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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

日志

 
 

单亲妈妈 (Single Motherhood)  

2011-06-21 02:11:41|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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单亲妈妈 (Single Motherhood) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天

受离婚率的上升和其他社会因素的影响,今天的单亲家庭比过去更为普遍了。这些单亲家庭中大部分都是由单亲妈妈主导。根据美国商务部发布的美国女性报告,14%美国成年人生活在女性主导的单亲家庭里,而只有6%生活在由男性主导的单亲家庭里。很多调查拿单亲妈妈给予孩子的照料与已婚父母或单亲父亲的作对比并怀疑其质量,但这些调查的真实性还有待商榷。育儿的质量在很大程度上受家长的性格影响,而不是家长的数量或性别,每个家庭的情况都不一样,我们难以做出概括性的真实的论断。然而在这些调查中出现的某些关于单亲妈妈的挑战和益处的趋向尽管不是绝对,但大部分是真实的。


With rising divorce rates and other societal factors, single parent households are more common
today than they ever have been. Of these single parent households, the majority are led by single mothers. According to the “Women in America” report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14 percent of American adults live in households headed by single women, while only 6 percent live in households headed by single men. Although there has been a lot of research about the quality of parenting provided by single mothers as opposed to married couples or single fathers, the validity(真实性) of this research's results is always somewhat questionable. The quality of parenting relies much more on the personalities of the parents involved than the number or gender of parents and varies too much from family to family to make any universally true generalizations. Nonetheless, from all the research, certain trends related to the challenges and benefits of single motherhood have emerged that are commonly true, even if they are never universally so.

The challenges of single motherhood mainly spring from the mere fact that one person is
responsible for all of the tasks that are split between two people in a traditional nuclear family.
Because they are forced to rely more on their own income than their married counterparts are, single
mothers are more likely to spend more time working. Similarly, because they do not have a partner
with whom to split time caring for their children, single mothers are also more likely to have to rely on
childcare services. This combination of more working hours and greater dependency on childcare puts
single mothers at greater risk for unemployment. Unemployment rates among single mothers is
significantly higher than those among married men and women: in America in 2010, these rates were
14.6 percent among single mothers and only 6.8 percent and 6.3 percent among married men and
married women, respectively. This is partially because when single mothers lose their childcare
assistance and are unable to find a replacement, they frequently are forced to quit their jobs for lack of
another option. Because this problem is often the reason for them losing their jobs, single mothers are
frequently denied access to unemployment benefits, which in most American states is restricted to
those who involuntarily lose their jobs. This restriction frequently excludes resignation because of loss
of childcare assistance as a situation of involuntary job loss.


However, despite the economic and scheduling challenges faced by single mothers, certain
studies suggest that single mothers may have certain advantages over their married counterparts. In an
article “Are Fathers Necessary?” Pamela Paul suggests that single mothers in general tend to be more
involved in their children's lives, set more rules, and communicate better with their children than
married parents. As a result, they frequently experience a uniquely close bond with their children. The
reasons for these advantages are of course uncertain, but it may be because single mothers are more
conscious of and work harder to be a positive presence in their children's lives because they are aware
of the challenges they face. Although the findings of the studies supporting Paul's claim are by no
means absolute, they do suggest that single motherhood is not the horrible calamity that it is sometimes
portrayed as.


My own parents divorced when I was six and since the divorce my brother and I have lived with
my mother. My mother admits that it at times has been hard because of the challenge of having to do

everything alone, but she does think that our family is closer because of it. I agree: my mother, my
brother, and I are incredibly close and I can't help but think that is at least partially due to the fact that
my mother raised us largely by herself. My own experience has taught me just what many of the
studies on single motherhood have found: despite the apparent challenges faced by single mothers, the
families raised by them have the potential to be very special and very happy.


讨论:单亲妈妈面临哪些挑战,拥有哪些优势?(Discussion Question: What other challenges or advantages might single mothers face?)

 

Sources:

Folbre, Nancy. "Unemployed Mother's Day." The New York Times 9 May 2011: n. pag. The New York Times. 
     Web. 20 June 2011. http://nytimes.com. 
Paul, Pamela. "Are Fathers Necessary?" The Atlantic July-Aug. 2010: n. pag. The Atlantic. Web. 20 
     June 2011. http://www.theatlantic.com. 
United States. U.S. Department of Commerce and the Executive Office of the President. Women in 
     America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. 2011. PDF file. 

Image:
By paul stumpr (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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