Children of Single Parents at Disadvantage

The conservative think-tank Alabama Policy Institute has studied single parent families and doesn’t like what it sees. In its just-released study Family Matters – Family Structure and Child Outcomes, API finds that “children in non-intact families are at an educational and social disadvantage comjpared to children in traditional families.”

The report states that parents in single-parent families are less likely to hiave high expectations for their children and less likely to participate in school activities like volunteering at school and attending parent-teacher conferences.

The report implies that single-parents can employ some specific strategies to mediate the impact of the family structure on their child’s success. These strategies would include:

  • Continuing to hold and articulate high expectations for the performance of the child in school and in extracurricular activities
  • Volunteering in school (serving as room parent, accompanying classes on field trips, helping in the library, etc.)
  • Attending PTA meetings and parent-teacher conferences
  • Perhaps the most important strategy, however, would be avoiding cohabitating. The study found that cohabitating relationships and foster care were particularly damaging to children’s success in school.

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