Single Parenthood Among Black African Americans



Single Parenthood Among Black African Americans

Kristen Penny

DePaul University

PSY 354

Febuary, 15th, 2018


The family is the basic structure that modifies how a certain community is to be depicted to the eyes of the other people. Basically, addressing the issue of single parented families rises a lot of concern to our lives since the issue is on the rise as compared to the previous years. Being precise, single parents among African American Women is an aspect that we all cannot neglect since it is rampantly occurring to our communities (Boyd-Franklin, 2013). Being single does not always result as a choice to the victims of single parenting but maybe as a result of various reasons behind it. Furthermore, for the black people, mostly the women in marriages are assumed to lead in the divorce statistics. It may be a case of racial indiscrimination or the socioeconomic status they are in. Therefore, addressing the issue of single parenthood is one of the most engaging topics since it is a reflection of the occurrences happening in the community we are living in. In this paper, I will discuss the causes and remedies to single parented families among the black African American women.

Problem Overview

Accordingly, since the family forms the basic structure and depicts a community, it makes the issue to be of relevance because the two are interdependent to each other for survival. In most cases, a successful community is based on a successful family thus if one fails, it is most likely that the intermediate will struggle to strive too. The idea of breaking families is sought to be avoided because it is the major cause of most marital struggles experienced in marriages in today’s world. Besides, by reflecting on the community psychology, we are able to understand the basic individualistic contexts of a family within a community and to the wider society and how the relationship between the two is important (Kloos, Hill, Thomas, Wandersman & Elias, 2012). It is also a very realist issue for me since I have grown up in a broken family household hence I understand the pain of living at such a condition. Therefore, my condition forms a highlight of the other countless families experiencing the same issue in the nation calling for a change of events to avoid it in the future.

Noteworthy, it is important to address it since most broken families tend to be the reason for increased street families which are full of black kids and mothers. Moreover, growing in one kind of such families that were broken even though we did not end up in the streets makes my concern about it as a self-revelation (Hetherington & Arasteh, 2014). Growing up with a single black African American mother surrounded by children from dual parented families always created the feeling of loneliness and never brought up the feeling of belonging to me as I grew up. Furthermore, single parented families are prone to lacking some crucial benefits that are brought by when both parents are available for their children as they grow up. Children’s development is mostly depended and better shaped out when both parents are present to offer their guidance when needed. Having, missed that feeling of growing up with both parents, lends a hand in my attitudes towards family breaks so as to ensure that the future generations grow up to be responsible people thus having a better community.

Ecological analysis of the Problem/Issue

Analyzing the ecological presentation of the issue with regard to microsystems, we are able to notice how a family broken apart affects the child’s development (Bornstein & Bradley, 2014). When a family breaks up, it is most likely that the children will end up experiencing the effects of the break more than any other party in the family. It is because the children are in most cases helpless and looking up to their parents to mold their futures. Thus, if their pillars part away, it means that their growth will certainly experience some unexpected changes so as to accommodate their new situations and experiences. It exposes them to hardships at cases where the children are left with their mothers who are unable to cater for all basic requirements. In most cases where African American Women are left to provide for their families, it exposes them to a lot of challenges of raising their children. Moreover, they are expected to be available for their growing children and at the same time required to provide needs fixing them in a dilemma of how to balance their lives.

Noteworthy, analyzing the exosystemic perspective of single parenting among black African American women, we realize that their being at work leads to less interaction with the child at home. For example, statistics show that it even leads to less involvement with school work if a parent is not available to guide their kids on how to handle it. Furthermore, raising children as a single parent creates a gap of growing a good relationship between parents and their children in cases where the parents are employed (Hetherington & Arasteh, 2014). The bond slackens leading to the children growing up lonely and feeling isolated by thus may end up being anti-social resulting in a failed community at the end. A community full of neglected individuals has been proven to be unproductive and this may be a result of single parenting as is the case with most American based African black women. It creates concern on the role of family unity to the general success of the community and how if this unity is not created, we end up having communities that are not worth living in. Growing with a single parent enlightened me to be an advocate of family unity so as to avoid such impending scenarios.

According to macro-system as an ecological analysis strategy, we are able to describe the culture in which the single parents live in. Looking at the socioeconomic status, one notices that the single black parent not having a good enough well-paying job and how it will affect the child at home by struggling to make rent, pay bills and provide basic needs for the child. It exposes the family to lack the essential needs and at times forces them to engage in illegal actions in an attempt to sustain their needs (Logan, 2018). Poverty is an issue that most single parented families are facing because a single parent’s workforce tends not to be sustainable to keep the family at a good condition as compared to a family where both parents are present and providing. Besides, not being able to send the child to good schooling is an issue too that will affect their development. Children will end up acquiring low-quality education which will make their lives hard especially interacting with other students in the community. Therefore, children might end up developing attitudes and a poor identity as they grow up.

Discussion and Conclusions

Overall, understanding the issue of family unity and how this is relevant to the community success tends to face a challenge of negligence as a result of racial discrimination for the case of black women living in America. Just as our family, the society tends not to be compassionate of any single parent and everyone seems to be busy minding of their own affairs (Cussen, Sciberras, Ukoumunne & Efron, 2012). It thus makes it a hard task for single parented families to strive through a community of such order hence creating greater boundaries between the children from single parents and those with both parents present. It limits the strengths of the study in trying to provide a lasting solution to curb any social differences that might be causing marital disagreements leading to divorces and single parents, especially for black African American women. In the future, a study can be conducted in relation to the same issue but this time in an attempt to identify the possible strategies that can be deployed to create unity in these families in an attempt of creating successful communities.


Bornstein, M. H., & Bradley, R. H. (2014). Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development. Routledge.

Boyd-Franklin, N. (2013). Black families in therapy: Understanding the African American experience. Guilford Publications.

Cussen, A., Sciberras, E., Ukoumunne, O. C., & Efron, D. (2012). The relationship between symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and family functioning: a community-based study. European journal of Pediatrics171(2), 271-280.

Hetherington, E. M., & Arasteh, J. D. (2014). Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children: a case study of visual agnosia. Psychology Press.

Kloos, B., Hill, J., Thomas, E., Wandersman, A., & Elias, M. J. (2012). Community psychology: Linking individuals and communities. Cengage Learning.

Logan, S. (2018). The Black family: Strengths, self-help, and positive change. Routledge.