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Single Mom’s Hostility Can Cause Problems

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Children living with single mothers are at greater risk for social, academic and psychiatric problems than their peers who live in two-parent families. But according to Canadian researchers, factors such as family income, a mother’s depression or a hostile parenting style–not single status by itself–accounts for at least part of this risk. “The results suggest that children from single-mother families develop difficulties for the same reasons as children from two-parent families,” conclude Dr. Ellen L. Lipman from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues. High levels of stress associated with low family income can undermine attempts to provide supportive and consistent parenting. Likewise, depressed mothers may be emotionally unavailable to their children, which can lead to low self-esteem and social problems. These problems, which can occur in any family, are more likely to occur in single-mother families, the researchers explain. Their study is published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The researchers reviewed information on more than 9,000 children aged 6 to 11 who took part in a national youth survey in Canada. Children living with single mothers were found to be at greater risk of developing a number of problems than their peers living with two parents, including low math scores and psychiatric difficulties. Higher household income decreased the risk of social and psychiatric problems, however, and was associated with higher math scores. A higher level of maternal education was also linked with higher math scores and fewer psychiatric problems while maternal depression and, in particular, hostile parenting were closely tied to the...

Divorce Effects on Children

Divorce is an intensely stressful experience for all children, regardless of age or developmental level; many children are inadequately prepared for the impending divorce by their parents based on 1980 and 1990 studies.