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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the study

Single parenting or single parenthood is a parent bringing up a child or children alone without a partner. The reasons for this can vary. They may have been in a relationship which they left, or their partner might have passed away, or been summoned to an active job.When you go back to 500 years, the parenting approach was completely different. There is a phrase that says “it takes a village to raise a child,” which is quite accurate. Then, the child used to be nurtured by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and close families. With the time and modernization, the ‘village’ shrank, and it still continues to disappear. Human beings have evolved so that the community raises them, but when it is not present, then the dysfunction will potentially develop.In 1992, when Dan Quayle condemned the television character Murphy Brown for giving birth out of wedlock, he reopened an old debate that quickly became highly polarized. Some people claimed that growing up in a fatherless home was the major cause of child poverty, delinquency, and school failure, while others denied that single motherhood had any harmful effects. And some objected even to discussing the topic for fear of stigmatizing single mothers and their children.Not talking about single motherhood is scarcely an option. More than half of the children born in 1994 will spend some or all of their childhood with only one parent, typically their mother. If current patterns hold, they will likely experience higher rates of poverty, school failure, and other problems as they grow up. The long-range consequences could have enormous implications.But what exactly are the consequences -- how large and concentrated among what groups? Do they depend on whether a single mother is widowed, divorced, or never married? Does public support for single mothers inadvertently increase the number of women who get divorced or choose to have a baby on their own?Many people hold strong opinions about these issues. For example, conservatives such as former Education Secretary William Bennett and Charles Murray, the author of Losing Ground, believe that single motherhood is so harmful and public support is so significant an inducement for unwed women to have babies that it is time to get tough with the mothers. Murray has even proposed denying unwed mothers child support payments from nonresident fathers. In Murray's eyes, the mothers are fully responsible for any children they bear in an age when contraceptives and abortion are freely available. Of the father Murray says: As far as I can tell, he has approximately the same causal responsibility as a slice of chocolate cake has in determining whether a woman gains weight.

Meanwhile, some liberal critics see single mother as a codeword for "black, welfare mother." They view the focus on out-of-wedlock births and family breakup as an effort to divert public attention and social policy from overcoming racism and lack of opportunity. And then there are the feminists who regard Quayle's attack on Murphy Brown as a symbolic attack on the moral right of women to pursue careers and raise children on their own. So great are the passions aroused by the debate over the morality of single motherhood that a clear-eyed view of the consequences of single motherhood has been difficult. But to make any progress, we had best know what those are.

 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 for children, families, and society (Popenoe 1996). Others suggest that single-parent families have been present in all societies over time and should not be viewed as deviant or problematic, but rather as an alternative family form (Coontz 1997). Regardless of how family diversity is viewed the increase in and prevalence of families headed by one parent has a major influence on the social, economic, and political context of family life.Globally, one-quarter to one-third of all families are headed by single mothers, calling into question the normativeness of couple headed families. Developed countries, in particular, are experiencing an increase in single-parent families as divorce becomes more common. The United States has the highest percentage of single-parent families (34% in 1998) among developed countries, followed by Canada (22%), Australia (20%), and Denmark (19%). In developing countries, divorce is not as common, but desertion, death, and imprisonment produce single-parent families, primarily headed by women (Kinnear 1999). Rates vary country to country from a low of less than 5 percent in Kuwait to a high of over 40 percent in Botswana and Barbados. In countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Tobago more than 25 percent of households are headed by women

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Raising a child as a single parent is very stressful. As a single parent, you have to handle several tasks and make more than a few decisions. You may require effective ways to manage the special challenges single parents usually experience, to support and nurture your little one. Single parenting or single parenthood is a parent bringing up a child or children alone without a partner. The reasons for this can vary. They may have been in a relationship which they left, or their partner might have passed away, or been summoned to an active job or divorce. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the effect, causes and remedy to single parenthood.

1.3      OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of single parenting.  But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intend to achieve the following sub-objective

i)             To ascertain the causes of single parenthood in the society

ii)           To investigate the effect of single parenting on the psychological well-being of a child

iii)          To examine if there is any relationship between single parenting and low self-esteem of the child

iv)         To proffer suggested solution to the problem of single parenting

1.4      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher:

H0:single parenting does not have any psychological effect on the well-being of the child

H1:single parenting does have a psychological effect on the well-being of the child

H02:there is no significant relationship between single parenting and low self-esteem of the child

H2:there is a significant relationship between single parenting and low self-esteem of the child

1.5      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of importance to marriage counselors, pastors and other religious authority in counseling their wards on the challenges of single parenthood, the study will also be of importance to single parents and potential parents as the study seek to enumerate the positive and negative effect of single parenthood in our society. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intend to embark on a study in similar topic as the study will serve as a pathfinder to other researchers. The study will also be of importance to students, teachers, lecturers and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter   

1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the causes, effect and remedy of single parenthood. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors beyond the control of the researcher which limited the scope of the study

(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.     

(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.     

(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Parents

In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A biological parent is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male through the sperm, and a female through the ovum. Parents are first-degree relatives and have 50% genetic meet.

Single parent

A single parent is a parent that parents alone without the other parents support etc. Meaning this particular parent, male or female, is the only parent to the child, responsible for all financial, material and emotional needs. It means there is an absence of the other parent as opposed to a co-parent; meaning that the parent is not the only parent regardless of whether or not they are a couple. Of course, this definition is loosely true. There is no true definition of what "single parent" means and is more based on opinions Sometimes one finds themselves in a single-parent family structure that has arisen due to death of the partner, intentional artificial insemination, or unplanned pregnancy

Child

Biologically, a child (plural: children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.     Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.


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