One of the most striking changes in family structure over the last twenty years has been the increase of single parent families. In this family there is only one parent in the household raising the children. Due to high divorce rates and adults choosing not to marry, this is currently the fastest growing family form in North America. More than half of all children will spend some of their lives in a single-parent family. Currently, 88 percent of these families are headed by women.
In 1970, the number of single parent families with children under the age of 18 was 3.8 million; by 1990 the number had more than doubled to 9.7 million. For the first time in history, children are most likely to live in a single parent family for reasons other than the death of a parent. One in four children are born with their mothers not married, usually teenage mothers. One of the most expensive things for a single parent is child care.
Too often children living in single parent households have to contend with negative stereotypes and hurtful remarks made by insensitive adults. Regardless of whether the single parent family exists as result of divorce or death of the other parent, or the parent choosing not to marry, the child is clearly not responsible for the circumstances. However, it is often the child who pays the price. On the other hand, single families often have less tension compared to the tension in families before divorce. With reduced tension, the single parent can focus more clearly on the child’s needs. Usually parents and children are more willing to co-operate with each other to find solutions to solve household problems in single parent families.