Divorce Single Parenting and Remarriage Today a significant number of children are part of families made up of never-married single widowed or divorced parents. Watkins and Waldron 2017 report that as of 2016 nearly half of all married couples separate through a divorce while the other 50 percent end in widowhood. The number of single parents registered a sharp increase in the 1970s but has in the last four decades remained comparatively constant at 13 percent since 1980 Wang 2013. Single parenting can be a difficult task with a majority of single parents using ineffective parenting techniques including less parental involvement supervision and control. Also, they are more likely to be demanding and critical of their children. In some instances, the single mothers may have an extensive support network and depend on family support in comparison to single fathers. Nonetheless, a majority of widowed or divorced adults end up remarrying with about 70 percent of such unions involving teenagers who consider the new parent as a step-parent. In comparison to other families with children under the age of 17 single parents are young. Hispanic or black and are less likely to have attended college. However single mothers who have never married are relatively younger than those who are either divorced or widowed. According to Wang 2013, about 4 percent of never-married parents are 30 years or younger while about 50 percent are in their 40s. In contrast, about 11 percent of the widowed or divorced parents are 30 years or younger while 67 percent are between age 30 and 50 with 22 percent above age 50. The majority of never-married parents are from ethnic minorities. For instance, about 40 percent are African Americans compared to 24 percent Latino. However the divorced or widowed parents depict a comparatively insignificant racial skew with about 58 percent white, 19 percent Latino, and 17 percent African Americans Wang 2013.
The difference in single parenthood across ethnicity could be a result of the levels of marriage instabilities and attitudes towards married life across cultures. Single-parent families, in general, have financial challenges with the majority in the low-income category. For instance in Michigan 81 percent of single families were poor. In most instances, poverty results from less education and insufficient work experience to secure well-paying employment and thus low income. Given these circumstances, about 55 percent of all poor children in the United States come from single-parent families with about 40 percent in the low-income category Mather 2012. However, the never-married widowed or divorced parents differ in their levels of education. For instance, about 49 percent of never-married mothers only graduated from high school when compared to about 35 percent of mothers from widowed or divorced families. However, for the divorced group, the college graduates increase by about 23 percent having college degrees Mather 2012. Although such families may benefit from extended family support these resources are less predictable and insufficient to drag them out of poverty. Children from families of divorced and never-married parents are similarly likely to have low trust and those who will enter into a relationship will likely exhibit the negative repercussion of divorce or single parenthood in their romantic relationships. In many instances, these children will likely face difficulties in holding to relationships in adulthood.
However, children of divorced parents are likely to develop different attitudes towards marriage than adolescents in widowed or never married single families. Particularly children who have witnessed messy divorce cases are very likely to feel that marriages are unstable or unpredictable. Also, individuals who have been raised by single parents are likely to believe that marriages are temporary and short-lived. More so girls from never married and divorced families would feel the need for love and care yet in the constant state of fear of being heartbroken Devall 2017. Evidently the similar behavior problems likely experienced by children in these families are tied to the structure of the family as opposed to gender. Single divorced or widowed parents show different levels of loneliness which is a lack of satisfying social support integration and relationship. According to Robards et al 2012 never-married adults are likely to experience higher levels of loneliness when their children move out of the family. Moreover divorced parents are likely to be lonelier later in life because of the limited contact with children since most divorce cases tend to disrupt the close relationship with parents Pinquart 2013. On the other hand, widowed parents are less likely to be lonely in comparison to divorced parents because of the close relationship they enjoy with the children who still consider the dead parent as a part of the family. The health risks of single parents are also likely to differ given the different circumstances they are likely to face. Single never married parents, in this case, are likely to face less risk for depression in comparison to divorced or widowed parents Waldron Weiss Hughes 2014.
It is because previously married individuals will have to undergo the trauma of marriage disruption, experience more financial challenges since they will have an increased child support responsibilities and less likely to have secured stable and well-paying employment in the past. Evidently widowed and divorced parents are likely to suffer negatively in health than never-married parents particularly in cases where these problems were not expected or where both partners did not voluntarily decide the divorce. The single parents are also likely to show dissimilar rates of remarriage in relation to social demographic factors. For example, single divorced and widowed parents from the ethnic minorities are more reluctant to get married in comparison to white single parents Watkins Waldron 2017. Moreover divorced individuals are more likely to get remarried faster in comparison to widowed individuals. In other words, widowed parents are likely to take much time before deciding to remarry regardless of the availability of children. It is because in some instances divorce is a voluntary choice whereas the death of a partner is the involuntary end of a marriage. In the event of a divorce, the parents involved are likely to look for new partners or they may even be involved in a new relationship before an end of the previous marriage. Different from a divorced parent a single widowed parent will likely avoid looking for a new relationship until after the grief has ended. According to Watkins and Waldron 2017, a study on the timing of remarriage among widowed and divorced single parents indicated that divorced parents remarried faster than widowed parents. However, the presence and age of children in a family do not affect the likelihood of remarriage among widowed parents as opposed to divorced parents. In these circumstances, it could be that widowhood occurs where children are no longer dependent on their parents for support as opposed to divorces mostly happening when most children are still younger.
In conclusion. the majority of poor children in families made of never-married widowed or divorced parents develop a unique perspective on family love and marriage. Since single parenting can be a difficult task, single parents often utilize ineffective parenting techniques such as less parental involvement supervision and control. These children end up developing a negative attitude towards marriage and relationships. The never-married widowed or divorced families differ in their levels of education although the majority fall in the low-income category. These families also show different levels of loneliness with never-married being a parent being the most likely to experience loneliness earlier in life. Also previously married parents face increased risk for health problems since they will have to undergo the trauma of marriage disruption. Nonetheless different from a divorced parent a single parent from widowhood will likely avoid looking for a new relationship until after the grief has ended as such widowed parents are likely to take much time before deciding to remarry as opposed to divorced parents. Understanding these social and behavioral characteristics of families made of single parents resulting from different circumstances within communities would be essential in providing them the essential support References Devall E 2017. Comparison of Role Demands Relationships and Child Functioning in Single Mother Single Father and Intact Families Journal of Divorce Remarriage 35 1 29 56 doi 10 1300 j087v35n01_02 Mather M 2012 US children in single-mother families Population Reference Bureau Data Brief May 2012 Pinquart M 2013 Loneliness in married widowed divorced and never-married older adults Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 20 1 31 53 doi 10 1177 0265407503020001186 Robards J Evandrou M Falkingham J Vlachantoni A 2012 Marital status health and mortality Maturitas 73 4 295 299 doi 10 1016 j maturitas 2012 08 007 Waldron I Weiss C C Hughes M E 2014 Marital status effects on health Are there differences between never married women and divorced and separated women Social Science Medicine 45 9 1387 1397 doi 10 1016 s0277 9536 97 00065 8 Wang W 2013 Chapter 4 Single Mothers Retrieved from http www pewsocialtrends org 2013 05 29 chapter 4 single mothers Watkins N K Waldron M 2017 Timing of Remarriage Among Divorced and Widowed Parents Journal of Divorce Remarriage 58 4 244 262 doi 10 1080 10502556 2017 1299456.