Social, Economic and Psychological Challenges of Single Parent Family

Social, Economic, and Psychological Challenges of Single Parent Family in Ijebu-ode Local Government Area of Ogun State


The study investigated the social, economic, and psychological challenges of single-parent families in the Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State. The study cross-analyzed the degree of these challenges among the respondents in the study area.
The descriptive approach was adopted for data gathering. One hundred and forty-seven were the samples that responded to a questionnaire. The data gathered was analyzed with the statistical tool Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Mean and Standard Deviation.
The study revealed that single-parent families are vulnerable to social abuses such as being looked down upon, approached by any man, not being fit to appear at a social gathering, not socially approved, and do not wear a cheerful look. Again the study showed that raising children alone could be burdensome, they could be economically unstable, face financial crises; though they tend to attract more benevolence. Findings two also showed that only a handful of them live in ghettos.
The researcher however recommended that parents should ensure that their children don’t always bear the brunt when there is separation. Single parents should not be looked down upon as they are part and parcel of society. Laws and policies should be made and formulated forbidding any man approach women rudely.


1.1 Background to the Study

In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle suggested that a breakdown of the nuclear family was among the causes of recent riots in Los Angeles in which over fifty people had died. “I believe the lawless social anarchy which we saw is directly related to the breakdown of family structure, personal responsibility, and social order in too many areas of our society,” Quayle remarked. He went on to criticize society’s increasingly permissive attitude toward out-of-wedlock childbearing, pointing specifically to the treatment of the issue in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’”

Quayle’s speech, especially his reference to Murphy Brown, provoked an outpouring of commentary. Numerous Americans agreed with Quayle, expressing concern that the “traditional family” and “family values” were being undermined by a public morality that too readily condoned unwed motherhood and divorce. Many also agreed with Quayle’s argument that the media and popular culture were to blame for promoting loose sexual values and immoral lifestyles.

Others took exception to Quayle’s statements. Some, seeing his speech as a moralistic attack on single mothers, responded by insisting that most single mothers work hard to provide for their children and to raise them well. Others considered Quayle’s view of the traditional family as nostalgic and unrealistic, out of touch with the social and economic realities of life in contemporary America. The character Murphy Brown, played by actress Candice Bergen, directly responded to Quayle in a subsequent episode of the show. In words that doubtlessly resonated with many Americans, she declared, “Perhaps it’s time for the vice president to expand his definition [of the family] and recognize that whether by choice or circumstance families come in all shapes and sizes. And ultimately, what defines a family is commitment, caring, and love.”

The intensity of the public reaction to Quayle’s speech suggests that his comments touched on an issue of concern to a large number of people. Indeed, many commentators have expressed alarm about the increase in single-parent families over the past four decades. In 1960, they point out; 5.8 million American children lived in single-parent families; by 1996 that number had risen to 18 million. This growth has been fueled by an increasing rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing. In 1960, 5.3 percent of American babies were born to unwed mothers; that rate has increased to 30 percent. These numbers are even higher for African Americans: As of 1992, 68 percent of African American babies were born to unmarried women. A rising divorce rate has also contributed to the growing number of single-parent families. The U.S. divorce rate rose nearly 250 percent between 1960 and 1980; it then leveled off at what is now the highest rate in the industrialized world. It is commonly noted that about half of the marriages undertaken today will end in divorce.

Much of the debate over single-parent families focus on how these trends affect children. Many social scientists contend that children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to experience a variety of problems than are children raised in two-parent homes

A family is seen as a social group whose members are related by ancestry, marriage, or adoption and who live together, cooperate economically and care for the young (Murdock.1998).

A family is also seen as a group of individuals related to one another by blood ties, marriage, or adoption who form an economic unit, the adult members are responsible for the upbringing of children (Giddens, 1997).

Types of family relationships are always recognized within wider kinship groups. In virtually all societies we can identify what sociologists and anthropologists call the nuclear family two adults living together in a household with their own or adopted children.

Extended family may include grandparents, brothers, and their wives, sisters and their husbands, aunts, and nephews.

Single-parent families can be defined as families where a parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner. There was a rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in the latter half of the twentieth century. This change has been used by some to argue that we are witnessing the breakdown of the family (defined as a married couple residing with their dependent offspring) with negative effects on children, families, and society (Popenoe 1996).

Types of single-parent families are generally categorized by the sex of the custodial parent (mother-only or father-only families).

Mother-only families include widows, divorced and separated women, and never-married mothers. In the case of divorce, mothers are usually given custody in the United States and other developed countries. In Italy, in 1997, for example, 90 percent of children whose parents divorced went into the custody of their mothers. Since the vast majority of single parents are mothers, most of the research focuses on female-headed families. However, regardless of sex, single parents share similar problems and challenges (Grief 1985).

Father-only families formed as a result of widowhood, desertion by the mother, or wives refusing custody. The increase in father-only families is due, in part, to the efforts of fathers to obtain custody of their children. Factors supporting their transition into primary parenthood include financial security, prior involvement in housework and child care during the marriage, satisfaction with child-care arrangements, and a shared sense of responsibility for the marital breakup (Grief 1985).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem of this study is to find out the most urgent problem that now faces single-parent families. These problems include social, psychological, economic, and financial problems.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study will specifically examine the challenges facing single-parent families in terms of social, economic, and psychological needs.

1.4 Research questions:

The following questions will be tackled in the process of this research

What are the social challenges of single-parent families?

What are the economic challenges of single-parent families?

What are the psychological challenges facing single-parent families?

Is there any significant difference in the challenges of a single parent as perceived by the respondent based on their age group, academic qualification, and occupation? 

1.5 Significance of the study

The essence of this research is to know the parent and children’s standard of living in single-parent families in ijebu-ode local government.

1.6 Definitions of terms

Family: The social group, whose members are related by ancestry, Blood, Marriage, or who live together, cooperate economically and care for the young once.

Single parent: A parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner.

Nuclear family: Two adults living together in a household with their own or Adopted children.

Extended family: These are grandparents, brothers and their wives, sisters, And their\husbands, aunts, and nephews.

Mothers only families: The widows divorced and separated women, and Never-Married mothers.

Fathers-only families: Widowhood, desertion by the mother, or wives refusing custody.


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