Single-parent families are typically viewed as a relatively rare phenomenon, yet the specified type of family structure occurs much more frequently than one might think. However, despite being a common issue, the issue at hand is seen as a rather contentious and, therefore, quite controversial social topic (Baumbusch et al., 2018). As a result, single parents and especially single mothers, face significant stigma in modern society (Stack & Meredith, 2018). Herein lies the significance of the problem since the social stigma is likely to lead to social ostracism of the specified population. Due to the prejudices associated with single parenthood, particularly divorced mothers, active social support, specifically counseling, will have to be provided to single mothers and their children to address possible mental health and behavioral issues.
However, the close focus on counseling and offering social and emotional support for the target populations may lead to rather unexpected and quite negative outcomes. Namely, some may consider the specified approach as intrusive and undermining their autonomy and authority as parents (Baumbusch et al., 2018). As a result, the specified demographic may become unnecessarily defensive to the idea of receiving assistance from social support services and being provided with counseling opportunities.
Nonetheless, the importance of offering active social assistance in the form of counseling, as well as psychological and emotional support for single mothers, still remains a rational and reasonable response to the current situation with single-parent families. The required change will imply making several vital steps. Firstly, and most importantly, there is a strong body of evidence indicating that single mothers need active support and directions from social service experts, primarily in regard to assisting their children in overcoming the effects of divorce or parting with their fathers. Indeed, the available evidence shows that children of single mothers, particularly boys, are dangerously prone to the development of a plethora of mental health issues. Specifically, mental health disorders ranging from PTSD to anxiety disorders to depression have proven to be quite common in children, as well as their mothers (Pollmann-Schult, 2018). Consequently, mandatory assistance of social workers will be vital in addressing the described concerns.
Additionally, the problem of failing to meet the emotional needs of children of single mothers deserves closer scrutiny. Studies prove that the extent of emotional rapport that single mothers develop with their children is often insufficient for a strong bond and, therefore, the successful development of a child, hence behavioral issues and the associated concerns (Hertz et al., 2021). Thus, the assistance of social services will be vital to ensure the well-being of the specified demographic.
It should also be mentioned that the role of divorce in the development of children and the strategies for managing the trauma that separation causes them is an underlying issue of major importance. Recent research informs the necessity to introduce an action plan for helping children overcome the trauma and the associated challenges by increasing the extent and quality of child-parent communication (Pollmann-Schult, 2018). Therefore, counseling services and the related assistance strategies are vital for addressing the described concern.
Overall, the issue under analysis needs to be resolved to avoid any further instances of children in single-parent families developing mental health issues and mothers suffering from the inability to assist their children in overcoming the struggles associated with the stress. Furthermore, it is vital to address the problem of the social stigma that surrounds the issue of single parenting, particularly, the persona of a single mother (Sharabi & Marom-Golan, 2018). In turn, the provision of consistent professional support and the control over the emotional and psychological development of children, as well as the relationships within the family, is critical in managing the needs of the target demographic. The problem at hand involves substantial responsibility since it affects the lives of vulnerable groups, namely, women and children. The future of the issue appears to be quite promising given the emphasis on child welfare and the importance of addressing the needs of populations at risk. Therefore, by researching the issue, one will be able to understand the needs of the specified populations and the strategies that can be used to offer effective counseling significantly better. Namely, research should be centered on the issue of identifying effective frameworks for assisting single mothers and their children. Additionally, programs for reducing the stigma of single motherhood need to be implemented to ensure that the extent of social pressure on single mothers and their children is alleviated.
Due to the detrimental effects of social stigma associated with single mothers, the target population and their children must be provided with social support, specifically, counseling and the provision of professional therapy from social workers. Thus, mental and emotional health issues, as well as behavioral disorders, can be prevented in children and their mothers, allowing for a healthier environment for both. Moreover, the described intervention will allow affecting the current social perceptions of single mothers and their children, therefore, alleviating the pressure and contributing to the social acceptance of the target demographic. Finally, the outlined change will provide the foundation for alterations in policies regarding the management of the needs of single mothers and their children. Thus, the improvement in the well-being of the specified demographic can be expected.
Baumbusch, J., Mayer, S., & Sloan-Yip, I. (2018). Alone in a crowd? Parents of children with rare diseases’ experiences of navigating the healthcare system. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 1-11.
Hertz, R., Mattes, J., & Shook, A. (2021). When paid work invades the family: Single mothers in the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Family Issues, 42(9), 2019-2045.
Pollmann-Schult, M. (2018). Single motherhood and life satisfaction in comparative perspective: Do institutional and cultural contexts explain the life satisfaction penalty for single mothers?. Journal of Family Issues, 39(7), 2061-2084.
Sharabi, A., & Marom-Golan, D. (2018). Social support, education levels, and parents’ involvement: A comparison between mothers and fathers of young children with autism spectrum disorder. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 38(1), 54-64.
Stack, R. J., & Meredith, A. (2018). The impact of financial hardship on single parents: An exploration of the journey from social distress to seeking help. Journal of family and economic issues, 39(2), 233-242.