Bad outcomes for children raised by single mother/parent

Western research points to worse outcomes for children raised in single parent/mother families. There is ample amount of research and studies done in Western countries about effects on children on being raised in single parent families (especially single mother families since 83% of single parent households in US are single mother households) (source: There is no study which suggests that a child does better when raised by a single mother/parent as compared to a two biological parents intact family. However almost all studies indicate worse outcomes for child (whether boy or girl) raised in a single mother/parent household. References and conclusions of many such studies are given below (following citations are selected more from point of view of bad outcomes/effects on girl children, for citations of following and other studies refer to this page):

———- Viktor Gecas, “Born in the USA in the 1980’s: Growing Up in Difficult Times,” Journal of Family Issues 8 [December, 1987], 434- 436; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, July, 1988: “‘What are the consequences of these family trends [rising levels of divorce, illegitimacy and maternal employment] for child rearing? Not good. At the very least, these trends suggest decreasing contact between parents and children, and decreasing parental involvement in child rearing….Poor cognitive and emotional development, low self-esteem, low self-efficiency, antisocial behavior, and pathologies of various kinds are some of the consequences.’ “Professor Gecas blames family breakdown for the disturbing levels of drug use, teen pregnancy, teen suicide, delinquency, and academic failure now found in America. Nothing, he urges, could be more important than to strengthen the family ‘if the next generation is to have much of a chance.'” ——— Sara S. McLanahan, “Family Structure and Dependency: Reality Transitions to Female Household Headship,” Demography 25, Feb., l988, 1-16: “Daughters from female-headed households are much more likely than daughters from two-parent families to themselves become single parents and to rely on welfare for support as adults….[L]iving with a single mother at age l6 increases a daughter’s risk of becoming a household head by 72 percent for whites and 100 percent for blacks. The contrast becomes even sharper if the comparison is between daughters continuously living in two-parent families with daughters living with an unmarried mother at any time between ages 12 and 16: ‘Exposure to single motherhood at some point during adolescence increases the risk [of a daughter’s later becoming a household head] by nearly 1-1/2 times for whites and…by about 100 percent for blacks.’ The public costs of this differential emerge in figures showing that a daughter living in a single-parent household at any time during adolescence is far more likely (127 percent more likely among whites, 164 percent among blacks) to receive welfare benefits as an adult, compared to daughters from two-parent households.” ——— Gary Bauer, “Report to the President from the White House Working Group on the Family,” quoted in Phyllis Schlafly Report, February, l988: “A study by Stanford University’s Center of the Study of Youth Development in l985 indicated that children in single-parent families headed by mothers have higher arrest rates, more disciplinary problems in school, and a greater tendency to smoke and run away from home than do their peers who live with both natural parents–no matter what their income, race, or ethnicity.” ——— Anthony L. Pillay, “Psychological Disturbances in Children of Single Parents,” Psychological Reports, 61, [October, l987]: 803-6; excerpted in The Family in America: New Research, April, l988: “Children raised in a single-parent household are much more likely to suffer psychological disturbances and break the law than children from intact families….[Of 147 children taken to a psychological clinic] 89 of them–six out of every ten–came from nonintact families….[C]hildren–both male and female–are more likely to turn to drugs when they have only one parent. But problems are most serious among fatherless boys, who ‘exhibited less self-control, delay in gratification, and internalized standards of moral judgement than did boys whose families remained intact,’ and were ‘more antisocial, impulsive and likely to belong to delinquent groups.’ Because ‘boys reared without their fathers appear to be substantially disadvantaged’ by the ‘lack [of] a significant model for sex-appropriate behavior, the current trend in awarding custody almost automatically to mothers’ should be reexamined.” ——— Robert Zagar, et al., “Developmental and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Among Delinquents,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28 [1989]: 437-440, epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, September, 1989: “Psychotic delinquents rarely come from intact families. Officials documented a familiar pattern in a recent survey of almost 2,000 children and adolescents referred by the Circuit Court of Cook County–Juvenile Division for psychiatric evaluation. This group of troubled children included 84 orphans (4 percent), 1,272 from single-parent homes (65 percent), 269 from stepparent families (14 percent), and just 331 from intact two-parent families (17 percent).” ——— Suzanne Southworth and J. Conrad Schwarz, “Post-Divorce Contact, Relationship with Father, and Heterosexual Trust in Female College Students,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, No. 3 [July, 1987], 379-381; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, October, 1987: “In surveying 104 female college students from divorced and intact families, Drs. Suzanne Southworth and J. Conrad Schwarz discover evidence that ‘the experience of divorce and its aftermath have long-term effects on young college women’s trust in the opposite sex and on their plans for the future.’ Particularly, the [University of Connecticut, Stors] team find that ‘daughters from divorced homes are more likely to anticipate cohabitation before marriage’ than are daughters of intact marriages. Among daughters of intact homes it was found that ‘only daughters who had a poor relationship with the father planned to cohabit,’ while among daughters of divorced parents ‘plans to cohabit were uniformly high and unrelated to the father’s acceptance and consistency of love.'” ——— Susan Newcomer and J. Richard Udry, “Parental Marital Status Effects on Adolescent Sexual Behavior,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, No. 2 [May, l987], pp. 235-40; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, August, l987: “Daughters in one-parent homes are much more likely to engage in premarital sex than are daughters in two-parent homes….Adolescent girls reared without fathers are much more likely to be sexually active than girls raised by two parents. Girls raised in single-parent homes are also much more likely to be involved in ‘other age-graded delinquencies’ than are girls in two-parent homes….The research team also found that the sexual activity of sons increases markedly when a two-parent home breaks up through divorce or separation.” ——— Paul G. Shane, “Changing Patterns Among Homeless and Runaway Youth,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 59, April, 1989, 208- 214: “In general, homeless youth are more likely to come from female-headed, single-parent, or reconstituted families with many children, particularly step-siblings.” ——— James Coleman, “Educational Achievement: What We Can Learn from the Catholic Schools,” Associates Memo, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, No. 15, November 4, l988: “It is important to remember that schools as we know them have never been very successful with weak families. These days many more families have become weak, either because they are single-parent families or because both parents are working and the family cannot devote sufficient time and attention to children.” ——— John Guidubaldi and Joseph D. Perry, “Divorce, Socioeconomic Status, and Children’s Cognitive-Social Competence at School Entry,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 54 (3). July, l984, 459-68: “The direction of the relationships indicates that children from single-parent homes tended to have significantly lower academic and personal-social competencies than did children from two-parent families….This study provides evidence that children from divorced family homes enter school with significantly less social and academic competence than those from intact families….[S]ingle-parent status resulting from divorce predicts poor academic and social school entry competence in addition to and independent of SES [socio-economic status].” ——— Maxine Thompson, Karl L. Alexander, and Doris R. Entwisle, “Household Composition, Parental Expectations, and School Achievement,” Social Forces, 67, Dec., 1988, 424-451; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, April, 1989: “Married black couples expect better school performance from their children than do single black parents–and their children respond accordingly. In a recent study conducted at the Johns Hopkins University and North Carolina State University, researchers found that black first-grade students from married-couple households outperform their peers from single-parent households….The researchers stress that these gaps cannot be explained by economic differences nor by any discernible differences in initial ability levels.” ——— Carol Z. Garrison, “Epidemiology of Depressive Symptoms in Young Adolescents,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28, 1989, 343-351; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, November, 1989: “Teens living in single- parent or step-family households are more likely to suffer from depression than teens living in intact families…. Persistent symptoms of depression showed up significantly less often among young teens living with both natural parents than among peers living with only one parent or with one parent and a stepparent.” ——— Tony Campolo, “Too Old, Too Soon: The New Junior Higher,” Youthworker, 4, [Spring, 1987], 20-25; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, August, 1987: “…Dr. Compolo observes that young Americans now ‘do things in their early teens that a generation ago were reserved for older high schoolers.’ The primary reason for this ‘transformation of junior highers,’ he believes, is the ‘diminishing presence of parents’ in the lives of young adolescents. Because many of them live in single-parent homes or in two-income homes where both parents are ‘out of their homes much of the time,’ young teenagers are ‘left with the freedom to do what they want to do.’…Dr. Campolo reports that many young teenagers become ’emotionally disturbed and psychologically disoriented’ when given personal autonomy prematurely.” ——— Carolyn Webster-Stratton, “The Relationship of Marital Support, Conflict and Divorce to Parent Perceptions, Behaviors, and Childhood Conduct Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51 [1989], 417-30, quoted in The Family in America: New Research, October, 1989: “Compared with the maritally distressed [households in which couples reported relatively unsatisfactory marriages] and supported [households in which mothers reported satisfactory marriages] mother groups, single mothers reported more parenting stress and perceived their children as having significantly more behavior problems.” ——— Heather Munroe Blum, et al., “Single Parent Families: Academic and Psychiatric Risk,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27 [1988], 214-219; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, July, 1988: “The children of broken homes are frequently emotionally disturbed and academically incompetent. In a new study of nearly 3,000 Canadian children (ages 4-16), researchers found that ‘children with psychiatric disorder are 1.7 times more likely to be from a single-parent family than a two- parent family.’ One major disturbance–‘conduct disorder’–was found to be well over twice as common in children of single parents. The same children who are suffering emotionally are also suffering educationally: ‘single-parent children are 1.7 times as likely to demonstrate poor school performance as are two-parent children.’ ——— Richard Polanco, Los Angeles Times, 7 May, 1989: “As of 1988, more than 35,000 adolescents nationwide were in psychiatric treatment in the private sector. This figure has doubled since 1980, and the numbers are growing….The absence of involvement of the father in so many post-divorce families, coupled with the overburdened state of many single mothers, seems at least partly responsible for the prevalence of externalizing, aggressive behavior problems among children of divorce.” ——— Elyce Wakerman, Father Loss: Daughters Discuss the Man that Got Away (Garden City, N. Y: Doubleday, 1984), p. l09: “A study of teenage girls by Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington revealed that daughters of divorced parents had lower self-esteem than those of intact or widowed families. By aligning with mother’s anger, they may have blunted the reconciliation wish, but it was at the cost of their own self-image. Describing the self-defeating pattern, Deidre Laiken writes, ‘Being one with Mother means relinquishing our natural and necessary longings for Father…[But] low self-esteem is a natural and very evident result of a merger with the…parent who was left…’ Identifying with the rejected female, as most daughters of divorce do, has two other, far-reaching influences on the young girl’s developing attitudes. First, she may incorporate her mother’s bitterness and distrust of men. And she is reluctant to succeed where her mother has failed. Having lost her father, she is acutely dependent on her mother’s continued affection, and to surpass her in the romantic arena would be to risk separation from her one remaining parent.” ——— Sara McLanahan and Larry Bumpass, “Intergenerational Consequences of Family Disruption,” American Journal of Sociology 4 [July, l988], l30-52; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, October, l988: “In a new study at the University of Wisconsin, sociologists found that daughters raised in single- parent households do not do well in building successful family life as adults. A particularly striking pattern emerged among white women who had lived in a single-parent family created through divorce or illegitimacy. Compared to white women raised in intact families, these women were ’53 percent more likely to have teenage marriages, 111 percent more likely to have teenage births, l64 percent more likely to have premarital births, and 92 percent more likely to experience marital disruptions.’ Overall, ‘there appears to be some lower family orientation associated with one-parent childhood experience.’…The study concludes that the present upheaval in the American family is liable to have aftershocks which will be felt for generations to come: ‘More than half of today’s children will have had family experiences that are likely to have negative consequences for their subsequent marital and fertility life courses.'” ——— Irma Moilanen and Paula Rantakallio, “The Single Parent Family and the Child’s Mental Health,” Social Science and Medicine, 27 [l988], l8l-6; epitomized in The Family in America: New Research, October, l988: “The evidence mounts that children without two parents are much more likely to develop psychiatric problems….Finnish researchers found that children from single- parent homes were at significantly greater risk from most psychiatric disorders than children from intact homes. Those who had only one parent through the child’s life were at greatest risk: boys were three times as likely to be disturbed as their counterparts from intact families, and girls were four times as likely to be disturbed. Nor was the harm strictly mental.” ——— Education Reporter, December, l986: “A study by Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Youth Development in l985 indicated that children in single-parent families headed by a mother have higher arrest rates, more disciplinary problems in school, and a greater tendency to smoke and run away from home than do their peers who live with both natural parents–no matter what their income, race, or ethnicity.” ———

Girls have equally bad outcomes as boys who grow without father’s presence. The conclusion of above studies amply demonstrate that there is bad effect and worse outcomes for children if they grow without presence of father, whether boys or girls. While these studies from US and not India, it would not be appropriate to dismiss them outright on the ground that cultural norms are different in the two countries. Child development and psychology including how these are affected by family dynamics is not something which is affected a lot by differing cultural norms.