African American single mothers are an understudied population in the psychology field. There are many articles written about the plight of the single mother, but very few that details the issues and concerns of the African American single mother. In this paper, I will seek to point that life is full of frequent adversities for single African American mothers. I will provide a greater understanding of their overall family processes, psychological functioning, financial and parenting issues. I will seek to prove that their self-esteem, social support systems, and paternal involvement have an impact on the outcomes for their children.
It should be noted that there are specific family functioning and relationship issues that are specifically attached to single African American mothers. There are risks that are associated with single motherhood, that are particularly intensified for African American single mothers (Taylor et al, 2010). Mother-headed households are susceptible to a risks ranging from economic hardship, lack of education to poor psychological functioning (Taylor et al, 2010).
The quality of family functioning has consistently been identified as one of the most important predictors of individual well being (Mandera et al, 2002). There are several types of family dynamics within the African American community. There is often an absent or uninvolved father; therefore the mother has to take on a dual role in the family (Mandera et al, 2002). Within these dynamics can exist a cohesive-authoritative or conflictive-authoritarian family type; the cohesive family type emphasizes the personal growth of family members. They are less likely to be over-controlling and her high on proactive racial socialization (Mandera et al, 2002). The conflictive family type displays a lack of concern or commitment towards its members.
[...] It should be noted that not all single African American mothers live in poverty. Brody et al (2006) focused on those from low-income areas. There has been no substantial research that focused on the negative associations between co-parenting conflict, parental psychological functioning, and parenting behavior in African American families that are non-traditionally structured (Dorsey et al, 2007). Dorsey et al (2007) asserts that there is a relation between conflict with the mother- indentified primary caregiver and parenting practices in single parent, economically disadvantaged African American families. [...]
[...] The Significance of Social Support on Parenting Among A Group of Single, Low-Income, African American Mothers. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 15(2/3), 183- 198. doi:10.1300/J137v15n02_11 Page, M. E., & Stevens, A. (2005). Understanding racial differences in the economic costs of growing up in a single-parent family. Demography, 42(1), 75-90. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Sharp, E., & Ispa, J. (2009). Inner-City Single Black Mothers' Gender- Related Childrearing Expectations and Goals. Sex Roles, 60(9/10), 656- 668. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9567-3 Oberlander, S. E., Agostini, W. [...]
[...] African American single mothers face many issues. The issues include but are not limited to poverty, support, child rearing, and relationships. The key is to focus on the most important aspect of single parenthood and that is the children. So often the focus is shifted off of the children due to the burdens or stressors that accompany single parenthood. African American single mothers have an intensified set of issues due the fact that they are the minority as a race and a gender. [...]
[...] absent father) is a definite stressor in African American homes. The mother can experience high levels of anxiety due to the fact that the family finances, child rearing, and emotional support for the child's responsibilities belong solely to the mother. The mothers find it difficult to balance work, after school activities, and child rearing among other things. Co-parenting conflicts will only increase the stress related to this balancing act. Dorsey et al (2007) suggests that positive co-parenting relationships produce positive outcomes for children and lessens the stress of the mother. [...]
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