Two Parents Or One
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Many years ago, if someone was asked to describe the perfect family, the picture that came to mind was that of a stay at home-mom, a father who worked and children. (Canon Law Professionals, 2006) If there was an automobile, it was only one per household. The ideal family in the minds of todays society is a family consisting of two working parents, a dog, two automobiles and 2.5 children. It has always been the belief that families are the bedrock and foundation of our society, (Anderson, 2006) and that the breakdown of that structure is the major contributing factor to our declining nation.
Two parent households are rapidly becoming a minority (Anderson, 2006) and single parent homes are becoming the standard. It is the “new” phenomenon in our society. (Canon Law Professionals, 2006) Although much attention has been placed on the single parent home in the past decade or so, most of the emphasis has been negative. (Canon Law Professionals, 2006) One of the hottest debates today is whether or not a single parent home can benefit a child as much as a two parent home.
Some believe that the causes of single parent, broken homes are illegitimacy, divorce and lifestyle choices. (Anderson, 2006) However, many would argue that “the percentage of single parent families has not changed drastically from past generations. While today divorce is the most common reason for single parent families, in the past it was death or desertion of a parent.” (Canon Law Professionals, 2006)
Many single parent homes experience financial difficulties. Often times, one income, along with one parent, bears the responsibility of supporting one or more children as well as household expenses that clearly require more income. Society would declare that the
responsibilities require two incomes.
However, many times there are two parent households that suffer the same financial hardships as single parent homes. Instead of one parent, there are two parents, working for minimal pay. This often creates tension and an emotional strain between the parents. The situation can lead to disharmony between the couple; often resulting in continuous arguments. This is not emotionally healthy for the children in the household. This constant discord is often why many marriages end in divorce.
On the other hand, although there may be financial hardships and restraints in a single parent household, it is emotionally more stable in a lot of situations. Non-existent is the constant arguing. Therefore, the children do not have to experience the yelling, tension, and disharmony within the family. This brings to mind another factor of the debate that has been ongoing for decades. Both the popular and academic press feel that children in single parent homes do not receive as much quality time or support as children in two parent families; quite the contrary. Some surveys show that children from single parent homes often receive more quality time from both parents than they did prior to a divorce. (Canon Law Professionals, 2006 ) For both parents, time restraints are prevalent. Therefore, the parents both commit to making the best use of time with the children.
Living in a two parent home often makes for pure, unadulterated havoc. Parents have a tendency to become negligent with the quality or amount of time they spend with their children. They can sometimes become complacent with the fact that there are two parents in the household. They also get caught up in their jobs or careers. The parents sometimes argue about which parent is doing more than the other; instead of measuring the quality of their
parenting, they are measuring each other as a parent. In a two parent home, there can be as many financial, emotional or psychological difficulties as there are in single parent households.