Children with only one parent do not suffer from the fact of single parenting, but primarily from poverty
For children, it doesn't make a significant difference whether they grow up with one or two parents, according to a recent study by the educational scientist Professor Dr. Holger Ziegler from Bielefeld University and colleagues. The experts asked over a thousand children between the ages of six and 13 about their personal feelings, with the surprising result that children of single parents are no less unhappy than children with two parents.
While upbringing by just one parent seems to have little influence on children's feelings, the financial situation and the reliability of the legal guardians play a decisive role, the educationalists report. The well-being of children is not adversely affected by single parents, whereas poverty and neglect can significantly reduce the well-being of adolescents, said Holger Ziegler and colleagues. "If both areas (care and financial situation) are bad, it will be dramatic for the child," emphasized Ziegler.
Children of single parents as happy as with two parents Around three million legal guardians raise their children in Germany without the support of a second parent. Contrary to previous assumptions, the well-being of the children is apparently hardly affected by this, according to the result of a comprehensive study by the educational scientist Prof. Dr. Holger Ziegler and colleagues. When surveying more than 1,000 children, the experts at Bielefeld University came to the conclusion that there was no impairment of well-being from parenting with just one parent. To ensure comparability, children from wealthy and poor families were taken into account equally. The scientists at Bielefeld University were able to determine that the income situation - in contrast to the number of legal guardians - did have an impact on the children's feelings. Holger Ziegler and colleagues also identified parental care as a key influencing factor for the well-being of children. Surveys of children are always scientifically challenging because they cannot be presented with complex questionnaires, but with simple questions such as "Do stupid things happen often?" The situation of the children can be recorded relatively realistically and then compared with the results of other studies. explained the educational scientist Prof. Holger Ziegler.
Children from poor families are stigmatized. While the number of legal guardians does not appear to have any impact on the well-being of children, experts say that the material situation of the family has a significant impact on the children's feelings. "Poverty affects all areas of good growth, no matter how properly the parents do everything else," emphasized educationalist Prof. Ziegler. Here the money is not necessarily in the foreground, but also, for example, financial factors such as a separate room for the child to support free personal development, explained the experts at Bielefeld University. Overall, their surveys have shown that children from underprivileged families generally have less confidence and often have poor grades, according to Ziegler and colleagues. Children from poorer families would also tend to misjudge their positive performance. School performance, which children from poorer families rated as positive, was on average worse than children from wealthier families. The educationally disadvantaged children also felt that they were more often offended and demotivated. With children in financially well-off families, the situation is rather the opposite. They would trust themselves a lot and with positive school performance, the grades were actually above average.
Financial situation of the family influences well-being According to the Bielefeld scientists, the material aspect has a significant influence on the emotional state of the children. Six-year-olds from poor families would already think that the money is not enough to buy essential things. This favors the more common emotional affliction and an increased feeling of anger, shame or grief among children from materially weaker families. In addition, children from families with financial difficulties are often bullied or bullied by their classmates, not least because their parents cannot buy expensive clothing and toys. Children from financially weak families are generally rather stigmatized by teachers and contemporaries, explained the educational scientist Prof. Ziegler.
Parental care essential for the well-being of children In addition to the financial circumstances, according to the scientists, parental care for the well-being of children plays a crucial role. How much time do parents spend with their children? If there is a good relationship of trust and if the legal guardians respond to the feelings of the adolescents, the experts say that they are significant factors influencing the emotional state of the children. The adolescents have a high need for care in everyday life that must also be fulfilled, the educationalists explained. According to the survey results, since the children of single parents receive at least as much attention and attention as their peers with two parents, there is no disadvantage in terms of personal well-being at this point. According to the results of the current study, the children of single parents tend to judge the experienced care somewhat better than the children with two parents. Although, according to the survey, the single parents are perceived as stricter by the children and quarrels often arise. The scientists led by Prof. Holger Ziegler also found in the course of their investigation that the single parents apparently build a better network than the families with two legal guardians. The single parents are more keen to include other people who occasionally look after the children, the experts said. However, whether the parents raise their children “authoritarian” or according to the “laisser-faire” principle has no influence on the well-being of the children.
Neglected children from poor families need support The results of the current study suggest that it is not so much the children of single parents who need support, but rather those from poorer families and the neglected children, explained Prof. Ziegler and colleagues. Measures such as the currently extensively discussed educational package are not really of any help to those affected, the educational scientist continues. Instead, an infrastructure is needed that offers all children a positive, stimulating environment and municipalities that can also finance the corresponding expenses. In addition, the results of the current study are no reason to give the all-clear, since the children of single parents do not feel impaired, but the parents themselves suffer from the considerable stress, Ziegler emphasized. The educational scientists called for an increased level of attention for the single parents, "because it has a strong impact on the parents if they raise their children alone." With regard to the well-being of the children, however, the financial situation and parental care are decisive and " if both areas are bad, it will be dramatic for the child, ”said the experts. (fp)
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