LEESBURG, Fla. (April 26, 2013) While the issue of single parenthood has both strong supporters and critics on the national level, divorced Leesburg mother of two Shana Louis lives its challenges each day while Lake County Head Start Education Specialist Dana Sealy has academic insight into the issue plaguing our society.
The Lake County Head Start preschool program’s parent organization, Lake County Community Action Agency (LCAA), has witnessed first hand the growth in single parent homes and the effects it may or may not have on a child’s academic progress. LCAA was founded in 1966, when according to Women on the Edge, single parenthood homes were at approximately nine percent- compared to 30% in 2008.
SUPPORT SYSTEM IMPORTANCE
Sealy shared, “Any child who is nurtured and supported in a loving environment that is consistent with developmentally appropriate practices will learn and thrive. Now, this is possible in a single parent home, although it may be more difficult. It is important to weigh all the factors that can contribute to a child’s success whether or not they come from a single family home or not. A single parent who has a good support system with family and friends such as a grandmother, an uncle, or a neighbor will have alternate avenues to ensure that their child has the proper academic support for success.”
“On the other hand, some single-family homes with little to no support may struggle with balancing work and home responsibilities. This imbalance may result in insufficient time with children to support them emotionally and academically. A simple task such as reading for 15 minutes to your child every night may seem like an insurmountable task to a single parent who works and has not support systems in place. In this case, a child may seek attention-getting methods in order to warrant more time with their parent. These methods may be overachieving, underachieving, and/or developing areas of concern related to socially acceptable behavior.”
THE KEY TO SUCCESS
While many are critical about the long term effects on a child’s socio-emotional development Sealy believes there are many factors to take into consideration- including a child’s temperament, the severity of the situation, the longevity of the situation, and the family’s ability to make changes in a timely manner. As Sealy pointed out, “ Either way, providing consistent loving support to a child is the best way to ensure their socio-emotional and academic success. Research suggests that children at risk can thrive and exceed expectations of mediocrity when receiving ample and consistent support. They can break through the boundaries of socio-emotional handicaps, and become leaders, mentors and positive role models.”