What are the effects of having a single parent?

Single Dad with baby strapped to his front, getting baby food at the grocery store

What are the effects of having a single parent? We all know someone who grew up with a single parent, or we might have even grown up with a single parent ourselves. The idea around the modern ‘nuclear family’ is that a family is one that consists of children and their respective parents.

Does this mean that children who have only one parent, are more susceptible to possible negative effects psychologically, socially, as a family, etc? According to some studies done in Sweden, children who have only one parents have double the ‘incidence of psychiatric illness, apparent suicide attempts, substance abuse issues, and lower self esteem’.

But why?

It is said that children who are in a single parent home might not have the stability that a double parent home would have. The single parent won’t have the other parent to bounce ideas, strategies, decisions, and be able to take breaks with. And in turn, the children will see the single parent suffer or struggle more in these types of situations.

If the parents are going through a divorce, are they able to keep the tension, arguments, and possible resentment away from the children? Are they able to still keep the other parent in a positive light to benefit the children? One of the biggest problems families going through a divorce is the parents will let their anger or sadness paint a negative light on the other parent, and the children will pick up on that. Being able to not speak negatively or aggressively about the other parent to the child (or in front of the child) is key to their adaptation and acceptance of the divorce.

There is a wonderful in depth article over at How Stuff Works on all of the psychological effects of having just one parent, where they give tips and solutions on how to weather the storm if you’re struggling as a single parent.