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The Consequences of Single Parenthood.

A Pan-African study by two Canadian sociologists in 2013 showed that Kenya has one of the highest levels of children born out of wedlock in Africa, the most affected being women in their late teens and early 20s who are increasingly being left to raise children single-handedly after their male partners flee. The research also revealed that six of every 10 Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers by the time they reach 45 with approximately 30% of Kenyan families being headed by only one parent.


Sociologists warn that this trend could have a deep impact on society because studies in other parts of the world have shown that a significant number of children brought up in single parent families have lower life prospects than their peers brought up in two-parent families. Children from single-parent families are also said to be more likely to have behavioral problems because they tend to lack economic security and adequate time with parents.

It is also argued that children from broken homes are nine times more likely to commit a crime than those brought up in stable families.

Many pundits believe that the crime wave experienced today is caused by an increasing number of single mother families. According to a 1993 Metropolitan Life Survey, “Violence in America's Public Schools”, 71% of teachers and 90% of law enforcement officials stated that the lack of parental supervision at home was a major factor that contributed to the violence in schools. 61% of primary school pupils and 76% of secondary children agreed with this assessment.

Role of the father.

Sociologist argue that fathers typically offer economic stability, a role model for boys, greater household security and reduced stress for mothers. This is especially true for families with adolescent boys, the most crime-prone cohort.

Children from single-parent families are more prone than children from two-parent families to use drugs, be gang members, be expelled from school, be committed to reform institutions, and become juvenile murderers. Single parenthood inevitably reduces the amount of time a child has in interaction with someone who is attentive to the child's needs, including the provision of moral guidance and discipline.

There is no doubt that single-parent households face significant challenges, both for the parent and the child. Varied research shows that children in single-parent homes fare worse than those with two parents. There is a prevalence of lower birth-rates and higher death rates among infants in one-parent homes. The number of children aged 15 to 17 years in school and in good health is much lower in children from single-parent homes as compared to two-parent homes. The number of children becoming pregnant at these ages is also increasing.

Other shocking statistics.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report).

Father Factor in Crime.

A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single-mother household while 16% lived with neither parent.

Father Factor in Child Abuse.

Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.

Daughters of single parents without a father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.

Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions (juvenile prisons) come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).

Father Factor in Incarceration.

Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46% of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

This quantitative study is an indication that were pertaining to parental behavior and likelihood of youth engagement in crime. The results indicated that there was some relationship between the family structure and criminal activity among youth.

Importance of the family structure.

Family structure was extremely important. The most important institution in our society which serves as the foundation for social and personal development and upon which America relies for its success and well-being is the family.

In the urban community setup, the challenge of single-parent households has plagued the communities living in these area with crime. Crimes committed by youth are at an all-time high due to the growing number of single-parent households that live in poverty.

Years ago, it was taboo to have a child out-of-wedlock. Often couples were married as the result of what was known as a shotgun-wedding. It was common practice if a man got a woman pregnant, he would marry her before the baby was born. We need to rethink our strategy once again.

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