By: Christina Michalek
Table of Contents
Statement of the Problem
Statement of Problem
In today’s world, more and more children are being
born into single-parent households. It is a trend that
is becoming very common. As a result, children’s
academic achievement is being affected. Some
researchers state that achievement is being affected
negatively, while others state that the type of
household a child is brought up in affects academic
Featherstone, Cundick, & Jensen (2002) focus on different
variables that may affect student academic achievement.
Such factors include gender, socioeconomic status, and
family type.Their research stated two different viewpoints,
focusing on the impact of fathers in a household.
Marks (2006) developed a cross-cultural study where he
found that socioeconomic backgrounds are another issue
that affects academic achievement of children. In a single
parent family, only one income is being gathered. This
limits families with the resources and support that children
need at home and in school.
Parental involvement is one of the major issues that affects
academic achievement. If parents are not capable of
providing time for their children, the lives of the children
will be affected. Parents should not only be involved at
home, but in school as well. The National Center for
Education Statistics (1997) reported that children from
grades 6 through 12 earned A’s if their parents were
involved in school activities (Min Lee, Kushner, & Ho Cho,
Carlsen (1993) researched the “Family-School Research
Project” which is designed to determine any patterns that
are evident between the life of a child at home and their
successes in school. Carlsen (1993) also goes on to mention
the factor of parental support as an affect of student
“The Future of Children” (2008) mentions a few different
issues that need to be considered when discussing single
parent families. Parental support and economic hardship
are amongst the several factors of academic achievement.
The article also mentions discipline issues. Single parents
are not able to set ground rules for their children, so
expectations cannot be set in the household.
Shim, Felner, & Shim (2000) focus on how family structure
affects achievement. The main part of their research is that
parental expectations of their children was the predictor of
how their children performed academically. If parents
established high expectations for their children, then they
would perform well in school. If no expectations were set,
students performed poorly and became stressed.
An article found in One Parent Families Scotland (2001) states that it is “less
desirable for children to be brought up by one parent than two parents.” This is
a common statement amongst many different researchers. The article focuses
most importantly on why single parent families affect academic achievement.
Jeynes (1998) takes another approach where remarriage and
reconstructed families are considered. In a reconstructed family,
parents were separated/divorced and the parents remarried someone
else. This may not benefit all children even though there is now a two
parent household. There may be hatred and anger towards the “new”
parent coming from the children.
Amato (2005) agrees with the previous researchers. He states that
children in single parent families face cognitive, social, and emotional
problems. These problems reflect in their academic achievement.
Amato (2005) states hypotheses on what he thinks the future will
bring, after the implementation of different interventions that may
help children in single parent families.
Family Deficit Risk & Protection
Model Factor Model
Two parent household Does not view single
parent families as
is ideal and normal. irregular.
Single parent families It does not support single
negatively impact parent families.
children. However, it does state
that there are some
strengths in a single
(Heatherington, Mavis, & Kelly,
Student academic achievement is affected by single-
parent families. Students who are a part of a single-
parent family succeed less in school , as opposed to
students who are a part of a two-parent family. Factors
such as lack of parental support and socioeconomic
status affect student academic achievement.