Friday, March 04, 2011

The Stigma of Single Mothers

Being a single parent is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and yet, many children with single parents become successful and well-adjusted. The President of the United States, Lance Armstrong, and Eleanor Roosevelt were all raised by single parents. So why, when Americans took part in a large poll were they so intolerant of single mothers?

According to the Pew Research poll of nearly 3,000 Americans, 70% said single mothers are “bad for society,” ranking them below interracial and gay parents. The results have many pundits surprised and confused.

Rich Moran, Senior Editor of the Pew Research Center puts forth a few reasons for these results on NPR news: “…people who study family dynamics have some answers. The big one is that people know single mothers. And they read about single motherhood, and they see the consequences of it…Then they look at things like gay couples, and they see children being raised by loving parents, financially secure. When they look at the outcomes of single motherhood, you know, they see increase in drop-out rate, increase in poverty and an increase in children who go - who have their first child before 20 without being married.”

One caller on the same NPR show said: “I took that Pew poll, and I answered that single moms were bad for society. My reason was that I know how hard it is to be the sole economic and nurturing support and that our society does so little help.”

Are you a single parent? Do people treat you differently than other parents?

For single mothers, stigma difficult to shake [NPR]