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Single Parent Culture and Student Behavior


Study shows that students who live in one-parent-family units are underprivileged on several counts. Nevertheless, there is not much concurrence as to why. Some researchers have argued that shortcomings or low earnings in father-lacking families explain the effects of one-parent families. Others, on the contrary, claim that kids are weakened by psychological tension and partial socialization. They view these difficulties as more disturbing than cognitive, resulting in less from the family’s need for educational funds and more from its difficulty in administrating their performance. These researchers suppose that absence of a mother is at least, as dangerous as that of a father. This paper will therefore examine the impacts of single parenthood on a student’s behavior.


Prevalence of single-parent culture in the U.S. school population, southern region, and in Kentucky by 2010/2011

Adolescence is observed as the most demanding stage in life, with numerous key biological, psychosocial and empirical transformations happening within 10 years. How teenagers cope with these transformations and locate their means of life will have a long-term effect on their progress. Use of substances, smoking, alcohol, and drug use, are some of the threats to their behaviors and risk progressing to adulthood. Substance use has been said to impact heavily on students’ school attendance as most of them often end up dropping out of school. To manage this, thorough public health investigations and involvement have been carried out. Success in restraining utilization among adolescents in Western countries and strong family affection with good parent-child communication may relieve the unattractive effect of non-intact family organization.

The relationship between family makeup and adolescent substance use was found to be interceded by maladjustment. Earlier studies in Western inhabitants have mostly established that adolescents from single parent families were more probable to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs in contrast to those from whole families. For example, Adlaf accounted that single-parent teenagers were 103%, 53% and 66% more prone to become serious smokers, intense drinkers and illegitimate drug users, correspondingly. Until April 2006, the rate of divorce was 0.36% and single mothers rose to 10 million while that of single fathers to 2 million from 3 million and 393,000 respectively between 1970 and 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 1994). At this rate, by the year, 2011 there would be more single parent families and hence more adolescent substance users and this will in turn affect school population, as more students will be dropping out of school (Adlaf, et al., 1996, p. 189-192).

In the southern part, 89% of Parents of K-12 students were supposedly involved in PTA meetings in 2006-07 academic periods. About 65% of them were involved in fundraising and a further 46 percent, served in the school team. Of these percentages, single parents were less involved in these activities. In Kentucky region, every year, LMCAP oversees a needs evaluation investigation to identify the areas of need and concern as recognized by low-income residents, single family household and society stakeholders. Surveys were provided to clients getting services from LMCAP between the months of October and December. Overriding the needs evaluation survey at three (3) CAP sites, ten (10) Senior Nutrition sites, eight (8) Neighborhood Places, Metro Corrections, and the Nia Center, permitted a geographical separation of the people to be investigated. These rates of single parenthood seemingly increased (Adlaf, et al., 1996, p. 189-192).

Power of single parent culture on social behavior of students in educational environment

Families normally have longer father-child and mother-child discussion time than single-parent families. Very little or no conversation time was witnessed in non-intact families. The reason for this being that single parents had other thing to do as well as coping with the pressure of bringing up the family all alone. As a result, most of teenagers end up in substance abuse, in order to cope up with these pressures. This in turn affects their social morals in terms of communication, feeling, fear and relation with others.

Influence of single parent culture on academic of students in educational environment

Results from investigation of High School and beyond demonstrated that students from single parent families attain considerably inferior grades and trial achievements than do those from two-parent families. They get test scores that are about 0.30 on average variations lower, but this ruling appears to be explained by dissimilarities in race-customs and the learning height of parents. Both mother absence and father absence condense students’ grades, by 0.17 and 0.27 average differences, correspondingly. Controls on race-customs and parental culture reduce the outcome of father absence to 0.13 average variations and mother absence to 0.12. The depressed earnings of single parent families cannot clarify these consequences. They can still be decreased to zero by managing the behavior of single parent children, particularly for school attendance, groundwork, contact with parents, and numerous dating. Living in single parent family has been argued to have a harmful and diminutive effect on consistent ordeal scores.

Influence of single parent culture on academics, and behavior on teacher’s job in educational environment

Single parent culture has become one of the numerous challenges that face special education teachers. Sudden behavioral changes in students from single parenthoods may affect the teacher’s job in monitoring their academic and social progress. Unexpected academic fluctuations are usually witnessed in such students from single families as they slowly come to terms with the new challenges. Teachers therefore find it difficult to monitor closely, these students compared to others who come from complete families (Christenson, 2001, p. 13-16). Among the challenges faced by these teachers, include fluctuations in academic progress, stigma, indiscipline, among other behavioral changes. These changes make it difficult for special education teachers to observe active classroom participation in students from single parent cultures (Drake, 2000, p. 34).

Influence of single parent in the way a teacher deals with family members of his/her students

Special education teachers needs to recognize ways of dealing with students from diverse cultures, for instance single parent families require special contact with the school. This is because if they are ignored, there is a higher probability of this translating in their children’s academic and behavioral performance. Special education has a duty of reaching out to single families to ensure their students’ progression. Teachers should be very careful not to put more stress on these families and their children as well. For instance, arranging gifts for families of the students should be based on gender considerations; it should not be specifically for Dads or Moms, but rather for parents or guardians. Special education should also consider introducing terms like, stepfather, stepmother, uncle, aunt, among others, to help students internalize such terms. This would help single parents adjust to new lives of re-marrying without causing further stress to the development of their children (Fredricks, Rasinki & Ritty 1991, p. 604).

What Teachers need to know about single parents before making assumptions on students?

In dealing with single parent students, teachers need to be aware of their situations. To begin with, teachers need to understand and examine their own feelings on divorce; this would change their attitudes towards single parent families, and effectively their children. It is a common understanding that teachers have values and expectations, these values may be transferred to their students either directly or indirectly. Teachers should go down and learn the processes involved in divorce, this would help them understand its effects on their students who would require close monitoring for their development. Teachers should also monitor signs of stress, academic and behavioral changes in students, as this would help them plan better ways to deal with them (Fredricks, Rasinki & Ritty 1991, p. 604).

Issues surrounding discipline and students of single parent or single-family culture

Students from single parent cultures face several challenges and these, in most cases lead to various disciplinary issues. Issues faced are social instability, bad influence, low self-esteem, drugs, among others. These issues usually lead to gross indiscipline, if not well managed. Such issues may lead to drug abuse, violence, stigma, chauvinism, among others. These should therefore be managed to improve their development (Fredricks, Rasinki & Ritty 1991, p. 604).

The way people with disabilities are viewed in the single parent culture

Different beliefs and cultures have caused stigmatization of people with disabilities. This has not left out those in single parent cultures. In most cases, such misfortunes have been blamed on single parenthood. Most single parents go through numerous difficulties like care giving and stigma when faced with disabilities. In spite of this, the society rarely sympathize with them, in fact, some of whom blame them (Wong, et al., 2004, p. 43-58). This has led to isolation of people with disabilities, leaving heavy burden on the already exhausted single parents. Societies should understand and integrate single parent cultures to allow for better treatment (Orloff, 2002).

Conclusion and summary

Non-intact families are correlated with substance use among teenagers. It is clear that single parent families are not preferred by most of people in the society. The society thinks that it is more disadvantageous since it has a negative impact on psychological, social, emotional as well as academic performance of students from such set ups (Susanne, 2002, p. 1).

Reference List

Adlaf, E. M., et al. (1996). Enduring resurgence or statistical blip: Recent trends from the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 87(3), 189-192.

Christenson, S. L., & Sheridan, S. M. (2001). Schools and families: Creating essential connections for learning. New York: Guilford Press.

Drake, D. D. (2000). Parents and families as partners in the education process: Collaboration for the success of students in public schools. ERS Spectrum, 34-35. Web.

Fredricks, A. D., Rasinki, T. V., & Ritty, J. M. (1991). Working With Parents: Single-Parent Families-Tips for Educators. The Reading Teacher. Vol. 44, No. 8. P. 604.

Orloff, A. S. (2002). Equality, Employment, and State Social Policies. A Gendered Perspective in What Future for Social Security? Edited by J. Clasen, Bristol. The Policy Press, 69-86.

Susanne, C. (2002).The Impact of Parent / Family Involvement on Student Outcomes: An Annotated Bibliography of Research from the past decade, Cadre. Web.

U.S. Census Bureau. (1994). Educational attainment in the United States. Current population reports. Series P-20, No. 314. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Wong, T. B., et al. (2004). Spaces of Silence: Single Parenthood and the ‘Normal Family’ in Singapore. Population, Space and Place 10(1), 43-58.


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