There are 168,000 single parents in Oklahoma alone – 122,700 of them women. This is a 19% increase over the past decade. 20% of all households in America are made up of married families with children, down from 40% in 1970.
In 2011, 3.68 million black children live with both parents, while 3.73 million black children live with their mothers who have never been married before. 3.7 million white children also live with mothers who have never been married before, compared to 40 million children living with both parents.
Being a single parent or being the child of a single parent is not the real problem, however. It is the consequences that need to be taken into consideration.
Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services also show that children in households without fathers are more likely to engage in substance abuse, drop out of school, commit crimes and eventually join gangs. Girls in the same situation are also more likely to get pregnant without marrying. Children both male and female alike are more prone to develop emotional and behavioral problems.
The economical impact of these situations need not be explained further.
These problems stem from the inability of young parents to meet the unique and challenging needs of their child or children – especially young single parents who have very little knowledge on how to do so.
Kathryn Carey, a Rose State College professor specializing in family services and child development, says that “The whole idea that single parents can’t do a good job raising children is not true. The mother’s attitude will make all the difference in the world.”
It is for this reason that the single mother (or father) must provide an exemplary role model to their children. This will be difficult, especially for single parents who earn just above the minimum wage, but it is the only way to guarantee that their children will strive to make their own lives better.