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Single Parent Families
Reasons for growth of single parent families
Divorce cheaper and easier
Social acceptance (secularisation)
Media ­ portrayed more positively
No longer seen as a sin
Welfare state has improved ( financial help available)
Increase of unmarried mothers (40% of all parent are not married)
General attitude toward marriage has changed
Single parent families are usually headed by women because:
Women are more likely to gain custody over children
Men are usually better paid so are reluctant to give up
Men may feel that looking after children could effect their masculinity
Women are more socially excepted into being the mother and carer for the
Secularisation decline is religious practice and thinking
Critical views on single parents Positive views on single parents
Functionalist argue that single parent Many children in single parent families
cannot provide adequate need and do succeed and progress to
socialisation therefore 2 parents are professional jobs
better CASHMORE (1985) said that one good
Single parent households are more parent is better than 2 bad parents if
likely to be on benefits from the there is conflict between the parents
welfare state than those of 2 parents then a single parent may be better for
not fair on those that work and pay the child
taxes (targeted at young unmarried Feminists are supportive of a single
mothers) parent family independence of the
Children do less well from single parent women as they may have left a
families compared to nuclear families. relationship due to domestic violence
Children in single parent families are Most women don't choose to be single
more likely to become a single parent parents but being single is part of
who is more likely to have a lower everyone's lifestyle and they may
income. come and form another nuclear family
Research summarised by McLanahan and Booth(1991)


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