Are Single Parent Families Dysfunctional? Essay

4510 words - 19 pages

The development of a child relies heavily on family. Family is a highly important factor that must be considered and understood when looking at the overall development of humans (Lidz 1983).

Traditionally families are composed of two parental figures of the opposite sex and their biological children. The numbers of traditional two parent families have dwindled over the decades. These types of families are rapidly declining in modern society. Single parents are raising a significantly larger proportion of children. In 2007 there were approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States. Of these, approximately 84% of mothers had custody of the children and merely ...view middle of the document...

This is necessary, as it has been argued that categorizing such families as dysfunctional is incorrect and invalid as their numbers continue to grow in our society. Also, children from these families are often just as competent as those in two parent families. It is necessary to examine and evaluate the research into these types of families to determine if indeed they may be detrimental to the development of children as single parent families continue to increase. If it is concluded that these families do hinder development, the assumptions that have always been made that dictate that two parent families are better than single parent families will be deemed correct and further, measures could be taken to reduce their numbers in an attempt to reduce their frequency.

To explore whether single parent families should be categorized as dysfunctional it is necessary to look at what characteristics define the term dysfunctional, as well as what aspects would categorize a family as dysfunctional while assessing the evidence provided by research into single parent led families and the overall outcome of the children raised in such families. The most crucial aspect that must be looked at is the manner in which parents treat the children within these families. This is because the greatest indicator of dysfunction within a family is the outcome of the children that come from said families. It is also important to consider the social perception of single parent families and whether they should be categorized as dysfunctional in modern society considering their increasing numbers. Dysfunctional families tend to hinder the development of children and have long lasting effects on their emotional, cognitive and behavioural development. It is important to consider this when classifying certain family structures as dysfunctional.

Resource reliability

Most of the resources used whilst compiling the research used in this essay were journals, articles and psychological papers found online on the subject matter. The resources have been found to be relatively secure. However, it must be noted that Wikipedia was also used to acquire a single definition, Wikipedia has the capacity to be edited online by anyone, which may affect the reliability of the information found. This fact however, should not have a significant effect as the definition correlates with that which was provided by other platforms.

Dysfunctional families

To tackle the research question “are single parent families dysfunctional?” it is necessary to first look at the definition of a dysfunctional family. It is defined as ”a family in which conflict, misbehaviour, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occurs continually and regularly” also, “dysfunctional families are primarily a result of co-dependent adults, and may also be affected by addictions, such as substance abuse”. According to the Texas state counselling centre a dysfunctional family is defined by little...

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