“Life in the fast lane” (Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Don Henley) is an accurate assessment of single parenthood. The life of a single parent consists of being constantly on the go and there is never any rest for the weary. Single parenthood is growing at an alarming rate in the United States and it is having an overall negative impact on our society. There are many types of single parent households and they face numerous problems that two parent families do not. Measures need to be taken to improve the quality of life for our future generation. According to Families and Living Arrangements: 2007, some 73.7 million children younger than 18 lived in the United States. Of these, 67.8 percent lived with
married parents, 2.9 percent lived with two unmarried parents, 25.8 percent lived with
one parent and 3.5 percent lived with no parent present (U.S. Census Bureau).
In the United States, according to “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005”, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007, there are approximately 13.6 million single custodial parents raising approximately 26% of all children under the age of 21. 84% of these parents are mothers and 16% are fathers (U.S. Census Bureau).
Since 1950, the number of one-parent families has increased substantially. In 1970, about 11 percent of children lived in single-parent families. During the 1970s, divorce became much more common, and the number of families headed by one parent increased rapidly. The number peaked in the 1980s and then declined slightly in the 1990s. By 1996, 31 percent of children lived in single-parent families. In 2002, the number was 28 percent. Many other children have lived in single-parent families for a time before their biological parent remarried, when they moved into a two-parent family with one biological parent and one step parent.
Single parenthood is attributed to choice, divorce, adoption, and death. Although women head most single families, more fathers are taking on the responsibility as well. There are also many single grandparents who have stepped up to the plate to care for their grandchildren. Many people are choosing, in increasing numbers, to adopt or have children without a partner.
Single mothers have a more difficult time supporting their children without the father because they are usually in lower paying jobs. Even in families where both parents work, the majority of wives have jobs that supplement the family income. They also do not see as many promotions because they are usually the parent that has to take off work to deal with childhood illnesses, school issues, and other family related appointments or obligations. Even when men and women hold the same position in the same company, women are traditionally paid less. In order to get better pay, women are forced to work overtime or shift work in order to increase pay. This leaves the children without parental guidance for longer periods of time. On the positive side, due to the increased responsibilities that women have taken on; job, home, kids, husband, church, community functions, school, etc, they have learned to become more effective organizers and leaders.
Men have also been conditioned to help out more around the house and with the children than they have in the past. They are better off as single parents economically for the most part but they are at a disadvantage when it comes to the everyday aspects of dealing with the kids, especially when they will not get out of the bed and they fight when it comes getting them dressed, fixing hair, getting breakfast, lunch made, on the bus, and that sort of thing. It is not that there are not any fathers out there performing these tasks on a daily basis but mothers usually handle these aspects of family life and they take on jobs that will accommodate their family. Since men make more money, they always have the option of hiring a live in nanny or housekeeper so they can focus