Single-parenting is a global phenomenon that is on the rise. In many societies single-parent families are perceived to be dysfunctional, and the contributors to many social ills. Studies targeted on the single-parent family have predominantly focused on the dysfunctions of this family structure and ways in which this nontraditional family design is disparate from the traditional two-parent or extended family.

Despite the global existence of the single-parent family structure for many years, most societies are still challenged in their ability to embrace and support this phenomenon based on the notion that two adults supporting each other in the raising of children is the only true definition of family.

The strengths of single-parents are often shadowed by myths and negative assumptions. An investigation of social work students’ perception of single- parent families revealed that while the students perceived women and people of color as oppressed, they did not have the same opinion of single-parents. Instead, they viewed the single-parent status to be the result of individual choice that results in self-imposed hardships. Rhodes & Johnson (2000) suggest that there is evidence of a “social injustice issue” that separates the single-parent population from other at risk populations. 

Common myths regarding single parenting:

Two adults supporting each other in the raising of children is the only true definition of family.

Single-parent families are abnormal and dysfunctional. 

Single-parent families are contributors to many societal ills. 

Single-parent families are not part of an oppressed group. 

Single-parent families are a vulnerable group with no identifiable strengths.

Single-parenting is result of individual choice and poor judgment. 

The hardships experienced by single-parent families are self-inflicted. 

Never-married single mothers are promiscuous females with poor judgment. 

Single-parent families are problematic and doomed for failure.

Boys raised by single mothers are destined to end up in prison.

Girls raised in single-parent households are likely to become single mothers themselves. 

The teenage single-mother population primarily comprises of black, poor, urban girls.

Living in a single-parent household is a threat to the physical and emotional well-being of a child.

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