug Use: “…the absence of the father in the home affects significantly the behavior of adolescents and results in the greater use of alcohol and marijuana.”
    Source: Deane Scott Berman, “Risk Factors Leading to Adolescent Substance Abuse,” Adolescence 30 (1995)

    Sexual abuse. A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother’s boyfriend.
    Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert P. Cardarelli, “Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment,” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Child Abuse. Researchers in Michigan determined that “49 percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers.”
    Source: Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay, “A Study of Child Abuse in Lansing, Michigan,” Child Abuse and Neglect, 8 (1984).

    Deadly predictions. A family structure index — a composite index based on the annual rate of children involved in divorce and the percentage of families with children present that are female-headed — is a strong predictor of suicide among young adult and adolescent white males.
    Source: Patricia L. McCall and Kenneth C. Land, “Trends in White Male Adolescent, Young-Adult and Elderly Suicide: Are There Common Underlying Structural Factors?” Social Science Research 23, 1994.

    Divorce disorders. Children whose parents separate are significantly more likely to engage in early sexual activity, abuse drugs, and experience conduct and mood disorders. This effect is especially strong for children whose parents separated when they were five years old or younger.
    Source: David M. Fergusson, John Horwood and Michael T. Lynsky, “Parental Separation, Adolescent Psychopathology, and Problem Behaviors,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 33 (1944).

    Troubled marriages, troubled kids. Compared to peers living with both biological parents, sons and daughters of divorced or separated parents exhibited significantly more conduct problems. Daughters of divorced or separated mothers evidenced significantly higher rates of internalizing problems, such as anxiety or depression.
    Source: Denise B. Kandel, Emily Rosenbaum and Kevin Chen, “Impact of Maternal Drug Use and Life Experiences on Preadolescent Children Born to Teenage Mothers,” Journal of Marriage and the Family56 (1994).

    Dadless dropouts: After taking into account race, socio-economic status, sex, age and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.
    Source: Ralph McNeal, Sociology of Education 88. 1995.

    Takes two: Families in which both the child’s biological or adoptive parents are present in the household show significantly higher levels of parental involvement in the child’s school activities than do mother-only families or step-families.
    Source: Zill and Nord, “Running in Place.” Child Trends. 1994

    Con garden: Forty-three percent of prison inmates grew up in a single-parent household — 39 percent with their mothers, 4 percent with their fathers — and an additional 14 percent lived in households without either biological parent. Another 14 percent had spent at last part of their childhood in a foster home, agency or other juvenile institution.
    Source: US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Survey of State Prison Inmates. 1991

    Criminal moms, criminal kids: The children of single teenage mothers are more at risk for later criminal behavior. In the case of a teenage mother, the absence of a father also increases the risk of harshness from the mother.
    Source: M. Mourash, L. Rucker, Crime and Delinquency 35. 1989.

    Rearing rapists: Seventy-two percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. Sixty percent of America’s rapists grew up the same way.
    Source: D. Cornell (et al.), Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 5. 1987. And N. Davidson, “Life Without Father,” Policy Review. 1990.

    Crime and poverty: The proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rate of violent crime and burglary, but the community’s poverty level does not.
    Source: D.A. Smith and G.R. Jarjoura, “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 25. 1988.

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