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Photo Essays : Single-parent families (by Ashley Drew)

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Single-parent families in today's society have their share of daily struggles and long-term disadvantages. The issues of expensive day care, shortage of quality time with children, balance of work and home duties, and economic struggle are among the seemingly endless problems these families must solve. As a subject for my photographic essay, I illustrate the concept of the single-family and their corresponding struggles with daily life.

As many single-parent households are female-headed, their economic burden is much greater than that of a single-father family. This issue results from the fact that single women typically do not earn the same income as a single man; thus, there is a consequent economic struggle not experienced in the single-father household.

An offshoot of this economic struggle is the balance of work and family duties. Single mothers often must work overtime shifts to compensate for the low salaries, thus taking time away from their children and other domestic chores. This results in a child that is home alone, without adult supervision, or placed in a daycare service for up to 8-10 hours per day. Government subsidized daycare is not yet a realized dream, and many single mothers pay large fees for this service.

Also included in this essay is an illustration of the perspectives on child adjustment following a divorce. The photographs incorporate the parental loss, parental adjustment, parental conflict and economic hardships outlined in Newman and Grauerholz (2002). I expect my finished essay to evoke a well-founded respect for single-parent households and enhance a general understanding of the circumstances inherent therein.

Two parents are always better than one according to the parental loss perspective.

Source: Royalty free/CORBIS - CB011297


In a two-earner family, one parent may be able to stay at home with the children. But in a single-parent family, the parent rarely has the option of staying home to care for children full-time. Finding affordable, available childcare is likely to be a challenge.

Source: Owen Franken/CORBIS -- #0F017531


According to the parental conflict perspective, children suffer from witnessing spousal abuse.

Source: Royalty free/CORBIS - CB032635


The parental adjustment perspective suggests that children in single parent families suffer because their parents have difficulty adjusting and functioning.

Source: Royalty free/CORBIS - CB046312


According to the economic hardship perspective, children suffer from lower incomes more common among* single-parent families. Children in single-mother households are especially vulnerable because women tend to earn lower pay.

Source: Ephraim Ben-Shimon/CORBIS - AX041141

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