Impact of Family Structure on Children - Essay Example

2021-07-22 13:48:43
4 pages
953 words
Wesleyan University
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Family structure plays a significant role in a child development. The importance of this topic is to illustrate how parenting can impact the well-being of a child. Some studies have been carried out to evaluate the impact of single parenting as compared to a two-parent family. There are instances when ladies conceive and bring up their children as single mothers, but others get to be single mothers through divorce or death of the partner. In both situations highlighted above, the children will have a different environment as compared to those born and brought by a well stable family. The presence or absence of one parent is a very critical situation concerning the change of the social environment for that particular child. During childhood, children interact to share experiences which may affect them emotionally after realizing that they lack some of these experiences from their parents. The social environment is what brings the father or the mother figure in them. To discuss more on this topic, a research question will be used that states; how does growing up children in a single parent environment vs. living in a two-parent home environment have an impact on children? To answer this question, therefore, three studies will be synthesized by getting their findings and conclusions.

According to Anderson, (2014), the study supported that the well-being of a child is supported by living with their married biological parents. The advantage of having both parents is that these children demonstrate better physical, emotional, and academic excellence. Additionally, Anderson, (2014) added that the outcome was also influenced by the absence of marital violence. It is therefore right to support that children living with two parents have a better social environment as compared to the single parent. Another study by Musick, & Meier, (2010), evaluated whether both parents were better than one and found out that children living with single mothers and stepfathers were largely affected on their well-being. The study also added that conflicts in the family which dismantles its structure were associated with poor academic outcomes. The above study suggests the impact of family structure on child well-being including their behavior and life achievements. In this case, when investigating the impact of having both parents, they must be well-groomed, supportive, and showing love and care to their parents. The advantages of a two-parent family as compared to single family provide the variation concerning the outcome of the children. Family instability, according to Fomby, & Cherlin, (2007), also contributes to poor developmental outcomes of children thus supporting the advantage of having a stable two-parent family.

The literature has supported that two-parent family has better outcomes for the child by evaluating the effect of divorce Anderson, (2014). Divorce is one of the family instability that may affect the well-being children due to the negative transition that faces them. The study by Anderson, (2014) specifies that every family has its unique characteristics including weakness, strengths, and personalities. Additionally, the social and emotional environments vary between families although, after a divorce, the family situation changes. The change in these environments diminishes the future endeavors of these children including education, emotional stability, and social relationships. According to Musick, & Meier, (2010), it is expected that children raised in a single-parenthood will have minimal supervision thus making them susceptible to drug abuse and poor relationship with other children. Another impact of single-parenthood is that these children are likely to get involved in early sex and cohabitation when trying to incorporate what they have lacked in their lifestyles. Additionally, the effectiveness of a stable family structure is to shape the childs behavior concerning their responsibilities and social relationship which is affected by single-parenthood.

A study by Jackson, Preston, & Franke, (2010), also found that single parenting had an impact on childs behavior after studying preschool children. The children behavior is highly influenced by parenting stress, disciplined practice, and parental relations with their children. Due to increased parent stress, disciplining methods such as maternal spanking affects the behavior of a child. Single parents face many challenges when bringing up a child such as financial problems thus developing a harsh disciplining behavior. The harsh conditions, in turn, affect the behavior of the child. Anderson, (2014), supported that single parenting with a tough condition contributes to the lower psychological development of the child.

In conclusion, single parenting which may occur through various ways such as divorce or unplanned pregnancies as compared to both parents presents children in a different environment that may affect them emotionally, physically, and economically. The literature has supported that a stable family structure is an essential aspect of establishing the well-being a child. The advantages of both parents' family have supported that single parenting weakens the moral development of a child thus affecting their social, physical, and emotional behavior. Children raised by a single parent lack the figure of the other parent, and they may get engaged into early sexuality and cohabitation to fill in the unexperienced gap. In situations of conflict families or divorce which contribute to divorce, these children are profoundly affected both emotionally and physically. The contribution of both parents in a stable family structure, therefore, has more advantages as compared to single parenting. Children who are brought up by two married parents have demonstrated better physical, emotional, and academic excellence.


Anderson, J. (January 01, 2014). The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects

of divorce. Linacre Quarterly, 81, 4, 378-387.

Fomby, P., & Cherlin, A. J. (January 01, 2007). Family Instability and Child Well-

Being. American Sociological Review, 72, 2, 181-204.

Jackson, A. P., Preston, K. S. J., & Franke, T. M. (March 19, 2010). Single Parenting and Child

Behavior Problems in Kindergarten. Race and Social Problems, 2, 1, 50-58.

Musick, K., & Meier, A. (September 01, 2010). Are both parents always better than one?

Parental conflict and young adult well-being. Social Science Research, 39, 5, 814.

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